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scistip - Scientometrics and STI Policy

Subject: Scientometrics and STI Policy

Description: Stellenbosch University's (SU) Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) has been chosen to host a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy. SU currently has four other Centres of Excellence.

This latest Centre is one of five new CoEs announced on Tuesday by Science and Technology Minister Mr Derek Hanekom and brings to 14 the number of CoEs created since 2004 by the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation (NRF).

The aim of these Centres is to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary research among research-performing institutions, and to provide high-end skills development in priority research areas. According to Hanekom, the five new CoEs will contribute to South Africa's knowledge-generation capacity, increase the number of world-class researchers and attract and retain research excellence. CoEs head research in areas that are regarded as being of national interest. They are intended to speed up the provision of the necessary human resources and knowledge capacity. They also serve to make South African research more internationally competitive and to stimulate research excellence and develop capacity.

SU's CREST is an interdisciplinary research and academic centre that was established in 1995. It conducts research on the nature of science and technology with specific focus on science policy issues in South Africa and on the African continent; the nature and state of knowledge production in the higher education sector in South Africa and selected African universities; the methodology and sociology of science; and the nature of monitoring and evaluation studies. It also offers postgraduate programmes in two areas namely Science and Technology Studies and Monitoring and Evaluation Studies.

The CoE at SU will look at increasing the efficiency of the country's use of its knowledge resources by advancing the production of high-quality, research-based evidence on the impact of South African science and technology, in order to improve decision-making for the national science system.

Prof Johann Mouton, Director of CREST, said the new CoE will function with CREST as the lead host, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) as co-host and the Centre for Higher Education and Transformation (CHET) and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS, University of Leiden) as partners.

According to Mouton, four main thematic areas have already been identified for the new Centre. These are: Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators; STI Policy for Development; Human development for STI; and Science communication, evaluation and impact. In addition to its research priorities, the Centre will also strengthen its post-graduate programmes in Science and Technology Studies as well as consolidating national information systems in these areas.

"We are honoured to receive such recognition and look forward to working with our partners in contributing to South Africa's knowledge-generation capacity. This prestigious award now means we have the freedom to set our own research priorities and the opportunity to think strategically and focus on the long term," Prof Mouton said. The award comes to R10million a year for five years, renewable for two more five-year terms.

"This is very positive for the University as a whole because this Centre of Excellence will definitely act as a magnet - attracting leading academics and top students. There is hard work ahead, but we're definitely up for the challenge," Prof Mouton added.

"The award recognises the expertise here at SU and is in line with the Institutional Intent and Strategy of the University which aims to identify and focus on areas of research," said Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-rector: Research and Innovation at SU.

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