Siya now one of those people who are doing “amazing” things
Siya Tetyana is one of the new faces you will see when Innovus’s Technology Transfer Office, working with as part of the TTO team on managing and commercialising Intellectual Property (IP) emanating from Stellenbosch University.
Her career started in 2017 as a B.Sc. chemistry graduate, enrolled for an Honours degree in chemistry, when the company who gave her a bursary, Armscor, asked her if she was interested in pursuing a career in IP law. As an IP specialist trainee within the Research and Development (R&D) and IP management division, her divisional head also required that she enrols (?) for an LLB qualification as a pre-requisite for this role. She didn’t see herself starting another four-year degree from scratch, so Siya immediately declined the offer, but became intrigued by what this role entailed.
“I realised these people were doing amazing things,” she said. “Taking the stuff that nerds like me do in the lab, protecting it, and translating it into products that can be used by people to improve lives, is just amazing.”
Siya says as an undergrad, she was often troubled by the fact that most of the amazing things done by chemists and physicists never really reached the market or the people. This role at Armscor was an opportunity for her to learn how to do that. “I dropped out of my Chemistry Honours class, pursued a career in IP management and tech transfer at Armscor, and enrolled for my LLB. Looking back, I am thankful that I had the courage to start.”
Despite being a very busy mom to her daughter Uvile, she is also enrolled for her LLM at Unisa.
Siya describes technology transfer as “the vehicle that transports IP from its dull and static protected form to the promised land of societal impact, economic development and I dare say - the Wakanda Africa depicted in Marvel’s Black Panther movie”.
Why did she decide to join Stellenbosch University and the Innovus team? Siya says Innovus is known as the best TTO in South Africa, and with her background, knowledge, and expertise, it is the right place to be. “The strong leadership of the Innovus team also gave me confidence from a career perspective.”
“Stellenbosch University is a leading institution, with also the biggest patent portfolio. I believe diligent and successful tech transfer at SU will set the trend and convict the other institutions and universities to aspire to our standards of tech transfer excellence.”
Coming from the CSIR, where technology transfer and technology commercialization is done predominantly through licensing, the use of the spinout method at Innovus is particularly exciting to Siya because start-ups and entrepreneurs are dear to her heart, she says.
On a personal note, Siya says the kitchen is my playroom. “I enjoy making hearty meals and baking goodies that bring flavour and tastiness to my life.”
Her hobby is being a mom “and researching all the ways I can do it better”. “I adore my bundle of joy that I have been gifted with and doing it with grace.”
Innovus, Stellenbosch University
15 De Beer Street
PO Box 3135
t +27 (0) 21 808 3826