The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, commonly known as the CSIR, is a world-class African research and development organisation established through an Act of Parliament in 1945. The CSIR undertakes directed, multidisciplinary research and technological innovation that contributes to the improved quality of life of South Africans. The organisation plays a key role in supporting government’s programmes through directed research that is aligned with the country’s priorities, the organisation’s mandate and its science, engineering and technology competences.



Strategic objectives

Conduct high-quality and relevant research and technological innovation to foster industrial and scientific development – This strategic objective is achieved through the selection and implementation of a range of R&D programmes.

Build and transform human capital – The CSIR’s scientific and technical contributions are only possible through the skills and capabilities of our scientific staff, which we refer to as our science, engineering and technology (SET) base. The ongoing development, renewal and transformation of the SET base are of critical importance for the organisation. In addition, the CSIR is an important part of the national system of innovation and through the development and training of our scientific base, contributes to the national imperative to develop human capital and to the ongoing transformation of our society.

Maintain a sustainable and well-governed organisation – Without a financially sustainable and well-governed organisation, our ability to, over the long-term, contribute to national development through our scientific and technological work, would be severely compromised. Therefore, the CSIR is committed to maintaining its record of good governance and to continue to operate in a sustainable manner.

Supporting national imperatives through high quality and relevant research

Key issues that the CSIR seeks to address through various interventions include: creating a vibrant economy and employment opportunities; building a capable state that is able to consistently deliver high-quality services for all South Africans; contributing to the development of economic and social infrastructure like transport, energy, water resources and ICT networks.

Impact is at the core of the CSIR’s mandate. To improve its research focus and ensure that it achieves maximum impact in industry and society, the organisation has identified six research impact areas. These are: The built environment, defence and security, energy, health, industry and the natural environment. To make an impact in these areas, the organisation draws on a rich, multidisciplinary science base and proficiency in enabling technologies such as nanotechnology, materials science, synthetic biology, photonics and information and communications technology.

World-class infrastructure and highly skilled staff

The CSIR’s state-of-the-art research infrastructure includes laboratories, testing facilities, scientific instruments, equipment, machinery, clean rooms and pilot plants that enable the translation of CSIR research into solid scientific output such as technology demonstrators and intellectual property. Two-thirds of the CSIR’s staff consists of scientists, engineers and technologists, who share a passion for shaping a better future through science and technology innovation. The organisation also invests in a myriad of training interventions to foster young talent and further develop expertise by providing bursaries, studentships, internships, exchange and sabbatical programmes.

It is this combination of excellence in research, highly skilled staff and world-class infrastructure that puts the CSIR at the cutting edge of research and technological innovation to ensure a better future through science.


One of the few constants in the over 70-year history of the CSIR is the awareness of, and commitment to, the value that science and technology can deliver to the development of our country.

The CSIR ensures that the annual grant received from Parliament through the Department of Science and Technology, which accounts for some 40% of its total income, is invested in knowledge generation, scientific infrastructure and enhancing skills. Additional income is generated from contract research for the public and private sectors, locally and abroad, as well as from royalties, licences and dividends from intellectual property management and commercial companies created by the CSIR.

Throughout the years, the organisation has demonstrated significant growth in its research output, transformation of its staff complement and added value to society.

The figures below are for the 2016/17 financial year.


The CSIR’s mandate encourages it to cooperate with entities in the public and private sector. We recognise that a collaborative approach to research will lead to better outcomes and innovations.

Complex problems require a multidisciplinary approach to resolve. Partnerships can play a key role in broadening the capabilities required to resolve these challenges.

We work with a range of organisations, companies, education institutions, government departments and state-owned entities in all of our focus areas: energy, health, industry, defence and security, as well as the natural, built and digital environments.

The CSIR contributes to the vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa and contributes to innovation in Africa, tackling continental societal challenges by collaborating with African partners on science, engineering and technology.

Find out how you can collaborate and partner with the CSIR and how it can make a difference for you.

View details of the CSIR’s extensive network of partner organisations.

View the ScienceScope edition titled, Partnering for world-class research, development and innovation.

CSIR Biosciences
+27 12 841 3260

CSIR Built Environment
+27 12 841 3871

+ 27 21 888 2508

CSIR Defence, Peace, Safety and Security
+27 12 841 4392

CSIR Energy Centre
+27 12 841 7197

CSIR Implementation Unit
+27 12 841 4127
+27 11 482 1300
+27 12 841 4037
Cape Town
+27 21 658 2740

CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing
+27 12 841 4392
+27 11 482 1300
Port Elizabeth
+27 42 508 3200
Cape Town
+27 21 685 4329

CSIR Meraka Institute
+27 12 841 3028
Cape Town
(Centre for
High Performance
+ 27 21 658 2740

CSIR Modelling and Digital Science 
+27 12 841 3298

CSIR National Laser Centre 
+27 12 841 4188

CSIR Natural Resources and the Environment
+27 12 841 4005
+27 21 658 2766
+27 31 242 2300
+27 13 759 8036

Sector Related