Doctoral Degrees (Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST))

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    The profile and innovation outcomes of South African doctoral graduates in STEM, 2000–2018: A mixed methods study
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Albertyn, Charl Hofmeyr; Prozesky, Heidi Eileen; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Center for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST)
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In South African policy discourse, doctoral graduates are viewed as important producers of the innovation that would form the foundation of South Africa’s innovation-driven economic development, and the use of public funds to incentivise the production of doctoral graduates is extensive. Nevertheless, little is known about the innovation produced by these doctoral graduates, and evidence on the factors that facilitate and impede their innovation is lacking. A review of the global literature showed that even internationally, relatively little evidence has been produced in this regard. This study addresses these gaps, and is the first to describe, on a national scale, South African doctoral graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects (abbreviated with the acronym “STEM”), their innovation, and the factors that facilitate their innovation. A mixed methods study was conducted of doctoral graduates who received their doctorates in STEM subjects at a South African university in the period 2000–2018. The study involved the analysis of a subset of 2 225 responses collected through a national survey, whereafter semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 purposively selected survey respondents. In this study, roughly a third of all the doctoral graduates in STEM reported significant innovation, and it identified a range of systemic factors that facilitated this innovation. Products of the doctorate that are relevant to the business sector, such as patents, were found to be most facilitative of the significant innovation that graduates produced. However, most solutions produced from the doctorate were oriented towards academic use, and too underdeveloped for direct use by the business sector. Proximity and collaborative networks between the producers and business-sector users of new solutions were also found to be important facilitators of uptake and further development of these solutions. In terms of demographics, male doctoral graduates were found to be more likely than their female counterparts to produce significant innovation, which is associated by many interviewed graduates with the burden of childcare. Doctoral graduates who were older than the median age at graduation were more likely to produce significant innovation. This, as per interviewed graduates, is linked to their greater degree of work experience and knowledge of users’ requirements for innovative solutions. As for factors pertaining to the South African national system of innovation (NSI) as a whole, existing expertise and regulatory factors in certain industries were associated with significant innovation, as elucidated in the interviews. The study provides an evidence-based framework, namely the “STEM Bedrock framework”, whereby the factors that facilitate the innovation of South African doctoral graduates in STEM subjects can be understood. Lastly, this study makes several recommendations to funders, policymakers, stakeholders in higher education and research practitioners in this field.
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    Exploring the dynamics of innovation for inclusive development systems: a study of the Nigerian growth enhancement support scheme
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022) Adeyeye, Adedamola David; Grobbelaar, Sara S. ; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST)
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Innovation remains central to industrial competitiveness and catching up and is crucial for providing targeted solutions to nagging development problems. This is because the innovation system (IS) framework, in principle, offers multiple learning pathways to issues of development and advocates context-specificity in the application. However, the problem with the framework is the limitation in accounting for the peculiarities of developing countries. Several authors have argued that there is a need to continuously modify the structural elements and processes to accommodate new sets of actors, institutions, and networks critical in the developing country context. This study contributes to the emerging literature on ISs and inclusive development by developing an analytical framework for assessing functional dynamics and performance. ISs performance is assessed by tracking how well the functions perform over time to determine policy interventions needed to strengthen the structural elements. The goal of the study is two-fold, to 1) develop an analytical framework for expanding the ISs framework to inclusive development; and 2) to show the utility of the framework in the I4ID context by generating insights into the functional dynamics and performance of an IS. The research design is the case study approach. It is operationalised using the Conceptual Framework Analysis (CFA) method developed by Jabareen (2009). This offers a qualitative procedure of theorisation for building and validating conceptual frameworks based on the Grounded Theory (GT) methodology. This study expands on previous works which adapt the systemic policy approach to assessing the performance of innovations in inclusive development (van der Hilst, 2012; Botha, 2017; van der Merwe, 2017). The systemic policy framework provides a guide for assessing innovation performance at a systemic level by combining the structural and functional approaches to identify systemic problems and proffer solutions (Wieczorek and Hekkert, 2012). To explore and develop critical insights into the performance of I4ID systems, the developed framework was applied to the GES scheme in Nigeria’s agricultural system through the event history analysis (EHA), qualitative analysis, and consultation of experts. Building on the work of Maarsingh et al. (2021), the study utilises the EHA to identify the functions and the relationship between them. It reveals the cumulative causation, motors of innovation, drivers and barriers to the evolution of the GES scheme. Key informant interviews and in-depth interviews were conducted with actors in the GES scheme to triangulate the findings of the EHA and further provide evidence to identify systemic problems hindering the growth of the I4ID system and possible policies for solving them. The study draws lessons from the Nigerian GES scheme to analyse the role of policy in the emergence of the I4ID system while also providing critical insights into the broader approach in the context of the I4ID system. While contributing to knowledge on the emerging field of the I4ID system, the study highlights some limitations in methodology and inclusivity. It suggests further areas of research, for instance, examining the broader policy structures, especially the political economy of the state and its influence on the performance of I4ID systems.
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    African academies of science as science advisers: The case of South Africa and Uganda
    (2022-12) Ngila, Dorothy Mutheu; Boshoff, Nelius; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Centre for Research and Technology (CREST)
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In recent decades, science advising – the process that makes scientific evidence available to policy makers to aid decision making – has gained prominence. The prominence has been accompanied by a greater understanding of the types of advisers, the type of advice, the structuring of science advisory ecosystems in national and trans-boundary contexts, the principles of science advising, as well as the challenges and perspectives at the science-policy interface. Although there is growing scholarly contribution on the nature of science advising globally, the literature in the context of Africa is scant. Academies of science – defined as associations of scientists who come together to advance scientific excellence and serve their nations – can be largely categorised using three archetypes: the learned society, the adviser to society, and the manager of research. Increasingly, most academies have incorporated science advice as one of their mandates. They form an integral part of the science advisory ecosystem and provide formal science advice. Scholarly contributions on the nature and structure of science advising by academies of science do exist, primarily in Western nations. However, science advising by academies of science in Africa, where there are approximately 31 national academies, has not been widely documented. This study investigated the role of African academies as science advisers, with the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS) as institutional case studies. The study employed a qualitative embedded case study design with ASSAf and UNAS as the institutional case studies. Additionally, three embedded case studies that represented a type of science advisory mechanism by both academies, known as a consensus study, were selected to investigate the approaches of science advice and document pathways towards uptake. Documentary analysis and interviews were the main data collection methods. The study approached this investigation in four ways: (1) a discussion of the broader global context of academies of science, tracing the diverse types, roles, and structures of academies of science with a specific focus on what the study refers to as ‘parent academies’ (Royal Society of London, Academie des Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences, and the Russian Academy of Sciences); (2) an analysis of ASSAf and UNAS as organisations and the external and internal factors that shape their institutional designs; (3) an analysis of two consensus studies that the academies had undertaken nationally and one consensus study where both had participated, all to understand the science advisory process and pathways towards uptake of science advice; and (4) a thematic interpretive discussion of the roles, institutional designs, and positioning of UNAS and ASSAf as science advisers within their national contexts. Six key themes emerged as findings from the study: (1) UNAS and ASSAf can be considered as ‘hidden’ organisations in the science advisory ecosystems of Uganda and South Africa; (2) both academies can be considered as agents to multiple principals; (3) both academies overstate the role of their Membership and Fellowship in their science advisory activities (in fact, there emerges other actors in executing these activities, together referred to as the ecosystem of human capabilities); (4) this ecosystem of human capabilities comes together to execute the process of science advising, which falls within the realm of formal science advising for academies of science, shaped by layered degrees of informality; (5) the consensus study process is a space for the ‘construction’ of various academy-stakeholder interactions that have the potential to be productive; and (6) a significant weakness in the internal organisation of dissemination, translation, and uptake activities at ASSAf and UNAS have impacted the potential for uptake of their consensus studies by decision makers. The study recommends the following for both ASSAf and UNAS: (1) guided by a deliberate stakeholder engagement strategy, they should invest in a concerted awareness raising, with a focus on target actors in the policy and scientific communities; (2) they should continue to harness the power and influence of the human capabilities’ ecosystem that enables science advising; (3) they should invest in review processes that further deepen the value of consensus studies; and (4) they should invest in deliberate dissemination, translation, and uptake activities to enhance the potential for uptake of advisory recommendations.
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    Wine scientists and winemakers as two communities: bridging the gap through boundary-spanning activities
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) O'Kennedy, Karien; Boshoff, Nelius; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST)
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It is believed that investments in academic research and development have contributed to new world wine-producing countries entering the international wine markets, traditionally dominated by European countries such as France, Italy and Spain. This has increased the competition for “shelf space” in supermarkets and restaurants. Wine industries that want to maintain and grow sales need to innovate to remain competitive. South Africa exports approximately half of the wine it produces. The industry’s sustainability is strongly dependent on healthy domestic and export sales. Academic knowledge production and effective knowledge transfer assist practitioners with making informed decisions to avoid mistakes and innovate. The South African wine industry comprises an extensive knowledge network with many actors, including researchers, practitioners and intermediaries. An adequate knowledge creation and dissemination system must be maintained for the industry to be competitive internationally, especially against the country’s political past. This study investigated the knowledge-related interactions between oenology researchers from the Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University and South African winemakers. The role of intermediaries in the knowledge network was also explored. Researchers and practitioners have been described as two communities operating in different worlds, speaking different languages, and having different evaluation systems. For effective knowledge transfer, both communities need to be cognisant of each other’s worlds, and effective boundary-spanning activities must be in place. In this study, the world of academic researchers, in general, was demonstrated through a literature study that focused on knowledge production in the context of application and scientific communication. This was to sketch the background on which the empirical study of the Stellenbosch University oenology researchers was based. A documentary analysis of Stellenbosch University provided the background of the university’s population of oenology researchers (11 in total) who were subsequently interviewed. Results from the empirical study showed that most of the oenology researchers have received industry funding in the past or did so at the time of the interviews, either from Winetech (the South African wine industry research funding body) or international suppliers of oenological products. Most researchers described their research as containing excellence and relevance elements to satisfy academic evaluation systems and industry funders’ needs for applicability. Most researchers indicated their willingness to communicate with the industry; some do so more than others, despite specific individual and organisational constraints. The world of winemakers was sketched through a literature study component and an overview of the South African wine industry. This provided the background for the online survey of winemakers (124 responses) and the 20 winemaker interviews. The results indicated that winemakers use a variety of knowledge sources. They prefer social and experiential learning to factual learning. Their preferred knowledge sources are peers, suppliers of oenological products and services and the internet. Results also showed that the intermediary Winetech and oenological suppliers play crucial roles in creating awareness of new research and innovations. The study concludes by providing recommendations to the Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Winetech and South African winemakers on improving their boundary-spanning activities. The study contributes to the academic engagement and knowledge transfer literature mostly focused on academia. Studies jointly investigating academics, practitioners, and intermediaries are very scarce. Finally, the study also identified research needs for future studies.
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    The role of mentoring in the career outcomes of female early-career academics in Africa: a secondary analysis of multi-country data
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-12) Kalele, Phyllis Nzisa; Prozesky, Heidi; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Centre for Research on Evaluation Science and Technology (CREST)
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Even though previous research has documented the powerful potential of mentoring through the vast array of benefits that it offers, little is known about the relationship between mentoring and academic career outcomes. This study aimed at establishing the role of mentoring in the career outcomes of female early-career academics in Africa. Using a mixed-methods research approach, the study entailed a secondary analysis of survey data and interview data to determine whether female ECAs in Africa receive mentoring and its relationship with their career outcomes. Other study objectives were to describe female ECAs in Africa and determine the extent of the negative impact of various challenges on their careers. The study revealed that African female ECAs were on average 40 years old (but ranging from 27 to 68 years) and had two children or dependents aged from six to eighteen. They undertook the majority of care work and general housework in their family, relationship or household. The female ECAs were nationals of 25 African countries, and they also worked or resided in countries similar to those of their nationality, except for Lesotho. A large majority of female ECAs had never studied or worked outside their home country and they tended to collaborate with researchers at their own institution. The female ECAs were predominantly employed permanently, and a majority held the rank of senior lecturer, and only half of them had received research funding. In a typical year, they reported spending the highest percentage of working time on consultancy and the lowest percentage on raising research grants. On average, they produced 5,8 articles in peer- reviewed academic journals, 0,3 books, 1,1 book chapters, 3,3 conference-proceedings papers and 5,0 conference presentations. The highest percentage of female ECAs were social scientists, followed by natural and agricultural scientists, health scientists, and engineering and applied technologists. Finally, female ECAs perceived that balancing work and family demands, a lack of research funding, and a lack of mentoring were the challenges that had negatively impacted their careers the most. The study found that most female ECAs had received mentoring on attaining a position/job, research methodology, scientific writing, presentation of research results and in the form of introduction to research networks, while only a minority of them had received mentoring on career decisions and fundraising. It was further established that there is a statistically significant relationship between (1) receipt of mentoring in the form of introduction to research networks, on the one hand, and the production of articles in peer-reviewed journals, and frequency of some forms of collaboration, on the other; and between (2) receipt of mentoring in fundraising andStellenbosch University iii receipt of research funding. However, not all forms of mentoring were found to be related to their expected career outcomes. The contribution of this study is mainly empirical, as it offers novel insights into the link between, on the one hand, mentoring in research methodology, scientific writing, fundraising and in the form of introduction to research networks, and, on the other hand, career outcomes that ultimately influence career development.