Biotechnology has been identified as a priority area for the national innovation system in South Africa. Since 2003 new structures have been established in the country in order to enhance biotechnology research and innovation in accordance with the “National Biotechnology Strategy”. Recently and for the first time in
the country’s science policy history, the Department of Science and Technology published the “Ten Year Plan 2008-2018” which sets quantitative objectives for the national system. The effort of this article is to benchmark the country’s research related to biotechnology in order to provide the foundations for themonitoring of the evolution of the field and the accomplishment of the broad objectives set by
the Department of Science and Technology. The international comparisons identify a number of management challenges and policy concerns and the extent of efforts required so that the South African biotechnology innovation system meets
the objectives set by the Government.