Non-STEM research commercialisation should be given more attention: here’s why

This led to the launch of an bold collaboration and mastering platform in 2021, the Innovation for African Universities, with a mandate to assistance universities in making their entrepreneurship ecosystems by setting up the required sources, constructions, and policies, working in partnership with United kingdom universities and industry companions.

The IAU has been implemented in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa via partnerships with United kingdom establishments, achieving around 7,000 beneficiaries.

On the back of this, a report analyze on the mapping of the South Africa community universities innovation ecosystem, has exposed that the commercialisation of non-STEM investigate outputs is an place that is generally dismissed or unexploited inside the majority of South African universities.

The mapping research was commissioned by Universities’ South Africa beneath the Entrepreneurship Enhancement in Greater Schooling initiative, supported by the British Council as a strategic lover and executed by Oxentia, Uk-based mostly innovation management and technology commercialisation consultancy as a supply husband or wife concerning 2021 and early 2022.

The results indicated that the South African innovation ecosystem is a somewhat effectively developed, quickly shifting landscape, with pockets of excellence and superior follow, and massive opportunity to lead to economic expansion through university exploration commercialisation activities.

As encouraging as this seems, commercialisation of humanities, arts and social science investigation was claimed to be a missing piece in the latest investigate commercialisation puzzle!

The report offered a established of recommendations for a few audiences – federal government, universities, and other supporting entities to promote commercialisation and influence technology from investigate outputs. Just one of the tips to the supporting entities was to stimulate and guidance Humanities, Arts and Social Science study commercialisation.

Why shift the concentration to HASS analysis commercialisation:

1. Growing unemployment costs and other similar financial and social worries phone for a radical shift in how investigate is conceptualised and executed, affect technology should not be optional, analysis must be executed with the purpose of contributing to societal impact.

2. Equipping pupils and researchers with the abilities to upscale non-STEM associated research outputs to solutions, solutions, and organizations could substantially maximize the technology of SDG-aligned research outputs with not just mental benefit, but economic and social benefit as perfectly.

3. Reworking graduates into work creators and not just career seekers needs a aim on all disciplines, not just STEM.

In the South African community universities innovation ecosystem mapping study, we administered a survey which confirmed that most universities had set up programs, mechanisms, and processes in their establishments to guidance STEM investigate commercialisation.

Commercialisation of Humanities, Arts and Social Science Analysis on the other hand was not typical. This was thanks to several factors such as absence of non-STEM investigate in some institutions, a lack of knowledge on how to commercialise non-STEM analysis outputs and non-STEM investigation being accomplished, but not observed as a priority.

British Council-led initiative created in reaction to these gaps

In response to the examine results, the British Council, with assist from Universities’ South Africa, Entrepreneurship Advancement in Higher Education and learning system and the Human Sciences Investigation Council, spearheaded a pilot initiative.

The Strengthening Commercialisation Skills system aims to upskill academics from non-STEM disciplines, and technological innovation transfer experts with the abilities needed to catalyse and promote the commercialisation of research.

“The secondary aim of the plan is to unlock opportunities for Uk and South Africa academics”

The secondary intention of the system is to unlock alternatives for British isles and South Africa lecturers and technological know-how transfer experts to collaborate to advance non-STEM study commercialisation.

Seven pairs of academics and engineering transfer gurus were being recruited through a aggressive procedure that necessary them to display that they experienced a undertaking, idea or exploration that experienced probable to be scaled up for influence or could be commercialised.

By a digital schooling and mentorship software, individuals could trade information on commercialising non-STEM investigation outputs, culminating in a 5-day household application that took put in the Uk just lately, in February 2023.

We preferred to bring alongside one another a dynamic group with different levels of expertise. We understood the education and mentorship facets could have been sent by using ZOOM or Teams, but required to guarantee the dynamic application designed the most of networking and immersion in the ecosystems of Cambridge and Oxford universities. It offered:

1. awareness trade with like-minded colleagues with the identical expertise in HASS, even so from a United kingdom context.

2. Immersion in some of the British isles ecosystems

3. Strengthening of collaborations among Tech transfer functionality and academics

In the coming months, as an output of the pilot task, a established of contextualised tips for the Commercialisation of non-STEM analysis applicable to the Sub-Saharan Africa context will be released.

In addition, a established of prepare the trainer workshops and dissemination situations will be delivered by the contributors to share their know-how and go on the advocacy function inside their establishments.

About the writer: Meekness Lunga is senior regional programme manager for Greater Education and learning – SSA at British Council.