DST - Department of Science and Technology

The DST is the national government authority responsible for science, technology and innovation policy in South Africa (SA). The DST includes among its key activities the development of strategic partnerships/collaborations with the international science and technology (S&T) community; the internationalising/branding of South Africa’s S&T capabilities, and improving the quality and depth of information to support development, investment, decision-making and driving improvements in the quality of S&T activities against the backdrop of internationally recognized benchmarks.

The DST has been responsible over the past decade, in partnership with the European Union (EC) Directorate-General Research, for the coordination, monitoring and promotion of cooperation under the SA-EU Agreement – this includes South Africa’s participation in FP4, FP5, FP6, FP7 and Horizon2020 programmes.

In 2016 the DST strengthened its bilateral S&T agreement with the European Commission in the area. This has enabled South Africa to play a strategic and leadership role in the AU-EU Research and Innovation Partnership.

Within the Research and Innovation Partnership the DST has pooled its technical expertise and reputable network of partners in the African context to influence the formulation of Research and Innovation Partnership priorities such as the Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture Roadmap and the more recent Framework on Climate Change and Sustainable Energy.



DST will mainly contribute to WP 1 “Support to the FNSSA Partnership and HLPD Bureau”, as coleader of Task 1.1 “Governance Support and Secretariat” and Task 1.2 “Strategic Stakeholder Engagement” DST will also contribute to the other Tasks of this WP1, as well as in some tasks of WP2 (task 2.1 and task 2.4)


  • Ms Phumelele Higgins (primary contact) Phumelele Higgins is the Director of the Africa Multilateral Cooperation Directorate within the DST. She is responsible for advancing South Africa’s strategic regional and continental science, technology and innovation engagements and partnerships to achieve shared economic and social development in South Africa, the SADC region and continent.
  • Ms Tinyiko Mushwana (secondary contact) Ms Mushwana is a Deputy Director within the Africa Multilateral Cooperation Directorate at the DST. Her portfolio entails managing and coordinating South Africa’s participation in the AU-EU Research and Innovation Partnerships by overseeing the strategic delivery of project tasks and activities led by the DST. Through her experience derived from coordinating various regional and continental initiatives Ms Mushwana is also responsible for identifying linkages, partnership opportunities and alignment of STI priorities in South Africa’s participation in continental and biregional multilateral initiatives. 
  • Ms Refilwe Mashigo Refilwe Mashigo is an Assistant Director within the Africa Multilateral Cooperation Directorate at the DST. She responsible for assisting with the coordination of South Africa’s participation in the Africa-EU funded projects, by ensuring DST meets its strategic goals and deliverables within the framework scope of the Africa-EU partnership. She has been involved in EU-Africa R&I coordination and support action projects such as the Research and Innovation Network for Europe and Africa (RINEA) and the CAAST-Net Plus project. 
  • Ms Mmampei Chaba Ms Chaba heads the Multilateral Cooperation and Africa Chief Directorate. She is responsible for overseeing the advancement and facilitation of South Africa’s participation in regional, continental and global multilateral institutions. Ms Chaba is also responsible for overseeing South Africa’s bilateral STI agreements with African partner countries. 
  • Ms Vinny Pillay –  Vinny Pillay is the DST’s Senior Science and Technology Representative to the European Commission. Ms Pillay is responsible for the strategic partnership in science, technology and innovation with the EC. She has been involved in several projects under Horizon 2020 as well as under the AU-EU Partnership. She holds a Masters Degree in Science and a Masters Degree inBusiness Leadership. She has experience in overseeing the DST’s bilateral STI agreements with partner countries in Europe, the America’s, Middle East and Asia as well as experience in the international environmental sector.