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Making science and innovation relevant: the case of a CSIR water management project Lesego Nkhumise and Gillian Marcelle, CSIR and Wits University.

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Presentation on theme: "Making science and innovation relevant: the case of a CSIR water management project Lesego Nkhumise and Gillian Marcelle, CSIR and Wits University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making science and innovation relevant: the case of a CSIR water management project Lesego Nkhumise and Gillian Marcelle, CSIR and Wits University

2 Outline Concerns about societal relevance are crucial and growing in significance lead to application of new approaches from critical innovation studies Case study Insights Concluding remarks

3 Specific Barriers at Community Level Context specificity poses demands on project management Variation across communities Alienation, disconnection and mistrust Need for intermediaries and translators Difficulties in scaling up and replication Acute financing risk Knowledge gaps and capability gaps

4 CSIR in brief The CSIR is one of several science councils in South Africa established in 1945 by an Act of Parliament. CSIR is responsible for scientific and technological research, development and implementation for industrial application. The Council is required to contribute to R&D output in South Africa by undertaking integrated, multidisciplinary research across diverse areas. Owns and or manages a number of specialist facilities of national importance. It is a large well managed, professional organisation with a total staff of 2300 of which more than 60% are scientists, engineers and other professionals. Its annual operating income is R1billion. Works closely with tertiary educational institutions, other science councils, research institutions, and private sector organisations in South Africa and internationally.

5 Research Methodology Users (Community members) –Focus groups and observations Formal STI organisation (CSIR project managers, scientists and executives) –Elite interviews using semi-structured questions Triangulation with expert commentators, policy officials stakeholders in the water industry. A total of 8 interviews were conducted Interviews were conducted over 3 weeks in line with the availability of participants

6 EMPIRICAL STUDY: WATER MANAGEMENT CASE 1 The Accelerated Sustainable Water Service Deliver (ASWSD 1), launched in 2009 in the Eastern Cape, South Africa in Cwebe village. Aimed to demonstrate how to expedite the provision of reliable safe drinking water to underserviced, or unserved, communities living in rural areas through the application of science of technology. Conceptualised by a national task team of various government departments and role players and funded by the DST Implementation through 2 science councils: HSRC & CSIR As a pilot, it was intended to test for sustainability and to develop a replicable implementation process for water services delivery in remote rural areas (not replacing municipal water service delivery).

7 EMPIRICAL STUDY: WATER MANAGEMENT CASE 2 The Accelerated Sustainable Water Service Delivery (ASWSD II), launched in 2009 in the Limpopo, South Africa in Dresden village. Aimed to demonstrate how to expedite the provision of reliable safe drinking water to underserviced, or unserved, communities living in rural areas through the application of science of technology. Conceptualised by a national task team of various government departments and role players and funded by the DST as a follow-up on ASWSD I. Implementation through the CSIR as a science council. It was intended to implement a sustainable process for water services delivery in remote rural areas (not replacing municipal water service delivery).

8 The Cwebe Case Site Amathole is one of the seven districts on the Eastern seaboard of South Africa. Over 90% of its 1,664,259 people speak Xhosa. (Census 2001). Amathole district is further divided into eight local municipalities, with each containing at least 1 urban service centre. This is a rural location, ravaged by high levels of poverty and unemployment There is great household grant dependence (66%) in Amathole than the average of 64 % in the Eastern Cape.

9 Case Site (Dresden) Greater Sekhukhune is one of the 32 municipalities in the Limpopo Province, North of South Africa. It consists of five Local Municipalities with 7 urban centres Over 97% of its people speak Sepedi (Census 2001). Is found in northern-most part of South Africa. It covers an area of approximately square-metres - most of which is rural and it lies to the North West of Mpumalanga and the South of Limpopo. This is a rural location, ravaged by high levels of poverty and unemployment The Sekhukhune economy is driven largely by agriculture, mining and tourism activities.

10 Dimensions of Analysis Extent/ nature of involvement and participation Project ownership Technological suitability Process of technology appropriation Environmental impact (intended and unintended) Alignment with societal values, and structure and effect over time

11 Table 4: Stakeholders (Cwebe) StakeholdersRoles Played in the Project Department of Health Informed the Municipal Management of the Cholera outbreak in the district Municipal Management Invited the HSRC to come and investigate the problem and give advice on the relevant solution CSIRProject implementation Task TeamCoordination of activities Tribal Authority Gave permission for the stakeholders to work in the village

12 Table 1: Three years of community development projects Dresden ProjectFrequency Relative Frequency% Electricity Bridge RDP Houses Fencing CSIR Water Community Water Total

13 Table 2: Understanding of CSIR Water Project scope in Dresden Project Scope Frequency Relative Frequency% Clean water distribution Bringing water closer to homes Totals 91100

14 Table 3: Stakeholders (Dresden) StakeholdersRoles Played in the Project Community MembersWater distribution initiative Municipal Management Stopped the community initiative and gave the project to the CSIR District OfficeSupplied JoJo tanks CSIRProject implementation Water Committee Liaison between municipal management and tribal authority Task TeamCoordination of activities Tribal AuthorityGave permission for the community initiative

15 Figure 17: Alignment of project with user needs in Cwebe

16 Figure 18: Alignment with user needs Dresden

17 Decision Making

18 Figure 22: Understanding of the CSIR by the users in Cwebe

19 Figure 21: Understanding of the CSIR by the users in Dresden

20 Figure 23: Understanding of user expectations by the CSIR in Dresden

21 Figure 24: How relevance of R&D work can be ensured according to participants in Dresden

22 Figure 25: How relevance of R&D work can be ensured according to participants in Cwebe

23 Figure 26: Relevance of CSIR Built Environment unit work according to participants in Dresden

24 Figure 29: Ways to improve delivery on community development projects according to participants in Dresden

25 Figure 30: Ways to improve delivery on community development projects according to participants in Cwebe

26 Summary of Findings POWER: Decisions on the projects, timing, and scope of projects are often taken without involving users, or even community leaders. Funders are therefore in a position of power at the expense of users’ pressing needs. PROJECT FUNDING: There are no follow up site visits to ensure that quality work has been done and that projects are completed as reported. It is a common factor that politics influence access to R&D funding in communities. An example here is funding being linked to government elections. USER INVOLVEMENT: Users are often not involved in the planning of community development projects. Decisions on the projects, timing, and scope of projects are often taken without involving users, or even community leaders. Priorities of communities are therefore often ignored.

27 Summary of Findings (2) RELEVANCE : While the R&D projects implemented in the two communities happened to address as social need for access to clean water, relevance was compromised as the need of the community members at the time was not considered. User involvement and priority assessment involving users were highlighted as critical in ensuring relevance of R&D produced by science councils.

28 CONCLUSION Demonstrates that the emphasise on knowledge is important.....use and meanings attached to technological interventions are critical issues and this has received insufficient attention. Confirms that the innovation process and deployment of technologies involved a number of actors in a complex system. The actors have different characteristics. For optimal effectiveness, they should be able to engage in bidirectional knowledge flows or linkages. The results indicate that effective interaction of public, formal innovation actors with other actors and components continues to be a challenge in developing countries.

29 Concluding remarks(2) It offers a caution against supply-push- based approach to science, technology and innovation policy and programming, and suggests much more of a problem-solving, developmentally aligned approach to innovation. This approach is less aimed at producing radical breakthroughs and more on contributing to meaningful development outcomes.

30 THANK YOU For follow up and further elaboration Professor Gillian Marcelle Ms Lesego Nkhumise STS research programme


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