In 2004 following consultations with various countries and experts, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and The National Research Foundation (NRF) launched the DST/NRF CoE Programme. The initiative was to focus primarily on
1. Exploit the competitive advantage vested in outstanding researchers;
2. Reward, retain, sustain and improve scientific excellence;
3. Integrate smaller and related research initiatives into one programme;
4. Achieve economies of scale through the optimization of resources and effort by sharing personnel, equipment, data and ideas;
5. Provide secure and stable funding for research and knowledge dissemination;
6. Support planned, strategic, long-term research;
7. Reduce micro-management of academic and their resources by the funding agency.