Research & Innovation Week 2023

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15 to 19 May 2023

World-class research by Africans for Africa and the globe

As the world races to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the spotlight is falling increasingly on research and development (R&D). Global spending on R&D has reached a record high of USD 1.7 trillion, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

However, approximately 10 countries are responsible for 80% of this spending and, as is to be expected, they are largely the same countries that are making the most progress towards reaching the SDGs.

A common denominator among such countries is that they have large researcher pools (because they can afford them). North America, for example, has over 4 780 researchers per one million people, while Sub-Saharan Africa has approximately 97 researchers per one million people.

These contrasts underline how vital it is for African research institutions and agencies to spend our very limited resources for maximum impact, with a laser-sharp focus on finding solutions to the problems holding society back.

The SDGs have been a major research theme for South African universities since 2015 (when these goals were first established), as has Agenda 2063, the Africa Union’s blueprint for “the Africa we want” – inclusive, prosperous and sustainable.

Individual institutions have further distilled these broad goals into research priorities that match their research strengths and capabilities. In Unisa’s case, we are directing our research and innovation efforts across 10 catalytic niche areas where we excel and can make the greatest positive impact in developing African-centred solutions to some of the pressing problems plaguing our society.

We are making great strides, as will be demonstrated during 2023 Research & Innovation Week. From 15 to 19 May, the university will present some of the important world-class, Africa-centred work emanating from the eight Unisa colleges, the Graduate School of Business Leadership and the Thabo Mbeki School of Public and International Affairs.

Also on the programme are the latest developments in innovation, technology and commercialisation, as well as research integrity, which is a field in which Unisa is playing a leadership role internationally.

The theme, fittingly, is “World-class research by Africans for Africa and the globe”. Please join us.

Last modified: 2023/08/07