The National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) have taken a strategic decision to continue investing in and expanding activities around systems analysis over the coming decade in the context of the pivotal role that this type of research plays in solving global challenges and contributing to development under the new Southern African Systems Analysis Centre (SASAC), multi-year initiative.
South Africa, through the NRF, became a member of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in 2007. A range of research and capacity building activities have been developed by South African research partners and IIASA. The most notable activity was the Southern African Young Scientists Summer Programme (SA-YSSP) that was launched by the Minister of Science and Technology in November 2011, and hosted in South Africa during 2012-2014.
In 2015, a consortium of four universities, namely the University of the Western Cape, the Universities’ of Limpopo and the Witwatersrand, and Stellenbosch University won a bid to host SASAC between 2016 and 2018. The initiative is aimed at strengthening systems analysis capacity in South Africa. This model takes cognisance of additional and multi-level systems analysis capacity interventions, and a comprehensive approach to policy related activities in South- and Southern Africa. SASAC will dedicate three-year bursaries for South African PhD students based at a South African universities to complete their studies with a supervisor from South Africa experienced in systems analysis, possibly in collaboration with a co-supervisor associated with International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
IIASA is an independent international non-governmental research organisation, headquartered in Laxenburg, Austria, that provides science-based insights into complex global, regional, and national problems. IIASA conducts policy-oriented scientific research in three global problem areas, namely 1) energy and climate change; 2) food and water; and 3) poverty and equity. Its three cross-cutting research areas are 1) drivers of global transformations; 3) advanced systems analysis; and 3) policy and governance.