Pretoria — Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom says science, technology and innovation must be used to address real socio-economic challenges and make a difference in people's lives.
Science and technology must also contribute to increasing the research, development and innovation capacity for the country.
Speaking at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Excellence Awards held in Pretoria on Friday, Hanekom said it was encouraging to see how the CSIR consistently endeavoured to synergise its priorities and visions with those of the department and government as a whole.
"The CSIR's multi-disciplinary research in critical areas such as water, energy, health, environmental protection and food security, dovetails neatly with the vision of the [department], which is to "create a prosperous society that derives enduring and equitable benefits from science and technology," he said.
The CSIR is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. It undertakes directed research and development for socio-economic growth.
Hanekom said the CSIR had many attributes, but its main strength lay in its human capital base and the commitment of its employees to the organisation's mandate to better the lives of all South Africans.
"Over the years, the CSIR has played a significant role in applying science and technology in solving complex industrial problems, contributing to improved quality of life, as well as finding appropriate technological solutions to enhance government service delivery," he said.
CSIR's commitment was critical in helping to shape the thinking on the national system of innovation that is being built, he said, adding that it must be a system that is not only efficient in its outputs, but also enables people to redefine the social reality with a view to improving their quality of life.