The Public Understanding of Biotechnology (PUB) programme is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology that was launched in early 2003. The programme is implemented by SAASTA (South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement), a business unit of the National Research Foundation.

The mandate of the programme is to promote a clear, balanced understanding of the potential of biotechnology and to ensure broad public awareness, dialogue and debate about biotechnology and its current and potential applications.

Numerous resources have been developed to provide the South African public (general public, educators, learners, media, etc.) with relevant information on the field of biotechnology and particularly on topical issues.

Guiding principles

The PUB programme is guided by the following principle:

  • Neutral, balanced mandate to provide credible, objective, factual information;
  • Stimulate dialogue, debate and public participation;
  • Open communication about benefits and risks;
  • Use innovative, creative approaches;
  • Communicate in easy, accessible language;
  • Active involvement of the science community;
  • Capacity building in biotechnology communication;
  • Global and regional networking;
  • Biotechnology per se – NOT just GM and cloning;
  • Publicly funded research – public’s right to know;
  • Current confusion of the general public;
  • Wide target audience.

Find out more


Call +27 (0)12 392 9300