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Technology Transfer Professionals will promote innovation collaboration between South Africa and Europe

October 2014 - The ESASTAP Plus Project, with co-funding from the South African Department of Science and Technology, is proud to announce the successful applicants of the ESASTAP Plus Short Term Exchange Programme (E+STEP).

One of the key objectives of the ESASTAP Plus Project is to expand cooperation between South Africa and Europe to specifically address innovation partnerships. E+STEP will allow experienced Technology Transfer Professionals, representing their respective institutions, to share information and best practices in technology transfer; they will identify potential barriers for innovation collaboration and will explore long-term innovation collaboration opportunities between their institutions.

The following Technology Transfer Professionals (TTP) will visit their host institutions for a period of two weeks between now and July 2015. Details of the visit outcomes will be posted on the ESASTAP Plus website.

Host institution: University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Douglas Sanyahumbi
Director: Technology Transfer Office, University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa | Website

The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at the UWC, the most recently established of the four offices for technology transfer at the four universities in the Western Cape Province, was formally launched on 14 February 2012. This development is viewed as a strategic imperative for the institution by the University's research community, executive and senior management.

While various models for offices of technology transfer exist around South Africa, UWC's TTO is structured as part of the administrative offices within the university. The TTO has a Director that reports to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) who is responsible for academic, research and innovation portfolios. The TTO has a small full-time staff complement of five including the Director, one technology transfer manager, and two technology transfer officers. Given the resource limitations; it is essential that each staff member gets involved in almost all aspects of the TTO's activities.

The TTO at UWC has been established within the backdrop of a number of key national and institutional drivers which include the University's Research and IP Policy developed in 2009 which states that "UWC has an obligation to transfer knowledge for the betterment of the society through the promotion of research for socio-economic development. Therefore, UWC will engage with (new and) existing knowledge in applying it towards addressing societal challenges".

Host institution: University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Hazel Mathye
Intellectual Property Analyst, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa | Website

The Wits Tech Transfer Unit (TTU) is the mandated intellectual property management office and a technology transfer office for the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. The TTU's role is to enhance the impact of University's intellectual property developed from world-class research. It does this by facilitating the identification, protection, and utilisation of intellectual property developed by Wits researchers in order to assist in translating this research into useful and innovative products and services that can benefit the society and contribute to the economy.

The unit is located within Wits Commercial Enterprise (Pty) Ltd; a wholly owned Commercialisation Company of the University of the Witwatersrand. Wits Commercial Enterprise (Pty) Ltd is responsible for marketing and commercialising the University's intellectual capital through short course management, contract research, consulting, intellectual property management and technology transfer.

Host institution: Uppsala University, Sweden

Mary-Ann Chetty
Senior Innovation Manager, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), South Africa | Website

In 2007 the NMMU established a technology transfer office called the Department of Innovation Support & Technology Transfer. The office reports to the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Engagement and is supported by the NMMU Innovation Committee. From two staff members in 2007, the office has since grown to a staff complement of six.

The office drives the institution's objectives of promoting the commercialisation of research outcomes for the benefit of society by supporting innovation and undertaking technology transfer activities. Innovation support activities include facilitation of research-related grants and contracts with external funders and industry partners, proposal and business plan development and prototype and proof of concept funding. Technology transfer activities include creating awareness of intellectual property amongst NMMU researchers and identifying, managing and commercialising the NMMU's intellectual property. Commercialisation takes place in a wholly-owned company of the NMMU, Innovolve (Pty) Ltd.

The office also plays a role locally, regionally and nationally. Locally, the office champions the Regional Innovation Forum, an initiative of 14 local organisations from government, industry and academia. The office has also successfully proposed the establishment of an incubator, Propella, which will support, develop and grow new innovation-based enterprises in the local economy. Regionally, the office was the anchor for regional technology transfer with three other institutions and will continue to play a mentoring role as those institutions build capacity. Nationally, the office plays a role in building technology transfer capacity and developing a community of practice.

Host institutions: French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), France and The Helmholtz Association, Germany

Tandokazi Nquma
Intellectual Property Analyst, South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), South Africa | Website

Necsa is a State Owned Entity, governed by the Nuclear Energy Act, No. 46 of 1999. Necsa is responsible for undertaking and promoting Research and Development in the field of nuclear energy and related technologies, and radiation sciences. It is also responsible for processing source material, including uranium enrichment, and co-operating with other institutions, locally and abroad, on nuclear and related matters.

The Necsa TTO supports and facilitates the execution of the Necsa mandate through IP management, Commercialisation, Business Development, Strategic Partnerships, Technology Transfer-Awareness, Capacity building and Innovation Management which entails development of organisation wide Innovation programmes to support the Necsa mandate. The Necsa TTO is positioned within the Strategy and Performance Portfolio in the Office of the CEO. The TTO has an overarching role in seeking to expand Necsa business, servicing six divisions of Necsa, those being, Research and Development, Operations (SAFARI reactor and laboratories etc), Nuclear Compliance & Services, Finance and Business Development, Corporate Services and Pelindaba Enterprises; which includes Necsa Engineering and Manufacturing services and Necsa's commercial subsidiaries, NTP Radioisotopes SOC Ltd (NTP), and Pelchem SOC Ltd (Pelchem).

Host institution: Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Pushkar Wadke
Technology Transfer Manager, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), United Kingdom | Website

Queen Mary Innovation Ltd (QMI) is QMULs wholly-owned technology transfer company and responsible for the commercialisation and management of the University's intellectual property and portfolio of spinout companies. QMI protects and exploits QMUL's research-derived intellectual property and helps to maximise the economic and societal impact of that research.

QMI fosters an entrepreneurial culture for QMUL staff and students, promoting innovation across all research sectors. QMI's Technology Transfer services include: building a strong pipeline of technology by identifying and protecting early-stage new technology innovations; securing proof of concept / translational research funding to develop new QM technologies; and the exploitation of research-derived technologies through licensing and new spinout creation. Technology transfer is a core component of the process. QMI's Technology Transfer team is separated into two primary areas of expertise: BioPharma and Technology & Engineering.

The Technology Transfer team works with research and academic staff at Queen Mary University's three faculties which are organised across central London. These include Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, which works with QMI's Biopharma team and the Faculty of Science and Engineering, which works with QMI's Technology & Engineering team. QMI also works with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Technology & Engineering team also runs QTech, a software specific initiative that fast tracks the commercialisation of software by providing an inclusive programme of training, guidance and funding.

  European Commission