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Chief Executive Officer
Dr Mark Orkin
Tel +27 12 302 2000
The office of the CEO consists of a small core of staff, providing strategic support to the CEO, the Council, and the organisation as a whole, and currently comprising the following components: Business Development, Corporate Communications, International Relations, Council Secretariat, Internal Audit and the HSRC Publishing Department.
The Business Development Unit enhances the capacity of the HSRC to attract outside funding, both from donors and from revenue-generating research. Its services have been central to the HSRCs greatly improved research earnings over the last three years.
At fortnightly meetings, the Director of the Unit provides the CEO, Executive Directors and their section heads with detailed information on tenders and funding opportunities. The Unit also gives administrative support on grant applications and contractual requirements, including copyright. By capturing information on submitted proposals and the external research funds achieved per Research Programme, the Unit helps the Council and research managers to monitor the overall achievement of external income targets, success rates and sources for external research funding, and to identify trends for future planning.
Figure H: Sources of research earnings 2001/02 and 2002/03
During the past financial year, the Business Development Unit recorded a total of 110 funding proposals, of which 50% were known to be successful by May 2003. The unit assisted in the submission of 73 competitive tender proposals of which 33% were successful by May 2003. Twenty-six proposals were prepared following a direct request from potential funders, and 81% of these proposals had been approved by May 2003. This shows a growth in the number of projects where the HSRC is seen as the first port of call. Another eleven funding applications were submitted to international and national foundations or funding agencies in response to open calls for proposal. For this type of proposal, the HSRC had more freedom to identify the research question and associated methodologies. A remarkable 91% of these proposals were known to have been awarded by May 2003. This year-on-year improvement in successful applications to international and national foundations or funding agencies is illustrated in Figure 3 on page 90 of the Councils Report.
The Unit has also supported the CEO in the production of the periodic reports to the Minister and DST, the Ministers National Advisory Committee on Innovation, and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, on the business plan for the annual budget and the three-year budget submission under the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
Pending the appointment of a new Director of International Relations, the CEOs office has maintained networks of collaboration with research leaders and distinguished academics inside and outside South Africa. The HSRC and the National Research Foundation in South Africa, for example, convene an annual workshop with social scientists from the CNRS in France. In December 2002, the HSRC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). The Office of the CEO regularly hosts international visitors, including delegations to the DST and other Departments. It ensures that researchers are informed about opportunities for international collaboration, such as the EU Sixth Framework Programme.
The numerous visits of researchers to collaborators on projects and to present papers at conferences and workshops are arranged within the respective Research Programmes. Recent project-related visits together with funding partners were undertaken to international research counterparts in Finland and India. An HSRC contingent attended the 10th General Assembly of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) in Kampala, Uganda, in December 2002, and presented papers on the theme Africa in the New Millennium. Researchers at various levels also had the opportunity to participate in exchange and capacity-building programmes hosted by international counterparts.
The Corporate Communications Unit was re-established in February 2002 and presented initial suggestions for the process of formulating a communications strategy to the CEO and Executive Directors in October 2002. The Marketing Manager of the HSRC Publishers assumed responsibility as part-time Acting Director of the Unit in December 2002, following the resignation of the Director.
During this reporting period, the Unit began improving communication between the various research and service divisions in the HSRC. It was heavily involved in the design of the new intranet and website. Investigations were commenced towards formulating an integrated communications strategy, including the planned re-branding of the organisation in 2004.
In March 2003, the first edition of the bimonthly newsletter, HSRC Review, was produced and mailed or e-mailed to nearly 8 000 stakeholders, members of national, provincial and local government, Parliamentary committees, media and all secondary schools in South Africa, and to collaborators and funders nationally and internationally.
Communications played a key role in several activities of the HSRC, including the HSRC exhibition at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in September 2002; the formal openings of HSRC offices in Durban in April 2002 and Bloemfontein in April 2003; the launch of the 2001/02 Annual Report of the HSRC; the organising and writing of material for the international conference on the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS in September 2002 in Pretoria; and the AIDS and Fertility conference with the Department of Social Development in October 2002.
This unit also assisted in the formal announcements of new grants such as the W.K. Kellogg Foundations Orphans and Vulnerable Children project, and the release of the Nelson Mandela/HSRC study of HIV/AIDS in December 2002.
The Council Secretariat is responsible for arranging and documenting all matters of Council and its subcommittees, and also meetings of the CEO and Executive Directors, the Bargaining Forum of the HSRC management and Public Servants Association and the research lekgotlas which take place twice a year.
The Secretariat also co-ordinates meetings of the new Research Ethics Committee, which was established in November 2002 with a distinguished academic ethicist as chairperson. This committee examines and approves all research projects in advance, assisted by the Medical Research Councils recently published Guidelines on Ethics for Medical Research. These guidelines will be adapted to the HSRCs
In 2002/03 the HSRC Publishing Department implemented its new not-for-profit publishing and dissemination strategy, making available the HSRCs output in both print and electronic form. A core internal staff of six were recruited, responsible for the business management of the Publishing Department, the commissioning and quality control of all publications, and their editing, design and marketing.
Print, warehousing, distribution and sales representation functions were outsourced to three Cape-based companies. One of these was also tasked with the development and management of the Publishers website.
In 2002/03, the Department produced 43 publications: 18 books (5 new and 13 reprints), 3 research monographs, 9 client reports and 12 occasional papers. Unless subject to client confidentiality, electronic versions full or sample text of the publications were produced simultaneously with the print versions and made available online. Sales of publications generated R557 000 in 2002/03. Turnover stemmed from the sale of 2 308 individual publications, sold through bookshops and ordered via the HSRC Publishing e-commerce enabled website, while an additional 3 400 units were sold by way of bulk and co-publishing deals with NGOs and overseas publishers. In total, 9 700 units were sold in 2002/03.
In the second half of the reporting year particular attention was paid to the publicising and marketing of the HSRCs research products, nationally and internationally. This included mounting exhibitor stands at the WSSD, the Zimbabwe Book Fair (finally held in Cape Town) and the conferences of a number of academic and other professional associations including CODESRIA. The HSRC was represented for the first time at both the London and Frankfurt Book Fairs as well as at the annual conference of the African Studies Association of North America. These visits facilitated the negotiation of co-publishing arrangements with international publishers and the initiation of a series of discussions with a number of international distributors for the global distribution of HSRC publications. A finalised arrangement is anticipated in the forthcoming year.
A comprehensive list of HSRC publications is provided on pages 64 to 72 of the 2002/03 Annual Report. Statistics from the publications list are summarised in Table 4 on page 93.
The Internal Auditor reports directly to both the CEO and the Councils Audit Committee. The latter sets the Internal Auditors annual work plan, which is executed with the assistance with private-sector partners.
The Treasury Regulations require that the internal audit should be risk-based. The 2002/03-audit plan is therefore based on the risk-assessment exercise conducted during 2001/02, and forms part of the three-year internal audit plan to address these risks. To implement the plan certain internal audit activities were contracted out to audit firms: the Information Technology (IT) Audit to MSGM Masuku Jeena and the Corporate Governance Review to Deloitte & Touche.
The Treasury Regulations also requires a fraud prevention plan be implemented as part of the risk-management strategy. This task has been contracted out to the Forensic Division of Deloitte & Touche. Most of the work in these focus areas has been completed.
This unit also attended to several compliance audits in the year, and ad hoc requests.