The notion of “Seeking Solutions for Africa’s Sustainable Development” that has been adopted by the Africa Institute of South Africa as its research niche area influences the unit’s strategic research direction. This niche area together with the strategic plans for the Department of Science and Technology guide the research direction of the unit. The unit further acknowledges that Science and Technology is the main thrust behind social and human development. So, for Science and Technology to have a desired effect on human development, it has to be practiced within the framework of operational and ethical systems. In this regard the unit considers national systems of innovation as its guide when conceptualising, designing and implementing research projects.
To be a point of reference on African affairs that relate to Science and Technology Innovation for Sustainable Development.
To conduct world class, directed, interdisciplinary research and technological innovation, with partners and stakeholders, in the fields of Energy, Biotechnology, Food Production, System Dynamics Modelling, Urban Dynamics, Industrial Dynamics, Geographical Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Climate Change Analysis and Interpretation, Biodiversity Management, Environment and Ecosystem Functioning Assessment.
- To contribute to human capital development in Africa in all of the abovementioned research areas for the purpose of creating a pool of African Scientists that will provide scientific and professional support to Africa’s social and economic development. In striving to achieve this, the unit will seek to maintain an ethical framework and equitable gender balance.
- To establish valuable and profitable long-term relationships with businesses, academic institutions, research organisations, funding institutions, relevant non-governmental organisations and technology centres that are keen to transfer their technologies to Africa.
- To promote the production of intellectual property that addresses the needs and challenges of Africa.
Key Focus Areas
In line with the mandate of the Africa Institute of South Africa, the Science and Technology Unit has identified the following areas as its key focus areas:
- Standardization in Africa.
- The Green Economy and its social and economic impacts in Africa.
- Energy Transition in Africa.
- Ecosystem transformation and its impacts on African economies.
- Natural resource conservation and management in Africa,
- Urban dynamics, food supply and distribution in Africa’s urban centres
- Geo-Information Sciences and their application.