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More about iThemba

lib3The basic skills and facilities at iThemba LABS are in the applied and pure sub-atomic sciences and associated technologies. Worldwide, these basic sciences are growing strongly. The applications of these sciences to technology are also growing rapidly indeed. For example, there is an international scarcity of radioisotopes creating a market into which iThemba LABS’ products have had speedy access due to their quality and innovative nature. There is also a shortage of the skills and human resources required to satisfy these growing markets and economic requirements. The training programmes at iThemba LABS are essential both for transforming the South African science and technology (S&T) workforce and for growing the skills required to build a successful economy in which there are sufficient resources to eradicate poverty.


As a national research facility working within the National System of Innovation it is the intention of iThemba LABS to achieve the following strategic objectives:

  • Grow the research facilities to increase training, human resource development, international collaborations (especially with Africa) and the Science and Technology profile of South Africa.
  • To spin off economic units that are self-sustaining and benefit from the skills, sciences and technologies developed and available at iThemba LABS. To this end the following should be achieved:
  • Grow radio nuclide production into a substantial business;
  • Substantially improve training and research outputs;
  • Strengthen beneficial collaborations with the higher education sector;
  • Forge closer ties with South African and African S&T institutions;
  • Position to have the skills and capacity to respond to the sub- atomic technology needs of 2005- 2010. For example, in this period fourth-generation synchrotron radiation sources and accelerator-based free electron lasers may well be needed by the African S&T community to impact advances in chemistry and biology;
  • Quickly expand the IT/electronics instrumentation capacity at iThemba LABS. The current capacity barely meets basic needs. Skills and capacity in these disciplines are vital to the national interest;
  • Acquire the capacity to technically and scientifically service university research groups that wish to use international facilities such as CERN, ILL, ESRS, SESEME, CEBAF Spring 8, and so forth. This servicing activity is one of the key functions of national research laboratories internationally;
  • Substantially expand the number of post-doctoral fellowship and research assistant posts to increase opportunities for young South Africans to establish international research reputations.