During 2002, at least R260 million will be invested in research and development activities designed to improve the competitiveness of South African industry. Some 200 projects have been approved for science and technology research grants that range from R5000 to R8 million. These grants are awarded through the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP), managed by the National Research Foundation (NRF) on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).
Of the R260 million, government made available R130 million through the dti, with the other half being private sector funds from small and large industrial companies. Government and industry match each other's financial support through THRIP due to researchers tackling problems to find solutions to existing challenges experienced by industry. The projects supported by THRIP this year cover a wide range of technology areas, including agriculture, bio-processing, food, forestry, health care, materials, mining, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and power systems.
Dr Gerhard von Gruenewaldt, NRF Vice-President, remarks: "THRIP has a key role in providing knowledge workers with the skills to combine knowledge, technology and productive activity in the knowledge economy. This role strongly supports the intentions of the dti's integrated manufacturing strategy, as discussed by Dr Alistair Ruiters, Director-General of the dti, in Parliament recently."
THRIP addresses the expressed need for interventions that focus on challenges in industrial development and competitiveness. In addition to supporting focused research and technology development with well defined outputs, the THRIP funds contribute towards the training of more than 1800 postgraduate students this year. Of these, more than 700 are black students and more than 550 are women. "The students who benefit from THRIP projects today will be the driving force behind the growth of South African industry in future," concludes Von Gruenewaldt.
For further information contact THRIP Manager, Dr Rob Drennan, 012 481 4104, email@example.com