Organization seeks to expand upon U.S. technology transfer experience

Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA – During the week of February 11, a team of IIPI staff and partners traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, to support the establishment of SARIMA, the Southern African Research & Innovation Management Association.

Modeled loosely after the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) in the U.S., SARIMA will work to promote the professional development of those involved in managing research, technology transfer and the creation of intellectual capital within Southern African universities and national research centers. At the same time, SARIMA will also assume a leading role in the development of national policies pertaining to the support of research and the effective use of intellectual capital for public benefit and economic development.

Conference participants listen to the presentation of a discussion group
“South Africa is one of a handful of developing countries with a scientific research community sophisticated enough to make a substantial contribution to economic development,” said Eric Garduño, an IIPI staff member involved in the project. “By helping the academic research communities exploit their intellectual assets, we believe that SARIMA will have a tremendous impact on the social and economic progress of the region.”

The formal launch of the organization came during two days of workshops and discussions organized by IIPI on policy and training issues confronting the young organization. More than 80 heads of university research and innovation programs attended the event. The conference included representatives from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Minister Baldwin Ngubane of South Africa’s Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology gave a keynote speech stressing the importance of harnessing the fruits of publicly funded research to address the needs of the country.
Minister of DACST presents a keynote speech

“I began to see the tremendous potential for this organization when I attended events in the U.S. and other countries. It is easy to see how commercial exploitation of research coming out of American universities has always been an important contributor to U.S. economic prowess,” said Dr. Tony Heher, the newly elected president of SARIMA and head of the University of Cape Town’s Innovation program. One of IIPI’s priority projects is to assist developing countries in instituting effective means of technology transfer from public research institutions to the private sector. By adopting variations of the Bayh-Dole Act and related protocols appropriate for different regional priorities, developing countries will be able to more efficiently address their needs, while promoting a greater presence in international commerce.

The IIPI delegation attending the event included Professor Michael Ryan of Georgetown University and Bill Lowe, a noted business executive with technology development expertise. For more information about the program or attendees, contact Eric Garduño.