Stellenbosch was not the only scene of a significant South African hi-tech launch on Friday. The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), set up by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) was launched by Minister Naledi Pandor at the Midrand Conference Centre in Johannesburg.
TIA was formed from a merger of seven DST funded organisations namely, Advanced manufacturing Techno logy Strategy (AMTS), BioPAD, Cape Biotech, Innovation Fund, LIFElab, PlantBio and Tshumisano. TIA is mandated to stimulate and intensify technological innovation in order to improve economic growth and the quality of life of all South Africans. To this end, TIA is set up to be a world class innovation agency that supports and enables technological innovation to achieve socio-economic benefits for South Africa through leveraging strategic partnerships.
The board of directors of TIA is led by Dr Mamphela Ramphele, and recently Mr Simphiwe Duma was appointed as Chief Executive Officer.
“The establishment of TIA is part of the Department of Science and Technology’s ten-year innovation plan to stimulate intensify and consolidate technological innovation efforts in order to contribute to economic growth and the quality of life of all South Africans. It is therefore important for TIA to ensure that the resources used in the pursuit of innovation have a positive social impact on the people of this country,” says Mr Simphiwe Duma CEO of TIA.
“Within TIA there is a wealth of human and knowledge resources that will enable us to deliver on our mandate. It is up to use them to ensure that we are prudent and innovative in order to optimise all ours assets,’ he continues.
The services that TIA provides include,
– Innovation financing which incorporates seed, first and second stage funding for the commercialisation of technology based products and services;
– Promotion of domestic and foreign investment linkages;
– technology development including technical and advisory services; technological and enterprise expertise
– Capacity building – institutional and human capital development
TIA has prioritized the following sectors of focus: health, manufacturing, agriculture, industrial biotechnology, mining and information communications technology.
TIA seeks to establish international networks and partnerships to promote access to international Science, Technology and Innovation resources and leverage these to enhance South African human capital, knowledge, access to international research networks and attract global research facilities to benefit the National System of Innovation.
In this regard, the TIA pursues relationships with industry, government, academia and development agencies locally and internationally to effectively deliver value to society through skills transfer to the National System of Innovation, technology development and commercialisation. Key strategic partnerships will include local and international organisations that operate in similar spaces as the TIA, particularly in the areas of technology funding, development and commercialization.
TIA currently operates in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and recently the Eastern Cape. It is envisaged that as TIA grows, there will be regional presence in the rest of the country.
While having realigned certain areas of investment and funding, TIA will continue to support projects that are in line with the organisational mandate. Several projects from the previous entities will continue to receive support from TIA. In this way TIA will build on the successes of these entities.