Natural Science Research
In addition to the above enabling legislation, the NCRST’s operation is also impacted by other national legislations, policies and programme instruments, e.g. on industrial, biodiversity, indigenous knowledge. Moreover, Namibia’s Vision 2030 and the fourth national development plan (NDP4) have put emphasis on the need to invest in R&D if Namibia’s aspirations of becoming a knowledge-based society are to be realised. Taking into consideration that there are numerous players within the RSTI territory, and the fact that at this stage efforts are fragmented and possibly disjointed, the NCRST‘s role of promotion, coordination and development of RSTI is indeed vital.
The NCRST has identified the following key stakeholders who form part of the RSTI delivery funnel and it shall establish partnership with them with aim of creating RSTI deliverables in furtherance of the objectives of V2030.
|Institutions of higher learning (e.g., UNAM, Polytechnic, IUM)||As institutions, responsible for knowledge creation & application as well as human capacity development à NCRST needs to create an enabling environment to optimise that; need to partner with them to advance the process|
|NTA||Partners in the knowledge application stage of the funnel (enablers/ capacity)|
|NQA, NCHE, NSA, NSI, CRAN, BoN||• As regulatory bodies, they are complementing NCRST in mandate for human development towards knowledge application, and
• in formulating/influencing policy development & -framing
• in populating NCRST indicators (source of data)
|Parliament||• NCRST challenged to keep them informed (e.g. their standing committees) to ensure long-term support (indirectly impacts NCRST image); to lobby for legislation changes|
|NPC||• To ensure NCRST alignment with NDPs (as party responsible for execution of aspects of NDPs)|
|Research institutions (e.g. DRFN, IPPR etc.)||• To facilitate & fund research in line with the National Programme on RSTI (e.g. desertification, climate change, etc. – providing national/international baseline data – an input into bigger research frameworks)|
|International partners (e.g. EU, AUC, UNESCO, SAIS,||For sharing & for joint ventures; for networking that promotes knowledge exchange and to attract funding for specific projects|
|Regional/SADC partners (NRF)||For sharing & for joint ventures; for networking that promotes knowledge exchange and to attract funding for specific projects|
|Public Sector||Broadly, the Public Sector influences policy that impacts NCRST
Home Affairs àProper immigration policy contributes to promotion of RSTI;
MoFàas primary funder of NCRST (via MoE)
Mo Foreign Affairsàbridge between Commission & international community/role players/partners
(e.g., Mining, Agriculture, etc.)
|To achieve greater value-addition to raw materials by applying RSTI;
To influence policy as it impacts RSTI and technology transfer
(CBOs & NGOs)
|To apply leverage in areas where NCRST encounters barriers or enablers in wider society
For contributions to other sectors in terms of poverty alleviation/reduction
As role players that empower SMEs
As ‘owners’ of indigenous knowledge (influences technology development & innovation)
|Business sector||For development of incubators (SMEs) & entrepreneurship, commercial research & innovation application|
– Pre-primary, primary, secondary and their management representatives
|As the target population in which NCRST needs to establish/promote awareness of RSTI (…with a view to strengthening the education system, longer-term) by contributing towards MoE strategies|
|Public (in general)||• Awareness of developments in health, GMO’s, bio-technology|
|Can be formed by Act of Parliament or initiated, conceptualised and formed by the Commission itself, normally around a distinct purpose/aim, and then develops into a coordinating/facilitating council for a sector/subject matters/longer-term purpose. Can also be time-bound and after purpose is served dissolved|
Regional and International
The international context of science, research and innovation has become highly dynamic with significant impacts on national economies, generating increased instability and vulnerability, whilst opening up short windows of opportunity for advancement. Small countries are particularly subject to the dynamics of the global context due to the openness of the economy, and the high level of mobility of people.
Participation in international organizations and agenda-setting in RSTI at international level provides important know how for policy making but can also impose certain constraints due to having to coordinate policy action with other countries. The administrative and bureaucratic burden can also prove heavy for a small country. The design of a more strategic national approach to international cooperation has therefore become imperative, to retain a level of national advantage in securing access to a wider range of knowhow, for training people, pooling resources, coping with challenges of a global magnitude and minimising global threats and risks.
The drive to secure advantage from international cooperation is complex due to the high level of internationalisation and the fact that science is global in reach and scope and knows no borders. Knowledge generated in one place can nowadays in theory be easily accessed anywhere around the world, however this assumes a level of absorptive capacity and connectivity, whilst proximity to knowledge is acknowledged as an important factor in accessing local and tacit knowledge. For this reason there is still an advantage in training researchers in key centres of excellence abroad whilst in turn facing the challenge of attracting them back to the home base. It is critical if we wish to retain top-class scientists in Namibia; these scientists are and remain well connected to international research. Namibia stands to gain substantially from developing a more strategic and coordinated approach to international cooperation as there is evidence of economic benefits related to internationalization drives. In particular the internationalisation of SMEs, as key producers of technology, suppliers and exporters can have significant impacts on national capacity-building and competitiveness.
Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation
The NCRST is mandated by section 5 (1) (e) (i) of the research science and technology Act, 2004 (Act 23 of 2004) in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promote the participation of Namibians and research institutes in regional and international research, science and technology projects and events as well as entering into Bilateral Agreements and Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation on STI and maintaining such relationships with similar foreign institutions in the fields of research science, technology and innovation.
Namibia has memorandum of Understanding and Agreements on STI with the following Countries.
Namibia is a member of the SADC Science, Technology and Innovation Strategic Plan working group tasked by Ministers responsible for STI at their meeting held in 2011 in Windhoek, Namibia to draft the SADC STI Strategic Plan in line with the SADC Protocol on Science, Technology and Innovation. NCRST as the competent authority for coordination STI matters in Namibia is representing the country on the working group.
EU- Africa Cooperation on Science Technology and Innovation
The European Commission and the African Union Commission has agreed to establish a forum to be known as the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD). The composition of this forum shall be made of senior officials from both Research and Innovation Ministries from Europe and Africa. The first meeting in Tripoli, Libya in 2010 with the second meeting held in Brussels, Belgium in November 2013.
The second meeting of the EU-Africa HLPD happened at an important time when there is a number of developments on both sides in terms policy shift and strategy development. The African Union is reforming its Consolidated Plan of Action on Science and Technology (CPA) into a decadal strategy known as the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy 2014-2024 (STISA-2024) whilst the European Union is shifting from the Framework Programme 7 (FP7) to a more focused growth strategy (Horizon 2020) an approach addressing the grand societal challenges and strengthened international cooperation.