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Workshop to assist SA researchers identify commercial IP

Workshop to assist SA researchers identify commercial IP potential

PRETORIA, South Africa – 5 February, 2013 - The National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) will host an intellectual property (IP) commercialisation workshop in Pretoria next week, in a bid to uncover new innovations in engineering for mining and agriculture.

The goal of the workshop, themed "Engineering for Mining and Agriculture", is to see more emerging technologies reach the market by giving researchers and technology transfer professionals a greater understanding of the commercialisation process, and by facilitating links with industry professionals, investors and collaborators.

The workshop will be run by NIPMO (funded by the Department of Science and Technology), together with WaikatoLink (the technology transfer company of the University of Waikato in New Zealand) and Innocentrix (Pty) Ltd (a Pretoria-based innovation management company).

WaikatoLink will be helping South African researchers explore the commercial potential of their research and innovations.

NIPMO Chief Director, Prof. Jonathan Youngleson, said that the workshop was important because it would expose researchers to investors and venture capitalists, and give them an opportunity to test their innovative ideas at a commercial level.

The workshop facilitator, Mr Nigel Slaughter, General Manager Commercial at WaikatoLink, says, "We show researchers how they can share their IP with the world and create benefits for themselves and their institution while transferring important innovations to the marketplace. During the workshop we also hope to identify opportunities for the University and New Zealand companies to work with South African researchers."

Participants will use their own IP and projects during the workshop to develop skills that will help them get their protected IP to market quickly.

Commercialisation is not only about marketing technologies, but also about business opportunities, says Mr Slaughter. "There are often multiple opportunities for protected intellectual property. By asking researchers to switch focus and think like a business for a few days they can radically improve the chances of their technology being used. We really focus on needs of the market in order to identify more valuable commercialisation opportunities."

Participants will work on creating value propositions for projects during the first two days of the workshop and gain valuable feedback from industry experts, learning how to communicate complex technological innovation ideas in business terms. On the final day, participants will have the opportunity to pitch their project to potential industry investors.

Duncan Mackintosh, Chief Executive of WaikatoLink, said that WaikatoLink was honoured to be facilitating the workshops. "NIPMO are getting experts from around the world to establish a best practice commercialisation industry in South Africa and help develop the country's knowledge economy," he said. "This will boost economic competitiveness and job creation. The workshop is a very practical way to transfer more IP to the market."

The workshop follows the successful Animal Health and Nutrition IP commercialisation workshop held in October 2012, also presented by WaikatoLink.

A participant at that workshop, Brian Mphahlele, Commercialisation Manager (Licensing and Ventures) at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, said: "WaikatoLink shared technology commercialisation best practice. The participants gained valuable insight with regard to the evaluation of an invention's commercial merit, the validation of market needs, the quantification of the value of improved performance for such markets, and how to package inventions as business opportunities."

Mr Mphahlele says: "It is so important to be able to articulate a bright idea in a way that is appealing to investors. If you cannot do that well you cannot raise investment to take the idea from the lab to the marketplace."

Dr Vuyisile Phehane, Senior Commercialisation Manager at the Agricultural Research Council, said that he found the workshop empowering. "It highlighted the process of commercialisation and what background work needs to be done to understand if there is commercial potential in an opportunity," he added. "This includes looking at the risks and barriers to entry to markets, how to find out what investors are looking for and how to pitch for investment."

Prof. Youngleson said that similar workshops would be needed for other important commercial sectors of the South African economy.

The Engineering for Mining and Agriculture IP commercialisation workshop will run from 12 to 14 February 2013 at Irene Farm Country Lodge, in Centurion.

– ENDS –

Innocentrix website:
NIPMO website:
WaikatoLink website:

For more insight into the Animal Health and Nutrition IP commercialisation workshop held in October 2012, please use the links below.
• Participants' review:
• Judges' review:
• Overview of event:

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