Science and technology in South Africa: Past performance and future prospects
David Kaplan, professor in business government relations at the University of Cape Town
Speaker: Prof. David Kaplan
The talk assesses the performance of the S&T system in South Africa since 1994 and identifies current areas of strength and weakness. This assessment is situated within a broader context of South Africa’s overall economic trajectory. Prof. Kaplan then outlines the government plan for S&T over the next decade and critically assesses this plan in the light of the forgoing assessment.
About the speaker: David Kaplan has extensive experience in working with an in government. He has been engaged in a wide variety of work for a number of government departments particularly the Departments of Science and Technology (DST) and Trade and Industry (dti). He was Chief Economist at the dti, 2000-2003 and is currently Chief Economist (part-time) in the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape. He has served for four years as a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI). With support from the IRD in France, he established the South African Network of Skills Abroad (SANSA) a network to engage in South Africans located abroad in utilising their skills to support development in South Africa.
At UCT, David Kaplan founded the Science and Technology Research Center (STPRC) in 1994 with the support of the IDRC (Canada). Together with two colleagues, he established the Development Policy Research Unit in 1995. He was Director of the STPRC and the DPRU for much of the period 1995-2000, before joining the dti.
David Kaplan is concerned with policy-oriented research, particularly in the fields of industrial and technology policy. The critical concern is how government and business collectively develop policies and strategies that can best enhance development. There is a strong interest in Science and Technology and especially how government policy can serve to enhance innovation on the part of businesses. Research on innovation within South African companies and how this is affected by the policy environment is a central thrust of his research and teaching at the GSB.