Through focused investment by the CSIR, the South African Innovation Fund, the Automotive Industry Development Centre and the Department of Science and Technology over the past eight years, the national Light Metals Development Network has been established and grown into a well aligned collaborative research and development programme. The research and development focus has been primarily on aluminium and titanium technologies as applied in the automotive and aerospace industry sectors, with the latter growing in prominence over the past three years. Since 2009 the titanium-related research and development activities have been consolidated in a Titanium Centre of Competence. This paper provides an overview of the current status of the programme, the R&D focus areas, the collaborating entities and the industry involvement. It also highlights some of the significant achievements of the network and notable outputs produced. The Titanium Centre of Competence as a vehicle for strengthening industrial research and innovation capabilities in specific fields of technology is discussed and some initial experiences are shared.