Wednesday, 27 January 2010

CPUT facilitates launch of Western Cape Regional Innovation Forum


CPUT, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, local industry and various tertiary institutions within the Western Cape recently launched the Western Cape Regional Innovation Forum at the Breakwater Lodge, V&A Waterfront.

The Forum, the theme of which was ‘Innovation through Cooperation’, has been developed to activate the Regional Innovation System (RIS) by facilitating a comprehensive engagement of Western Cape businesses, institutions and government (collectively known as Triple Helix stakeholders).

The Forum will provide a unique opportunity to network, cement and exchange opportunity and know-how as a contribution to both regional and national innovation.

This collaboration and networking among the Triple Helix stakeholders is critical for economic growth and wealth creation, particularly in the advent of Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the new IPR Act 51 of 2008. The latter encourages universities to manage their intellectual assets appropriately. Academically it is also important for local universities to establish linkages with industry to bridge the innovation chasm.

Welcoming the guests, CPUT Vice-Chancellor Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga, mentioned that CPUT has been asked to be the coordinator of the project. She said the event marks the significance of how the problems relating to health, poverty, unemployment, and service can be solved through collaboration and partnerships. Prof Mazwi-Tanga said there was a strong correlation between innovation and economic growth.

Marjorie Pyoos, Deputy Director General at the DST, said CPUT played a significant role in mobilising institutions in the Western Cape. She drew an analogy to Finland, which is dependent on forestry but became a key role player in the world economy because people are seeking innovative solutions.

Pyoos said the recent economic recession should not be seen only as negative but also as a challenge to reverse our situation and grow economy. She said the people of Finland came up with technological ideas.

Piet Barnard, Director of the Technology Transfer Office at the University of Cape Town, said they were getting 60% of foreign funding for research from local government, NGO, and national government.

Among the other people who spoke at the launch were Shamil Isaacs of the CPUT Clothing and Textile Technology Station, Phindile Tshabangu from the University of Stellenbosch and Khalid Khan from the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. Their presentations showcased strategies, opportunities and possible collaborations within the Triple Helix stakeholders. There were also group discussions on strategic implementation of these activities.

During his vote of thanks, Dr Chris Nhlapo, CPUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships, thanked everyone who attended the forum and reminded the guests that 55% of all National Research Foundation (NRF) ‘A’ rated researchers come from the Western Cape.

By Thami Nkwanyane

Photograph: Prof Anthony Staak, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic (CPUT); Marjorie Pyoos, Deputy Director General (Department of Science and Technology); Dr Chris Nhlapo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships (CPUT); Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga, CPUT Vice-Chancellor, and Khalid Khan, Deputy Director: Workforce Development and Innovation (Department of Economic Development and Tourism) attend the launch of the Western Cape Regional Innovation Forum on 18 December 2009.

Written by CPUT News