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The objective of establishing the Energy Secretariat is to support the successful commercialisation and upscaling of knowledge outputs from the broader energy RDI portfolio and ensuring systemic impact in the National System of Innovation.
The Secretariat is an administrative office that carries out the substantive and administrative work, in this case of the DSI as directed by the Chief Director Hydrogen Energy. The scope of the Secretariat will cover the following DSI energy-related programmes;
The following roles and responsibilities are applicable:
During the 2018/19 financial year, the NRF review of the Renewable Energy Hub and Spokes was conducted. As part of the management of the Renewable Energy Hub and Spokes Programme, the NRF undertook an independent review to assess the successful implementation of the programme and put in place corrective measures prior to the programme receiving the next phase of funding support.
The outcomes of the NRF review were presented to the DSI. One of the action items from an EXCO meeting included an analysis of how the recommendations of the study could be applied across the broader Energy Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Flagship Programmes, resident within the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) to improve overall performance.
The Ten Year Innovation Plan included an Energy Grand Challenge which focused on advancement towards a knowledge-based economy, using the four elements of increased knowledge generation and exploitation, human capital development, knowledge infrastructure, and enablers to addressing the “innovation chasm” to address the energy trilemma (energy access, environmental sustainability, energy security).
With regard to knowledge generation, South Africa ranks 38th worldwide in the generation of energy publications. However, a different perspective unfolds if one also considers the size of the Research and Development (R&D) workforce. South Africa has higher levels of productivity when compared to the USA (3.28 per 100 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) research workforce; with Japan at 2.99 and 5.75 for the energy component of the National System of Innovation. However, when it comes to the movement of technologies from lab to market by overcoming the innovation chasm, there are challenges in the system such that the conversion into commercial products happens at a rate lower than global averages .