Technology Innovation Agency Hosted by UKZN InQubateGeneral

UKZN’s Professor Deresh Ramjugernath (centre left) and Technology Innovation Agency CEO Mr Barlow Manilal (centre right) with UKZN innovators.UKZN’s Professor Deresh Ramjugernath (centre left) and Technology Innovation Agency CEO Mr Barlow Manilal (centre right) with UKZN innovators.

UKZN InQubate, the University’s Innovation and Technology Transfer office, hosted the CEO of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), Mr Barlow Manilal, and several colleagues.

TIA is a national public entity which helps bridge the chasm between research and development at Higher Education Institutions and commercialisation. UKZN directly benefits from TIA’s initiatives through their Seed Fund Programme which currently funds several UKZN academics.

The discussion between the TIA and UKZN was facilitated by Pro-Vice Chancellor Innovation, Commercialisation, and Entrepreneurship, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, who outlined UKZN’s three- to five-year research and innovation priorities and roadmap, and partnerships with key industrial players.

While presenting the potential new research focus areas, UKZN Seed Fund recipients from the relevant categories each spoke briefly on their innovative research outputs. Research areas include ICT, space science and cosmology, autonomous vehicles and manufacturing, and genomics and bioinformatics. Ramjugernath stressed his intention of positioning UKZN as a key driver of innovation which has wider societal impact.

Manilal noted that UKZN’s research and innovation priorities were perfectly aligned with TIA’s strategic plan and encouraged UKZN to collaborate and synergise with other Higher Education Institutions in the province for maximum impact.

He explained that, going forward, TIA would adopt forward integration whereby Seed Fund recipients would be taken directly to the Technology Development Fund and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to increase the success rate to market. Further to this, TIA would take more interest in research at early technology readiness levels so as to proactively plan for the next stage.

The discussions were followed by a visit to Professor Tulio de Oliviera’s new Genomics and Bioinformatics platform currently being built at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in collaboration with TIA.

* If you would like to know more about the TIA Seed Fund or believe your research outputs have market potential, contact Dr Umeshree Govender at InQubate (govenderu@ukzn.ac.za).

Umeshree Govender