Why Innovations Live or Die: South Africa’s Innovation System

29 February 2024

MISTRA’s new book, Why Innovations Live or Die: South Africa’s innovation system interrogates the notion of a National System of Innovation (NSI) and the issues surrounding it. Contributing authors argue that the fundamental question is about the relevance of innovations to the country’s citizens, and whether the system promotes economic growth, social inclusion and initiative across all sectors of the population.

Authors examine lessons from some highly promising research endeavours that fell by the wayside. Importantly, the book also interrogates the successes of South African innovations that have impacted positively on people’s lives. Varied chapters trace the journeys of undertakings such as the Joule electric car; the Square Kilometre Array; the Pebble-bed Modular Reactor, and transdisciplinary efforts on HIV and Covid-19.

The authors make a case for a system of innovation that functions as a holistic domain, straddling a variety of disciplines and spatial issues, and offer recommendations to this end.

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