DST commits R250 million for human capital development, infrastructure initiatives

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Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor has approved a reprioritised departmental 2010/11 budget to support the increased production of high level skills needed to support the National Research and Development Strategy.

Her office, in a statement, says R255.434 million will be allocated to the National Research Foundation that’s mandate is to support and promote research at universities through funding, human resource development and the provision of the necessary research facilities.

Of the funds, R100 million will be for specified Human Resources Development (HRD) initiatives; R50 million for scientific equipment under the national equipment programme; a further R50 million for emergency repairs and renewal of infrastructure and equipment at the National Research Facilities; and R55.434 million for provision of broadband connectivity to specified universities under the South African National Research Network (SANReN).

The human resource development funding is to support the national policy priority of growing and changing the equity profile and representatively of researchers and academics; supporting emerging researchers, particularly black and women researchers; and providing appropriate and adequate research infrastructure, Pandor’s office says. Of this, R42 million will be used to expand honours bursaries, R11.2 million for more post-doctoral fellowships, R10 million for bursary support to increase masters and doctoral graduation rates, R25 million for dedicated research support for women and young researchers and R11.8 million for improving academic qualifications of academics and researchers.

Pandor’s office adds the allocation of R55.434 million under the South African National Research Network (SANReN) will ensure broadband connectivity to rural universities, including the universities of Limpopo and Walter Sisulu.