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Technology transfer intern programme

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Technology transfer intern programme links commercialisation professionals in New Zealand and South Africa

Hamilton, New Zealand, 15 March 2011 - WaikatoLink, the technology transfer company of the University of Waikato, and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), South Africa are sharing commercialisation expertise and building global linkages through a Technology Transfer Internship Training Programme.

WaikatoLink's five week technology transfer intern programme, designed to enhance technology management capabilities and commercialisation skills, has its third intake of interns from South Africa, who all have roles in technology transfer at publically financed institutions.

Duncan Mackintosh, Acting Chief Executive, WaikatoLink says, "Leveraging real world experience is a great way to build technology management and commercialisation skills. Interns gain experience first-hand through working with Waikatolink licensing and technology transfer professionals on projects in WaikatoLink's pipeline or by working on their own technology transfer office projects."

McLean Sibanda, Chief Executive Officer of The Innovation Hub and former Group Executive Commercialisation at the Technology Innovation Agency in South Africa and advisor to the Department of Science & Technology (DST) says, "We want to make the most of the intellectual property and innovation in our publicly funded institutions to help drive economic transformation. To achieve the best commercialisation outcomes we're boosting our technology transfer functions and adopting the best processes and customising them for the South African Research environment. WaikatoLink is a top performer internationally so we're very keen to understand their processes."

Two groups of interns from South Africa interns have already successfully completed the experiential training programme, designed in association with the DST, which covers the operations of a technology transfer office and the technology commercialisation process from initial invention and opportunity identification by inventors through to a successful commercialisation outcome which will generate return for stakeholders, and transfer knowledge.

Learning modules include market research, technology development, intellectual property management, deal preparation and the investment ready process, venture management and post deal support, strategy and business development, accounting and finance, marketing and public relations, and relationship and network building. Following the residential programme interns continue to access WaikatoLink mentors virtually. Organisations can also adopt WaikatoLink IT systems and processes, customised to suit their environment.

Mr Sibanda says, "The intern programme is proving to be a successful capacity building initiative for South Africa's newly established National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) and our research institutions. Interns are learning the nuts and bolts of IP based commercial opportunities with particular emphasis on commercialisation of publicly financed R&D and reducing IP leakage from the country. Increasing opportunity identification and deal flow from institutions will dramatically improve the returns on innovation and create valuable new companies, jobs and revenue streams."

Representatives from WaikatoLink will visit South Africa later in the year to continue the exchange of knowledge and to further develop key connections. Mr Mackintosh says, "The collaboration is proving to be very mutually beneficial. We're learning a great deal from our South African counterparts and we're forging some great connections. We're looking forward to our upcoming visit and hope to work on more joint initiatives together in the future."

WaikatoLink's Technology Transfer Internship Training Programme is open to local and international organisations.

- ENDS -

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