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About us

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, commonly known as the CSIR, is a world-class African research and development organisation established through an Act of Parliament in 1945. Its executive authority is the Minister of Science and Technology. The CSIR undertakes directed, multidisciplinary research and technological innovation that contribute to the improved quality of the life of South Africans.

The organisation plays a key role in supporting government’s programmes through directed research that is aligned with the country’s priorities, the organisation’s mandate and its science, engineering and technology competences. The CSIR fosters partnerships with a network of partner organisations and clients, regionally and abroad, as part of a global sphere of influence on matters of technology.

We draw expertise from diverse research fields to provide integrated solutions and interventions to support a broad range of national development programmes, as set out in the National Development Plan. Our national footprint is testament to our commitment to serving diverse communities and sectors, with the CSIR’s main campus located in Pretoria and our regional offices in Durban, Johannesburg and Stellenbosch – in proximity to applicable industries across the country.

Impact is at the core of our business and the following objectives are crafted to ensure that we deliver on our mandate:

Build and transform human capital – Our scientific and technical contributions are only made possible through the skills and capabilities of our staff. The CSIR is an important part of the National System of Innovation and contributes to the national imperative to develop human capital and to the ongoing transformation of our society through the development and training of our scientific base.

Conduct high-quality and relevant research and technological innovation to foster scientific and industrial development – The CSIR identifies and invests in various areas of research to enable the translation of CSIR research into solid scientific outputs, such as publications, technology demonstrators and intellectual property. The organisation selects and implements a range of research and development programmes, in collaboration with various stakeholders, to identify opportunities to support new industries and improve the efficiency and competitiveness of existing industries.

Financial sustainability and governance - Financial sustainability and a sound track record of governance are imperative to the success of the organisation in the long term.

Key issues that the CSIR seeks to address through science, engineering and technology interventions include contributing to a vibrant economy and creating employment opportunities; building a capable state that is able to consistently deliver high-quality services for all South Africans; contributing to the development of economic and social infrastructure like transport, energy, water resources and ICT networks; transitioning to a low-carbon economy to improve our ability to understand the long-term effects of climate change by assisting government with the formulation of mitigation and adaptation strategies; transforming human settlements; improving health and building safer communities.

Our ability to contribute to a better future for all is illustrated in our unique value proposition, which is the multidisciplinary nature of our skills base. Two-thirds of our staff consists of scientists, engineers and technologists who share a passion for shaping a better future through science and technology innovation. The organisation also invests in a myriad of training interventions to foster young talent and further develop expertise by providing bursaries, studentships, internships and exchange programmes.

Research infrastructure is fundamental to the organisation accomplishing its scientific and industrial development mandate. The investment in research and built infrastructure and the implementation of the Campus Master Plan will help us achieve this.

It is this combination of excellence in research, highly skilled staff and world-class infrastructure that puts the CSIR at the cutting-edge of research and technological innovation to improve the quality of life of South Africans.