Coming back to Stellenbosch University is a full circle moment for Mashudu Nxumalo
Mashudu’s return to Stellenbosch University (SU) is a full-circle moment after she initially started her studies as a first-year B.Sc. student at Stellenbosch University. Having to return to Limpopo at the beginning of her second year, she completed her degree in 2012, followed by her Honours in Microbiology at the University of Limpopo, and later, in 2017, her M.Sc. in Microbiology at the University of Pretoria.
She recalls coming to visit her dad as a young girl with her family, when he was working on his PhD at SU. “I remember telling myself that one day I would walk on these streets as an adult, just as my father did.”
Mashudu says for her, Innovus is the best established Technology Transfer Office in the country. “My philosophy is that to be the best in any area of your life you will have to work with the best, and that is the reason I joined the team, to learn from the best and contribute to the great work being done at Innovus.”
Her career in TT started serendipitously when she was about to finish her Master's and begin exploring her career options. Her plan was to continue with a PhD because she loved being a scientist. “But there was always an inner desire to find a purposeful career beyond the lab. I was drawn to the role of TTO at the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2017, and it has been a love-long journey since then. I am forever indebted to the technology transfer office at UP, which took a chance on a young woman like me who had no prior experience in this field.”
Mashudu says she has always envisioned herself serving in a profession that aims to make an impact on people's lives, and that is the essence of TT. “It ensures that the impact of research is maximized and that the ordinary citizen benefits, while it amplifies researchers’ hard work for the society. As a TT professional, you never live the same day twice, you are always learning, and that keeps it interesting for me.”
She believes it is vital that a technology transfer office exists in the University, as it is a tool to ensure that the vision of SU is achieved. “As stated in Stellenbosch University’s vision, the university seeks to be an innovative university and to advance knowledge in service of society – TT is one of the main vehicles for this vision to be realised. A research-intensive university will require a channel to ensure that the research output is translated and impacts the community at large.”
She is passionate about institutions of higher learning and fascinated with universities achieving mechanisms for fifth-stream income, which is simply activities that a university conducts beyond teaching and research to sustain itself. “I look forward to observing and learning how Stellenbosch University achieves this mission. I am also excited about my new role because of the calibre of people I will be working with, including learning from Anita Nel who has made such great contributions in the TT space within South Africa.”
On a personal note, Mashudu would like to kickstart her fitness life again by hiking and hopefully start running once more – she is hoping to run the Two Oceans Marathon in 2024. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and visiting cute coffee shops, and the Western Cape has a plethora of those.
Innovus, Stellenbosch University
15 De Beer Street
PO Box 3135
t +27 (0) 21 808 3826