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Title: Benefits and impacts of THRIP-supported applied research projects
Authors: Dassah, Maurice Oscar 
Uken, E 
Keywords: Research and development;Human resource development;South Africa
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Emerald
Source: Dassah, M.O. & Uken, E. (2010). Benefits and impacts of THRIP-supported applied research projects. Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, 8(3): 296-313
Abstract: Purpose – The aim of this paper is to highlight the benefits, impacts and spin-offs of 52 THRIP-supported applied research projects conducted in South Africa between 2001 and 2003. Benefits, impacts and spin-offs were realised in human resource development/intellectual, technological, commercial/economic and social domains. These value-for-money aspects indicate that funding of science, engineering and technology (SET) projects is important for raising citizens’ quality of life and making South Africa competitive. Design/methodology/approach – A main questionnaire, followed by a secondary one, was circulated to contact persons in industry (sponsors) and individual researchers. They were asked to identify the benefits resulting from their THRIP projects to themselves, the wider South African society and the economy. Responses to items in the questionnaires were thematically analysed and recurring dominant themes were identified. Findings – Both researchers and industry representatives agreed that human resource development was generally achieved. Also realised to a large extent were commercial/economic and technological spin-offs. The percentage of industry respondents reporting on such benefits and spin-offs was generally higher than for researchers. Similar results were obtained in respect of differences or impacts THRIP projects made. Research/limitations implications – Of the targeted 70 project leaders (academics/researchers) and an equal number of industry contact persons, 44 of the former and 21 of the latter responded, respectively. Practical implications – Sustained funding of SET research and development projects is critical for South Africa not only to raise quality of life for citizens, but also for the country to become competitive. Originality/value – This paper originates from an empirical research undertaken for a doctoral degree. It answers to the need to objectively assess the benefits and impacts of THRIP/industry-funded applied research projects.
ISSN: 1726-0531
Appears in Collections:Eng - Journal articles (DHET subsidised)

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