The National Research Foundation (NRF) manages South Africa's national research facilities, supporting both basic and applied research.
These facilities are:
South Africa's seven science councils are statutory parastatal organisations established by the government, each with a unique and valuable scientific research specialisation.
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is one of the largest scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. The organisation undertakes and applies directed research and innovation in science and technology to improve the quality of life of South Africans.
Mintek, South Africa's national mineral research organisation, is one of the world's leading technology organisations specialising in mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and related areas.
Collaborating with industry and other R&D institutions, Mintek provides service test work, process development, consulting and innovative products to clients worldwide.
Mintek is an autonomous statutory organisation and reports to the Minister of Minerals and Energy. About 35% of the annual budget of R390-million is funded by the State Science Vote, with the balance provided by contract R&D, sales of services and products, technology licensing agreements and joint-venture operating companies.
Human Sciences Research Council
The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) is South Africa's statutory research agency and conducts research that generates critical and independent knowledge relative to all aspects of human and social development. Alleviating poverty and developing and implementing policy are central to its research activities. The HSRC's research also extends beyond South Africa through projects and collaborations in other African countries.
Medical Research Council
The Medical Research Council (MRC) conducts research through six national programmes, and collaborates with most of the world's top health-research agencies to improve the nation's health status and quality of life.
The MRC disseminates research information through the National Health Knowledge Network. The council has established the African Biotechnology Information Centre in co-operation with various universities.
The MRC's National HIV and AIDS Lead Programme coordinates the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (Saavi).
Saavi has grown from a small core group of researchers into a large biotechnology consortium, which works on various aspects of developing and testing novel HIV vaccines.
Agricultural Research Council
The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) is committed to promoting agriculture and related sectors through research and technology development and transfer.
Council for Geoscience
The Council for Geoscience supplies the country with geoscience data to establish a safe cost-effective physical infrastructure.
South African Bureau of Standards
The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) produces, maintains and disseminates standards. It promotes standardisation in business and government, and administers compulsory standards on behalf of the State. It also certifies international quality standards.
The National Institute for Tropical Diseases in Tzaneen, Limpopo, continually assesses various malaria-control programmes.
The South African National Antarctic Programme manages three bases, one at Vesleskarvet, Antarctica; a second on Marion Island in the south Indian Ocean; and a third on Gough Island, a British territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.
South Africa is the only African country with a presence in Antarctica, and which is also conducting research there in physics, engineering, earth sciences, and biological and oceanographic sciences.
The South African base, Sanae IV, is one of few country bases built on hard rock as opposed to the ice shelf, and is regarded as one of the more modern bases on Antarctica. The Department of Science and Technology has finalised the Antarctic Research Strategy for South Africa.
The Safety in Mines Research Advisory Committee aims to advance mineworkers' safety. It has a permanent research-management office overseeing research in rock engineering, engineering and occupational health.
The Chief Directorate: Energy of the Department of Mineral Resources manages a policy-directed research programme. This includes transport energy, renewable energy and energy for developing areas, coal, electricity, energy efficiency, energy economy and integrated energy-policy formulation.
Agricultural research is conducted by the ARC, several universities and the private sector.
Water research in South Africa is co-ordinated and funded by the Water Research Commission in Pretoria.
Its five key strategic areas are:
The organisations most active in water research are:
Coastal and marine research
The Chief Directorate: Marine and Coastal Management of the Department of Environmental Affairs advises on the use of marine living resources and the conservation of marine ecosystems, by conducting and supporting relevant multidisciplinary scientific research and monitoring the marine environment.
The Chief Directorate: Environmental Management of the Department of Environmental Affairs annually finances several research and monitoring programmes focusing on waste management and pollution, nature conservation, river management, the coastline and marine environment, and the atmosphere, among other things.