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Research and Innovation in South African Universities

Swapan Kumar Patra* and Mammo Muchie**

Abstract
This study maps the research and innovation in South African universities within the triple-helix framework. To map the R&D activities of South African universities, patent and publications data are used as an output indicator. The study observed that universities are the most prolific publisher and constitute about 91 percent of total South African publications. However, universities altogether produce only about 14 percent of total South African patents. Productivity is mainly concentrated in Western Cape and Gauteng provinces because of the location of public research institutes and productive universities. For example University of Pretoria and University of Witwatersrand in Gauteng and University of Cape Town and University of Stellenbosch in Western Cape Provinces. Only a few universities are responsible for both patenting and publication portfolio of South Africa. The joint patent trends shows that only about 19 percent patents are collaborative patents. South African public research institutes are more active in joint patents with universities followed by the foreign universities. South African firms are less active in collaborative patents. The study recommends that university and local firms’ collaboration need to be strengthen to develop technological capabilities in South Africa. Also, the regional disparities in productivity need further attention. To achieve the ‘entrepreneurial university’ in terms of patents and technology transfer South African universities need to collaborate more with the local industries or institutes. Further studies will perhaps give a clear picture of technology transfer and the universities incurred benefits from it.

 

* Swapan Kumar Patra: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

** Mammo Muchie: DST/NRF Research Professor, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa, ASTU, Ethiopia and TMDC, Oxford University, UK. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & www.sarchi-steid.org.za/

The paper is accepted in 14th Globelics International Conference (12th – 14th October 2016) scheduled to be held in Bandung, Indonesia.

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