The CSIR is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. Constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1945 as a science council, the CSIR undertakes directed and multidisciplinary research, technological innovation as well as industrial and scientific development to improve the quality of life of the country’s people.
The CSIR receives an annual grant from Parliament, through the Department of Science and Technology (DST), which accounts for close to 40% of its total income. The remainder is generated from research contracts with government departments at national, provincial and municipal levels, the private sector and research funding agencies in South Africa and abroad. Additional income is derived from royalties, licences and dividends from IP management and commercial companies created by the CSIR. The parliamentary grant is focused on the knowledge base and facilities in the CSIR to ensure these stay at the leading edge of technological development. It is invested in developing new areas of expertise, undertaking ‘pre-competitive’ research too risky for the private sector to fund and for training young researchers. The CSIR’s shareholder is the South African Parliament, held in proxy by the Minister of Science and Technology.