Research funding and modes of knowledge production : a comparison between NRF-funded and industry-funded researchers in South Africa

Luruli, Ndivhuwo Mord (2014-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The changing South African policy context since 1994 (new science and innovation policies), and institutional changes at the National Research Foundation (NRF) have had an effect on different funding instruments and related modes of knowledge production. In this study we compare the modes of knowledge production utilized by researchers funded by the NRF and those funded by industry. We also compare the level of scientific productivity of these groups. This study makes two major contributions: first, we provided a reconstruction of the history of research funding in South Africa from 1918 (through the Research Grant Board – RGB), to date (through the NRF established in 1999 as a result of the merger of the Foundation for Research Development (FRD) and the Centre for Science Development (CSD). The second major contribution of this study concerns the relationship between funding sources and modes of knowledge production and dissemination. We found evidence that there is an increase in third stream funding for university research in South Africa. The study shows that respondents who received funding from both the Focus Areas and THRIP, concurrently, produced more average annual research outputs than those who received funding from either the Focus Areas or THRIP only. When we compared respondents who only received the Focus Areas or THRIP grant, we found that those who received the Focus Areas grant published more outputs annually than THRIP-funded researchers, despite the fact that those who received the THRIP grant had larger grant amounts, on average, than their Focus Areas-funded counterparts. We also found that industry/THRIP funding is utilised on problem-solving type of research, i.e. applied research, while public/NRF funding is utilised on basic/fundamental/curiosity-driven research. Overall, the findings show that there is no clear cut conclusion about the influence of funding on the mode of knowledge production. We could not prove that the two factors, that is, funding and mode of knowledge production, are related in a linear fashion. This is a much more complicated situation that requires more investigation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die veranderende Suid-Afrikaanse beleidskonteks sedert 1994 (nuwe wetenskap- en innovasiebeleid), sowel as institusionele veranderinge aan die Nasionale Navorsingstigting (NNS), het 'n uitwerking gehad op verskillende befondsingsinstrumente en verwante vorme van kennisproduksie. In die lig hiervan vergelyk die huidige studie die vorme van kennisproduksie van navorsers wat deur die NNS befonds word met dié van navorsers wat deur die bedryf befonds word. Die twee groepe se onderskeie vlakke van wetenskaplike produktiwiteit word ook vergelyk. Die studie lewer twee belangrike bydraes. In die eerste plek bied dit 'n rekonstruksie van die geskiedenis van die finansiering van navorsing in Suid-Afrika, vanaf 1918 (deur die Navorsingstoekenningsraad), tot en met vandag (deur die NNS wat in 1999 tot stand gekom het met die samesmelting van die destydse Stigting vir Navorsingsontwikkeling – SNO – en die Sentrum vir Wetenskapsontwikkeling – SWO). Die tweede belangrike bydrae van hierdie studie is die ondersoek na die verband tussen befondsingsbronne en verskillende vorme van kennisproduksie en -disseminasie. Die resultate van die ondersoek dui op 'n toename in derdegeldstroom-befondsing wat universiteitsnavorsing in Suid-Afrika betref. Die studie toon verder dat respondente wat befondsing van beide die fokusarea- en THRIP-programme ontvang, se gemiddelde jaarlikse navorsingsuitsette beduidend hoër is as dié van respondente wat slegs binne een van die twee programme befonds word. ʼn Vergelyking van die navorsingsuitsette van respondente wat slegs fokusarea-befondsing ontvang en respondente wat slegs THRIP-befondsing ontvang, toon dat diegene met fokusarea-befondsing se jaarlikse publikasieuitsette gemiddeld hoër is, ondanks die feit dat die THRIP-toekennings groter bedrae behels. Daar is ook gevind dat befondsing deur die bedryf/THRIP gebruik word vir navorsing wat gerig is op probleemoplossing, d.w.s. toegepaste navorsing, terwyl publieke of NNS-befondsing aangewend word vir basiese/ fundamentele/nuuskierigheid-gedrewe navorsing. Die algehele beskouing is dat geen duidelike gevolgtrekking gemaak kan word met betrekking tot die invloed van befondsing op die vorme van kennisproduksie nie. Daar kan nie onomwonde gestel word dat die twee kernfaktore van ondersoek, naamlik befondsing en vorme van kennisproduksie, reglynig met mekaar verband hou nie. Die situasie is meer kompleks en vereis verdere navorsing.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86411
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