Researchers score with patent incentive paybacks

31 January 2008 | Story by Helen Théron

Prof Ed Rybicki is among the researchers rewarded by the Innovation Fund for patents granted

Fifteen UCT researchers from the health sciences, science, and the engineering and the built environment faculties have benefited from a collective R232 000, awarded by the Innovation Fund for South African patents granted in 2006.

The money is an incentive to encourage researchers to file patents.

Research Contracts & Intellectual Property Services (RCIPS) apply annually on behalf of UCT inventors. Individuals receive between R8 000 and R20 000, depending on the number of inventors associated with each patent.

UCT also received more than R280 000 from the Innovation Fund's Patent Support Fund, which supports tertiary institutions in their IP protection endeavors. This is a 50% refund of expenses UCT incurred for the protection of intellectual property.

The beneficiaries are Emeritus Associate Prof Richard Loewenthal, Dr Barak Morgan, Prof Ed Rybicki, Dr Arvind Varsani, Dr Fred Nicolls, Bernard Osstendorp, Gordon Forbes, Glen Heinrich, Prof Margit Harting, Assoc Prof David Britton, Emeritus Prof Gerhard de Jager, Douglas Hatfield, Associate Prof Dee Bradshaw, Jerome Francis and Sameer Morar.

Among others, their inventions target the treatment of acidic mine drainage water, the human papilloma virus, semi conductors, and the recovery of minerals by froth flotation.

Assoc. Prof. Vernon Coyne, Dr Brett Macey and Dr Kim ten Doeschate of the Molecular and Cell Biology research group also received R60 000 for their patent for probiotics that they developed to speed up the growth and reduce mortalities of farmed abalone.

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