Innovation agency board appointed

10 July 2009

The board of South Africa’s Technology Innovation Agency, a new public body to stimulate the development of technology-based products and services in the country, has been appointed.

Announcing the members of the board in Johannesburg this week, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said the agency would use South Africa’s science and technology base to develop new industries, create sustainable jobs, and help move the country from a commodity-based to a knowledge-based economy.

The agency will eventually incorporate the existing Innovation Fund, Biotechnology Regional Innovation Centres (BRICs), and Tshumisano Trust, a Department of Science and Technology agency that provides support for Technology Stations based at the country’s universities of technology.

It will also build on capacity that exists in the department’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy implementation unit, and Advanced Minerals Initiative.

Dr Ramphele Mamphele, former vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town and former managing director of the World Bank, will be the agency’s chairperson.

Board members include Peotona chairperson Cheryl Carolus; SA Veterinary Council member Dr Steven Cornelius; Cape Biotechnology Trust board chairperson Prof Susan Harrison; SA Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology president Nhlanhla Msomi; and legal expert Alan Lax.

Other members include CKS investments Unisys Africa director Dr Patrick Ngwenya; South Africa Bioproducts chairperson Ross Norton; Altech CEO Craig Venter; and Helen Brow, senior project manager at the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Sector Education Training Authority.

R720-million has been allocated to the Technology Innovation Agency for 2009/2010.

Source: BuaNews