The Applied Research, Innovation and Collaboration (ARIC) directorate of the NRF promotes and develops applied research within the National System of Innovation (NSI). Applied research in this context is seen as research that moves outcomes through the innovation value chain towards commercialisation, and informs policy, legislation and implementation that underpins societal well-being.
Figure 1 below illustrates the general area covered by ARIC within the innovation landscape. In occupying this space ARIC effectively complements other support interventions within this landscape of institutions and programmes such as the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII). This critical programme insertion will ensure that the total innovation landscape is covered within the NSI and that those issues of environmental, economic, social and political innovation that are unlikely to lead to commercialisation, are also researched effectively. In addition, the NRF stimulates some fundamental applied research that can effectively feed into technological innovation via TIA and SPII.
ARIC Within the Innovation Landscape
In pursuing its mandate ARIC employs a variety of instruments whose interventions may be from a human capacity development, knowledge generation, technology development and/or innovation perspective. The cross-cutting commonality in all of these is the clear socio-economic objective.
- Strengthening of current applied research platforms at NRF primarily through expanding and building on THRIP.
- Engaging other sectoral partners to collaborate with higher education to promote joint applied research initiatives in pursuit of societal needs, the strengthening of the human capital base.
- Developing joint research capacity and/or infrastructure requirements for the benefit of society.
- Advancing the course of applied research.
- Strengthening the understanding, appreciation & sensitivity of the complexity within which applied research outcomes need to be embraced, absorbed and integrated into society.