SharkSafe Barrier, one of Innovus’s spinout companies, walked away with a prestigious NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy Award at the annual National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF/South32Awards).
The researcher and inventor, Prof Conrad Matthee, from the Department of Botany and Zoology in Stellenbosch University Faculty of Science said they are honoured to receive the NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy Award for inventing the first nature-inspired, eco-friendly shark specific barrier SharkSafeTM which can protect beachgoers without harming the sharks nor other marine animals. Michael Rutzen, Dr Craig O’Connell and Dr Sara Andreotti are the other three inventors of the SharkSafe BarrierTM.
“An award like this helps to make the technology visible, and it also recognises the immense efforts that go into a start-up company. The more recognition the company receives, the better our prospects are to solve the human shark conflict and to contribute towards sustainable development of the oceans.”
“SharkSafe Barrier Pty Ltd is currently reaching out to potential clients, mostly international, to have our novel technology implemented in areas where the marine life is daily getting killed by the use of shark-fishing systems for beach protection. We are happy with the performance of the 200 Units we exported in Reunion last year, and we are planning to leverage this success, paired with existing scientific tests, to convince more buyers of the superior efficiency of our system,” says Prof Matthee and Dr Andreotti.
According to them Innovus has been guiding the commercialisation of this technology from the very beginning. “They have been covering the legal cost for the protection of the intellectual property, while also ensuring that all who have been involved in the development of this system will always be receiving their compensation in the form of royalties. When developing something as new and impactful as SharkSafe, it is also easy to lose the focus on the reason that got us starting this work in the first place. We feel that Innovus helped to keep us focused on the long-term goal. They also assisted in obtaining funds from the Technology Innovation Agency, to finance the research and development aspect of this work and they are currently lending their staff to the company for assisting with the finances and administrative work. Innovus also played a pivotal role in ensuring business training to several of the company directors.”
“We are proud of the work conducted so far as we came a really long way, but we are also extremely grateful to all the people and organisations that have been and that are currently supporting this work. It feels more a mission than a commercial venture and to be surrounded and supported by like-minded people, believing as much as we, that this is a worthy cause to work for, is a sure formula to overcome any challenge.”
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