Government links innovators and business

Government is trying to close the gap between innovation and businesses, with the introduction of the “innovation bridge”.

Tuesday marks day one of South Africa’s first “innovation bridge” in Pretoria, a Department of Science and Technology event to match-make innovators with business.

While a lot of innovation and research & development (R&D) takes place in South Africa, little of this makes its way onto the market or into companies.

Government, through the National Research Foundation, universities and research councils, is the major funder of R&D in the country, but often these developments stay in the laboratory, due to a lack of venture capital, difficulties faced by start-ups or industry ignorance.

“The [innovation bridge], which is the first-of-its-kind in South Africa, is intended to exhibit publicly funded technology innovation and create matchmaking opportunities for technology developers, financiers, funders and technology users,” Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said on Monday, ahead of the event.

“Knowledge is the currency of the global economy. If South Africa wants to continue to compete in the 21st century, we must support research and innovation that will generate growth and jobs, now and in the future.”

But the 2010 ministerial review into the science technology and innovation landscape, published in 2012, spoke of a fragmented research-scape, in which there was little communication between government, academia and industry and that, as a result, there was a lack of co-ordination, agenda-setting and prioritisation…

Read the rest of this article on mg.co.za, where it was originally published.

For more about #innovationBridge, visit http://innovationbridge.org.za/.slide6

Sarah Wild

Sarah Wild is an award-winning science journalist. She studied physics, electronics and English literature at Rhodes University in an effort to make herself unemployable. It didn't work and she is now the Science Editor at the Mail&Guardian. Sarah writes about particle physics, cosmology and everything in between. In 2012, she published her first full-length non-fiction book Searching African Skies: The Square Kilometre Array and South Africa’s Quest to Hear the Songs of the Stars. In 2013, she was awarded overall winner of the Pan-African Siemens Profile Awards for excellence in science journalism.

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