In 2013, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), a division of the Department of Science and Technology, created the TIA Seed Fund to support the funding of innovation-oriented projects undertaken at higher education institutions and science councils, or to spin-out companies that are based on intellectual property emanating from these institutions. The TIA Seed Fund contributes up to R500 000 per project.
"Stellenbosch University (SU) welcomes the establishment of the TIA Seed Fund and has delegated its management to Innovus, the technology transfer and innovation company of SU. Since the inception of the fund, Innovus has invited SU researchers to submit proposals for funding by the TIA Seed Fund during each funding round. An increasing number of researchers respond each time to these calls. Last year we had a very short timeframe for responses, yet we received 33 proposals! This shows that the TIA Seed Fund enjoys great credibility among our research community. This is probably due to the successes that we have been able to generate through this fund," said Anita Nel, Innovus CEO and Senior Director: Innovation and Business Development at SU. Innovus provides guidance to interested researchers with the preparation of their research proposals, as well as support to report on successful applications.
Since 2013, a total of 36 SU projects have been approved for funding by the TIA Seed Fund. Examples include new technology directed at making South Africa's shores safe from shark attacks, the installation of solar energy batteries in the rural areas of Transkei and a skin patch which measures hydration levels.
"Stellenbosch University is incredibly proud of the outstanding quality of innovation that is produced by our researchers and spin-out companies, and we are committed to working in partnership with TIA to further innovation in the Western Cape," said Anita. She added that the TIA Seed Fund is "probably the best intervention in the local technology transfer industry to date" and thanked TIA management for their vision to establish this fund and to enable the University to support researchers with projects that are close to the commercialisation phase. "We are especially grateful for the incredible support we get from Mr Saberi Marais, the TIA Seed Fund Manager," she added.
This special edition of the Innovus newsletter profiles a few of the innovative SU projects that have benefited from funding from the TIA Seed Fund thus far.
INNOVUS TEGNOLOGIE OORDRAG (EDMS) BPK | Universiteit Stellenbosch
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