The 2018 National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Foresight initiative has recently been launched by the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI). The outputs of this exercise will inform the development of the next ten-year national plan for STI. This plan will shape, at a national level, the allocation of resources to STI-related priorities, aimed at the socio-economic development of the country, over the next ten years. The Foresight initiative is planned to be completed by the end of 2018.
Its potential impact and connection to the SDGs
The Foresight initiative is being conducted under the overarching framework of the National Development Plan 2030 (NDP). The initiative seeks to identify STI-related priorities which will have a significant impact in achieving the vision of the NDP: eliminating poverty and reducing inequality. In order to solve our societal, economic and sustainable development aspirations, “we are in dire need of interdisciplinary, intersectoral and intersocietal tools”. STI are the key enablers of sustainable development. As articulated by several experts, most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as water-food-energy nexus, can achieved through new scientific discoveries and the use of emerging technologies. Scientific evidence also informs sustainable and responsible evidence-based policy making. Hence, the STI ten-year plan should be aligned to the local and global developmental plans. The STI Foresight 2018 and the subsequent STI Decadal Plan will therefore seek to position the STI pathway to contribute towards achieving the overall objectives of the NDP, which are closely aligned with the SDGs, and other related developmental strategies.
Details on how to participate
All South African will have an opportunity to participate in this STI Foresight 2018 initiative. After some awareness raising activities, all the stakeholders will be invited to suggest STI domains as areas of focus. For stakeholders to ensure that they are included in this process, they need to indicate an interest by sending the email to STIForesight2018@dst.gov.za or by registering at www.naci.org.za/STIForesight2018. The Foresight website also has a repository of documents that provides detailed analyses and background on global and local STI-related trends.
A limited number of people, covering a broad cross-section of STI stakeholders, will be invited to participate in the first workshop, during which further STI domains will be identified and then prioritised. Following the workshop, all stakeholders will once again have an opportunity to participate in the process, through web-based voting for the priority STI domains. Based on six selected STI domains, two stakeholder workshops will be held to imagine and elaborate on the possible and desired futures, with a 2030 time horizon.