Fredrick Matongo brings home the DST - SARIMA Award
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Mr. Fredrick Matongo, IP & Innovation Manager of the Innovation Office, Fort Hare, won the 2017 Department of Science and Technology - SARIMA Award for Professional Excellence in Innovation Management at the SARIMA (Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association) Gala dinner last week in Windhoek, Namibia.

The award recognises individuals who have made an increasingly broad contribution to their organisation and the Innovation Management profession in Southern Africa in the year 2016. The University of Fort Hare’s Innovation Office was established in November 2015 with financial support from the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) of the Department of Science and Technology. Mr Matongo is responsible for developing the strategy and vision for the Innovation Office which aligns with the university mandate; development and implementation of appropriate effective systems, policies and procedures to ensure that intellectual property (IP) emanating from the research and development (R&D) activities of UFH is commercialised.

 

The mandate of the Innovation Office is to contribute to social and economic development of the country through the translation of research outputs from the different faculties of the university into useful, commercial products and services that meet market and societal needs. The office does this through protection and commercialisation of intellectual property that is generated from the university’s R&D activities.

 

With innovation now as one of UFH’s core transformative values, this means we acknowledge as UFH the key challenges in our society, the problems in industry and this symbolises our commitment to create forward-thinking solutions to overcome these challenges. The Innovation Office therefore exists to support the researchers’ innovation efforts, nurture creativity and support the development of scholars who can address the challenges of today and the world of tomorrow.

 

 

Photo courtesy of SARIMA

Mr. Fredrick Matongo (middle), receiving the 2017 DST-SARIMA award from Deputy Director-General of Department of Science and Technology (DST) Mr. Muofhe (left) and Dr. Jose Jackson-Malete, SARIMA President (right)

Mr Matongo first came to UFH as a first year student in 2006, after graduating with a Masters in Biochemistry from UFH in 2012, he started his Technology Transfer career as a Technology Commercialisation Practitioner under the CHUMA Programme offered by Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) from 2012 - 2014. In late 2014, he was appointed as Projects Officer for the Innovation Office of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). In this role, he was responsible for the coordination of NMMU’s intellectual property-related projects and supporting commercialisation of specific projects in the intellectual property (IP) portfolio. In late 2015, he came back to UFH in a different role now, to establish a fully-fledged technology transfer function at UFH that will ensure the institution unlocks its full potential for intellectual property (IP) generation and exploitation.

Photo courtesy of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM)

Mr. Fredrick Matongo (left), receiving the 2016 Developing Economies Scholarship award from the former President of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Dr. Fred Reinhart (right) 

 

In 2016, he was awarded the Developing Economies Scholarship by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), based in Chicago in the United States which recognises the hard work and successes achieved by technology transfer professionals across the globe. AUTM formally honoured his accomplishment at the Awards Ceremony during the 2016 AUTM Annual Meeting in San Diego (California).

 

“The office is closing the gap where our researchers with remarkable research findings with huge commercial and societal impact did not know how to translate their research outputs and realise this impact. The office is therefore on a huge drive to create awareness on knowledge valorisation and giving technical support to ensure our researchers’ innovations see the light of day. The UFH community is receiving our knowledge transfer initiatives enthusiastically, from researchers to top management and thus has so far laid the foundation for great success”, said Matongo. He added that with innovation now one of the university’s core values in the Strategic Plan (2017-2021), his office should be unleashing the creativity of the entire research community and getting them excited about innovation and the creation of valuable intellectual property from their various research activities. “I believe once this happens, every researcher becomes part of an internal movement to launch UFH into a whole new space pushing the frontiers of innovation”.

 

Matongo believes as part of the university’s commitment to innovation, the university should begin its second century with actively driving innovation in Alice, Bhisho and East London, in alignment with the local, provincial and national priorities in order to address the challenges facing our people. “This Professional Excellence Award is also a boost to the identity of our office and the calibre of the team that is supporting innovation on this turn of a new century. We will continue to consolidate forces through our team and the university management to ensure our researchers’ knowledge products hit the market thus building a great portfolio that will put the university on the map”, he concluded.