RCIPS current news
A team of young University of Cape Town researchers attended a workshop on Translational Research, Health Innovation and Commercialization in Durban. The event targeted early-stage health and life science researchers and postgraduates from the participating institutions with the objective of introducing participants to the concepts and tools required to plan the translation of their research findings towards commercialisation, healthcare delivery and social impact.
The Route to Market (R2M) series is being developed using funding from the Department of Science and Technology’s National Intellectual Property Office (NIPMO). Each booklet focuses on a specific sector/product type and highlights the key steps and considerations in bringing such a product to market in that sector – with an emphasis on the local South African context, i.e. bringing research outputs into the marketplace and achieving “impact through innovation”.
The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Department of Computer Science is set to enjoy a major boost with the naming of Dr Melissa Densmore, senior lecturer and Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) staff member, as a recipient of the prestigious $500 000 National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) Challenge grant.
Over the past decade or so, there has been a massive shift in cancer research toward discovering more targeted therapeutic alternatives to chemotherapy and radiation. Subscribing to this approach, Professor Virna Leaner, head of the Division of Medical Biochemistry at UCT, and her group of researchers have dedicated their academic work to looking for novel cancer biomarkers that could serve as therapeutic targets.
The rising incidence of cancer in Africa coupled with the spiralling prices of leading therapies indicates that there is a great need for locally developed immune-oncology diagnostics and therapeutics. Following 20 years of work in the fields of medical biotechnology and immunotherapy in Germany, Professor Stefan Barth was recruited by the Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation’s South African Research Chair (SARChI) in 2015 to lead the Tier 1 Chair in Cancer Biotechnology at UCT.
RC&I hosted two events for Student Entrepreneurship Week (SEW) 2018 on 29 August. The highlight of these events was the launch of the UCT Innovation Ecosystem Map which clearly represents the spatial arrangement of incubators, accelerators and UCT Spin-Off companies relative to each other.
University of Cape Town (UCT) professors Kelly Chibale, Virna Leaner and Kevin Naidoo have been honoured among 20 of South Africa’s leading scholars and scientists inaugurated as Members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).
Prof Tania Douglas, SARChI Chair in Biomedical Engineering & Innovation, has been named as one of 30 Quartz Africa Innovators 2018. Prof Douglas is recognised for driving innovation that revolutionizes healthcare - from mobile diagnostic applications to non-tech strategies aimed at tackling the stigma of conditions such as hearing loss.
RC&I has recently developed a useful map which gives an insight into the entrepreneurial ecosystem around UCT. Our various UCT spin-off companies are plotted on the map as well as the various business accelerators and incubators.
The 2018 series of Café Scientifique will be held in the last quarters of 2018 and early in 2019 at the Chemical Engineering Building (Upper Campus, UCT). Selected themes will explore impact of measurements and metrology, neurosurgery, molecular biology and infectious diseases, and ICT4D. The events kick off with a presentation by Prof Andy Buffler on 18 September 2018 entitled “Impact of Measurement”.
The prevailing need in South Africa is for sustainable economic development through the creation and growth of jobs and the support of new businesses to provide goods and services. The University of Cape Town has responded to the call from the Department of Higher Education and Training to host a series of events and activities that would contribute to this discussion.
A standard Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) was published in the Government Gazette on 20 July 2018, along with a statement signed by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, indicating that the MTA needs to be used by all providers and recipients of materials for use in research or clinical trials that are conducted under the auspices of registered Health Research Ethics Committees.