The South African Medical Research Council (MRC) is a health research council which was established with a mandate to promote the improvement of the health and quality of life of the population of the South Africa through research, development and technology transfer. The MRC carries out its mandate by discovering solutions to health problems through excellent scientific research conducted by its highly qualified researchers. The MRC’s research strategic areas include, amongst others HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Cancer, Public Health Research, Health Promotion, African Traditional Medicines, Nutrition, etc. The MRC also provides crucial information at many levels, providing decision-makers in Government with policy recommendations on various health issues. The MRC’s Innovation Centre (Innovation Centre) is responsible for the managing and commercializing the Intellectual Property emanating from the MRC’s research. The Innovation Centre has uniquely qualified individuals with a lot of experience in the technology transfer and intellectual property issues. The Innovation Centre formulated the MRC’s intellectual property (IP) policy and implements this policy in line with the national policies and legislation. The Innovation Centre also provides comments and recommendations on the new national legislation or amendments to existing legislation relating to intellectual property and technology transfer issues, including amendments to the Patents Act, Biodiversity Act (Access and Benefit Sharing issues), IP Rights Bill on Publicly Funded Institutions, etc. The members of the Innovation Centre form part of the local and international technology transfer communities. On the local front, the Innovation Centre members are part of the local technology transfer community organized through SARIMA (a professional association) which focuses on sharing experience on issues of IP commercialization and addressing common difficulties in the technology transfer environment. Internationally, the Innovation Centre members are part of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and the Licensing Executives Society (LES) and have taken part in the activities of these organizations. The Innovation Centre therefore, has a good understanding of the local and international IP/Technology transfer situation and will be able to add a lot of value to the research proposal. In commercializing the MRC’s intellectual property, the Innovation Centre constantly interacts with the local and international biotechnology industry and understands the needs of the industry.
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