Technology Transfer and Innovation Policy: Toward Effective Technology Transfer for Research Institutions in Botswana

Technology Transfer and Innovation Policy: Toward Effective Technology Transfer for Research Institutions in Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana The International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI), in collaboration with the Botswana Ministry of Communication, Science & Technology and the Southern African Research & Innovation Management Association, is pleased to announce the success of the conference IP and Innovation Policy: Toward Effective Technology Transfer for Research Institutions in Botswana. 50 participants drawn from government officials, researchers and private businesses, gathered in Gaborone, Botswana for an in-depth examination of how technology transfer and a clear innovation policy can assist Botswana in facilitating economic growth and development. The conference was held at the Gaborone International Conference Center on the 20 – 21 of November 2006.
Conference attendees taking notes

The conference dealt with issues surrounding the transference of public sector-sponsored research to private enterprises for transformation into viable commercial products. Day one of the conference was launched with a warm and gracious welcome from the Deputy Director of the Department of Research, Science and Technology. Following the Deputy Director’s welcome, University of Maryland Professor Brent Goldfarb gave a presentation on the historic importance of innovation policy and the role of entrepreneurs in marketing innovation. Other speakers on day one included Don Kelly, CEO of Intellectual Asset Management Associates who spoke regarding United States Innovation Policy. That presentation was followed by Dr. Michelle Mulder representing the Southern African Research & Innovation Management Association (SARIMA), and she spoke about technology transfer in southern Africa. Susan Sprake, speaking on behalf of the Federal Laboratory Consortium, then gave an overview of how the United States federal laboratory system functions. To round out day one, Professor Goldfarb once again took to the podium to present regarding laboratory entrepreneurship.

Day two focused on setting up technology transfer offices and identifying key technology and good prospects for marketability. Rosemary Wolson and Professor Isaac Mazonde spoke to participants regarding the obstacles of transferring technology in southern Africa including how to set up a technology transfer office from scratch. Susan Sprake once again took to the podium to offer her insight and professional expertise in identifying new technologies for licensing potential. Don Kelly also had another opportunity to speak, this time regarding the varied strategies available for technology commercialization. Day two was rounded out with a lively two-hour panel and audience discussion regarding Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer in Botswana and southern Africa.

“Technology transfer,” the process of transferring new technologies invented at public research organizations to the private sector through commercialization of these technologies, is a key ingredient to strengthening industry and global competitiveness in Botswana.

The aims of this conference were to articulate government and university intellectual property ownership rights, educate participants regarding services for the transfer of technology, encourage a stronger entrepreneurial spirit among university inventors and provide the opportunity to make connections between private industry and university-based technology researchers.

For more information on this conference, please contact Kevin M. Reichelt via email at kreichelt@iipi.org.

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