CSIR sets up ‘special-purpose’ tech entity

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 25 Oct 2023
CSIR CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini.
CSIR CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has launched an enterprise unit to drive all aspects of its technology commercialisation.

CSIR C3, pronounced as CSIR C-Cubed, aims to accelerate the pace and increase the scale of the commercialisation of the organisation’s technologies and intellectual property (IP).

According to a CSIR statement, the standalone entity will hold all CSIR IP and act as an incubator for start-up enterprises, underpinned by strong technical and non-financial support. It aims to enable the commercialisation of CSIR IP through the development of a network of investors and entrepreneurs.

CSIR board chairperson Vuyani Jarana comments that the CSIR has developed many technologies and products that are ready to be de-risked, scaled up and taken to market.

“The establishment of CSIR C3 is an important turning point for the CSIR. As an excellent research development and innovation organisation, for close to 80 years, the CSIR has sustained a track record of contributing to industrial development through the development of technologies that improve the performance and competitiveness of existing industrial products, processes and services.

“Some of these technologies require funding to take the final step towards commercialisation, while others are ready to be taken up by the market.”

According to the research organisation, the CSIR C3’s model and approach was informed by global best practices and draw on valuable lessons learnt. The model will not operate in isolation and is set to address some CSIR commercialisation challenges, as well as address SA’s industrialisation challenges.

The new entity is intended to enhance the CSIR’s efforts to drive industrialisation within the South African economy, with the aim to catalyse the reindustrialisation of SA by establishing new technology-based enterprises.

To this end, the CSIR says it has raised R100 million as an initial investment in the commercialisation enterprise to de-risk CSIR technologies to improve market readiness.

CSIR CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini notes the commercialisation enterprise will seize the opportunity to monetise the organisation’s IP at a greater scale and pace to achieve impact.

“The decision to establish a standalone special-purpose technology commercialisation company was driven by the necessity to work with industry and accelerate the commercialisation of the intellectual property that the organisation generates.

“Through this initiative, we will collaborate with various partners to create innovation-based companies, to support the reindustrialisation of our economy.”

Dlamini adds that the entity will unlock new opportunities for the CSIR and industry partners to collaborate in developing and commercialising technologies in SA and abroad.

“The CSIR technology commercialisation enterprise will be creating value for different stakeholders in a multi-faceted way, with the main aim of contributing to the economic growth of SA, and to the number of direct and indirect jobs created in industry – in keeping with the national imperatives and, notably, the Decadal Plan on Science, Technology and Innovation,” he concludes.