CSIR ups income, drops profit

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has reported a R35.5 million net profit for the 2010/11 financial year.

Speaking at the release of its annual report yesterday, CEO Sibusiso Sibisi said the total operating income of the council increased by 2.6%, to R1.7 billion.

However, despite this increase in operating income, the CSIR's net profit decreased from R52.4 million in the 2009/10 financial year to R35.5 million.

“The reduction in net profit for the CSIR is attributable to an increase in employee remuneration in excess of operating income growth and reduced net finance income.”

Demographic improvement

Human capital development is critical for the development of science, engineering and technology solutions of the highest calibre to improve the lives of South Africans, said Sibisi.

He added that evidence of the progress made by the CSIR in human capital was not only reflected in the Corporate Research Foundation best employer status awarded to the company in 2010, but also in the increase of the number of permanent staff studying towards Master or PhD degrees.

“Also, there has been consistent improvement in the CSIR's demographic profile, with its research base reaching 52% black and 33.2% female.”

“Despite global predictions that the 2011/12 financial year will also be economically challenging, the CSIR will continue to provide focus to its high-impact research and technologies, backed by an imperative to remain committed to human capital development,” says chairman Francis Petersen.

Tech demonstrators

"The CSIR continues to fulfil an increasingly important role in support of sustainable socio-economic development in SA. We do that by making the highest quality of science and technology available to markets and society," said Sibisi.

The CSIR says excellent results were also achieved in a number of organisational key performance indicators.

“The organisation exceeded its publication equivalent target of 466 to reach 576, an increase of nearly 15% compared to last year. New technology demonstrator equivalents rose from a target of 31 to an actual of 37.”

During the year under review, the number of new technology packages available for transfer was 29 compared to the set target of 16, while 14 new international patents were granted.

State security

Guided by global trends and national challenges, the organisation has identified six research impact areas.

These include health, with the aim of improving healthcare delivery and addressing the burden of disease; natural environment, with an emphasis on protection; a focus on alternative and renewable energy; improved infrastructure and the creation of sustainable human settlements; defence and security; and industry, in support of an efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure.

“The CSIR will channel its efforts towards delivering impact in the areas through the implementation of a few large-scale flagship initiatives in these research impact areas over the coming few years,” says the council.

Challenge accepted

“I am proud of the competence and excellence that exists in our sector. The CSIR is an outstanding example of this,” says science and technology minister Naledi Pandor.

She adds that its research and development contribution to the pursuit of scientific and technological solutions to meet SA's challenges is impressive.

“I congratulate the CSIR on its sterling work and am pleased to see it responding to my challenge ...for it to play a more strategic and influential role in R&D in SA, and to think beyond individual projects - looking at how to play a more catalytic role in the development of industry sectors that will constitute a strong and vibrant 21st-century South African economy.”

The CSIR yesterday announced that Cabinet renewed Sibisi's contract as CEO for a third five-year term.

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