Science Granting Council Initiative Theme 2: Developing R&D and Innovation Performance Assessment-Data Analysis and Reporting on Selected STI Indicators Training Workshop



1. Background

The African leadership through African Union (AU) Agenda 20631

, Science, Technology and

Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA) 2024 and predecessor frameworks2,3,4 acknowledges that science, technology and innovation (ST&I) are critical drivers of economic development. STISA 2024, as part of the AU Agenda 2063, places STI at the epicenter of Africa’s socio-economic development. The mission of STISA 2024 is to “Accelerate Africa’s transition to innovation-led knowledge-based economies”. There is urgent need for Africa to have knowledge-based economies by putting in place competitive research infrastructures, supportive technical and professional competencies, flourishing innovation and entrepreneurship and a conducive policy environment for STI. In summary, STISA 2024 is calling for Africa to have strong innovation ecosystems that will benefit economic growth by producing competitive processes, goods and services.

The Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) is an opportunity to understand and strengthen Africa’s innovation ecosystems by enhancing the capacities of Science Granting Councils (SGCs) to effectively: 1) manage research; 2) design and monitor research programmes, and to formulate and implement policies based on the use of robust science, technology and innovation (STI) indicators; 3) support knowledge exchange within an STI system, and; 4) establish partnerships with all actors in a science and technology system. Councils that are effectively managed and connected with multiple actors, at scale, will strengthen national science systems to deliver on Africa’s transformative agenda. Therefore, the context within which SGCs operate is critical for the success of the SGCI.

2. STI Policy Context and Indicators

The demonstration of public policy relevance has always been a major driving force for the development of S&T5 and innovation indicators. In the 1960s, the OECD explicitly promoted the production of S&T indicators to address policy concerns. The systematic collection of indicators was developed in a country-specific political context supported by national statistics offices. The indicators, even today, are mostly used for policy analysis.

More importantly, the policy questions drive both the exploitation of existing indicators and the production of new ones 6,7. Most developed countries have also produced studies and reports on indicators that effectively inform public policies, the development of STI systems and priorities for public interventions.

In summary, STI indicators have been used to; inform public policies, evaluate research and higher education institutions, and allocate funding to research organizations and universities and advocate for increased investment in R&D. Interestingly, even in the developed countries with a long history of using indicators, the relationship between indicators and policy making is still not yet clearly understood and in some cases is contested. Worldwide when political decisions need to be taken, there are no simple and usable indicators to quickly inform such actions.