Top Intellectual Property (IP) creators Prof Charles Whitehead and Prof Reinout Meijboom from the University of Johannesburg (UJ), were rewarded for their contribution to support scientific research to address South Africa’s triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment on Thursday, 28 March 2019 in Pretoria.
The Top intellectual property (IP) Creators award is a new initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), managed by the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), to incentivise top IP creators at publicly financed research and development institutions. This incentive was awarded to IP creators who have demonstrated, through offices of technology transfer based at their institutions, how research results can be disclosed and protected for the benefit of the people of the republic of South Africa.
Says Dr Vuyisile Phehane, Director of the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at UJ, “We are proud to have our researchers recognised for their achievements. Research output remains a significant contributor to the global rankings of the University of Johannesburg. The future role of the TTO will be to enhance these rankings through its contribution to Intellectual Property management, innovation, entrepreneurial development and overall social and economic benefit for the African continent.”
During the awards ceremony that was conducted by the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane presented the grants and certificates. Five outcome groups were listed to which the top IP creators contributed, namely, (1) Vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities and food security for all, (2) Environmental assets and natural resource that are well protected and continually enhanced, (3) A long and healthy life for all South Africans, (4) An efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure network and (5) Sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life.
UJ’s Prof Charles Whitehead from the Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology, has two registered patent families, for which innovations in carbon enrichment by foliar spray has an application in crop sciences, and a diagnostic test for the rapid screening of barley for germination percentage, a technology which finds application in the brewing industry.
In addition, UJ’s Prof Reinout Meijboom from the Department of Chemistry has developed and protected IP related to the synthesis of silver-containing compounds, shown to be active against certain cancers. Prof Meijboom is a co-creator with Prof Marianne Cronje (formerly of UJ) on this patent family, and discussions underway with Wits University to conduct formulation and trials.
The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) is responsible for the management of UJ’s inventions, and the commercialisation thereof through licensing and new venture creation, with the co-operation of inventors.
The University of Johannesburg wishes to congratulate Prof Charles Whitehead and Prof Reinout Meijboom for demonstrating the progression of an idea into an innovation with the potential for commercial application.