TRANSFORMING IDEAS AND RESEARCH INTO MARKETABLE PRODUCTS
By Selina Rapulane 19 April 2022
Mr Maemo Kobe and Dr Speech Nelana
Two senior managers from the Sebokeng Campus; Dr Speech Nelana and Mr Maemo Kobe, attended an Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education Programme (EDHE) Executive Leadership Workshop (ELW) held in Cape Town on 16-17 March 2022
This year, the executive leadership workshop focused on research commercialization.
Dr Nelana is the Acting Executive Director- Technology Transfer and Innovation (TTI), and Mr Kobe is the Acting Senior Manager – Commercialization Manager and Technology Transfer Office (TTO).
The invitation was made possible by Universities South Africa (USAF) through the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education Programme (EDHE) and in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training as well as the British Council.
The purpose of the ELW was to increase the number of institutions positioned as entrepreneurial universities while increasing an understanding and outcomes through the commercialisation of research. Through the ELW, the intention was to provide an opportunity for Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Deans, and other university leaders in entrepreneurship development to engage about commercialisation.
Research commercialization allows technology created during research activities to be further developed into marketable products for the benefit of the public. This is achieved through technology transfer, which is the process by which technology, skills, or knowledge developed during research activities at the research institution are applied and used. Technology transfer frequently refers to transferring technology between a research laboratory and a commercial partner, including industry, academia, and local governments.
This workshop was very important for The Vaal University of Technology, as the institution is in the process of reviving its Technology Transfer Office and the two senior managers wanted to gain perspective from other universities on how TTO can benefit the university.
“We were exposed to funding networks that VUT can tap into in future, as well as an understanding of different approaches to commercialisation within entrepreneurial universities in the South African context, so that we are better able to support and foster the creation of new ideas, innovation and commercialisation at VUT.”
“Driving entrepreneurship development in our institution is a core function and with all the knowledge acquired from this workshop, we will be empowered to facilitate the commercialization of our research,” explained Dr. Nelana.
This was an engaging and relevant programme was planned in consultation with the national EDHE Community of Practice for Entrepreneurial Universities. Initial expert talks and presentations led to the interactive workshop component whose aim was to assist participants to develop a roadmap for the commercialisation of research in institutions.