Question NW404 to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

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02 March 2021 - NW404

Profile picture: Boshoff, Dr WJ

Boshoff, Dr WJ to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

(1)Whether the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research granted support to the company Additiv Solutions from the Photonics Prototyping Facility Programme (a) in the past three financial years and (b) since 1 April 2021; if not, in each case, what is the position in this regard; if so, in each case, Additiv Solutions qualified for such assistance at the time; (2) whether he will make a statement on the matter?


1. The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) funds the Photonics Prototyping Facility (PPF) through its Industry Innovation Partnership Programme. The PPF was established in 2016 and is a national facility that supports the commercialisation of photonics prototypes and facilitates photonic product development that results in market-ready products. It is hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) National Laser Centre. The facility supports small technology businesses in the main. The PPF publishes call for proposals, inviting technology business to submit proposals for technologies requiring prototyping support. The PPF established a PPF Investment Committee, which includes industry experts and the DSI, and which evaluates and recommends proposals to be supported to the CSIR. Proposals are evaluated against the following criteria:

a) Relevance and Impact (commercial relevance; feasibility; and significance of impact to the Photonics industry);

b) Technical merit (clarity of objectives/motivation to use the PPF; novelty of technology; maturity of technology);

c) Budget (alignment to tasks; and feasibility with existing infrastructure); and

d) Management Plan (feasibility and efficiency of plan; and track record and team)

PPF published an open call for participation inviting proposals from SMMEs, established companies and technology entrepreneurs requiring prototype product development support, using photonics as a core building block. Additiv Solutions (Pty) Ltd submitted a proposal for the “Development of a low-cost metal additive manufacturing machine to target the use of metal 3D printing in various industries” on 30 September 2019, in response to this call. The proposal was evaluated by the PPF Investment Committee, and approved for funding on 9 December 2019. A contract between the CSIR and Additiv Solutions was concluded on 12 June 2020, and the planned contract completion date is 31 March 2021. The value of the contract is R1 245 890, with no direct funding transfer to Additiv Solutions. The funding is utilized at the CSIR to support CSIR labour and equipment acquisition to support the project. No additional contracts or funding allocations are currently planned to Additiv Solutions.

2. This question relates to particular project at the CSIR. The Minister does not usually make statements on particular projects, and is not planning to do so in relation to the CSIR’s support to Additiv Solutions.

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