The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) is a consultative forum and watchdog for influencing the formulation and delivery of science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation public policy in South Africa. Furthermore, the NSTF:

  • Provides information
  • Promotes SET and innovation
  • Hosts platforms for networking and debate on current SET issues
  • Engages with government on SET-related policy

The professionals involved in the member organisations have the opportunity to share their insights on NSTF platforms. All projects are typically collaborative in nature and national in their reach.

National footprint

The NSTF has touched the lives of many young South Africans and communities through youth and public outreaches and activities. This occurs in all provinces under the Brilliants and Share ‘n Dare programmes. In addition, hundreds of people from across the country have attended NSTF discussion forums. The national footprint is further extended by the NSTF Awards. Since starting in 1998, the awards have recognised many SET role models nationally.

NSTF activities

Discussion Forums/Workshops

These address issues of public SET-related policies. Five to six gatherings are held per year and are attended by 30-80 participants each. The topics are of cross-cutting relevance to the SET community. All presentations, as well as write-ups of the discussions, are posted on the NSTF website. This contributes to fulfilling the NSTF’s main mandate.

Distributing SET news through the monthly newsletter

The newsletter focuses on SET-related public policies, events and other SET news in South Africa, in addition to NSTF news. The information is taken from a wide variety of sources to give readers a monthly overview of the SET landscape. Subscribe to the NSTF newsletter which is sent to about 7000 individuals.

Running the NSTF Awards process and gala dinner

The NSTF has been running the NSTF Awards since 1998. This includes all the arrangements, publicity and fundraising, as well as the adjudication process and associated youth outreach projects.

Youth outreach

Share 'n Dare Programme

The Share ‘n Dare programme creates more than 12 platforms per year for the NSTF Awards winners to address the youth. This occurs at science centres and universities, as well as on community radio stations. In addition, the winners are profiled in the monthly NSTF newsletter. The project has been running since 2008, resulting in NSTF Awards winners sharing their knowledge with thousands of young people.

Brilliants Programme

The annual Brilliants Programme recognises, inspires and assists 18 top performers in matric physical science and maths. Some of these first-year students are awarded bursaries or helped to access bursaries. The initiative has been running since 2003.

Bursary Directory

Our bursary directory keeps learners and students updated with available science-related bursaries. This initiative was started with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the DST funding in 2011.

Conducting Research

Research is conducted on the Share ‘n Dare programme on an ongoing basis. It is based on audience surveys when the NSTF Awards winners present. It also evaluates the convergence of ICTs for community informatics.

Providing a platform for DST and other government departments

The NSTF is a platform for the government to brief NSTF stakeholders and to listen to their concerns.

Other Achievements

  • Evaluations: All activities are reviewed regularly during committee meetings and monitored with participant evaluation forms. Some projects are formally evaluated.
  • The NSTF managed the DST’s Incentive Bursary Scheme: This was done for 8 years and more than 70 students benefitted. It included the organisation of annual Orientation Weekends and Retreats. The NSTF commissioned and managed the evaluation of this programme.
  • The NSTF managed the National Youth Service: This was done on behalf of the DST for 5 years and 330 young unemployed graduates benefitted. Activities included the employment and payroll management of all volunteers nationally. The NSTF commissioned and managed the evaluation of this programme.