Technology transfer models of universities and public research organisations in South Africa: changes before and after the IPR-PFRD Act of 2008
Growing recognition exists in developing countries that technology transfer from public research organisations to the private sector should be part of a long-term strategy that encourages a culture of innovation, technological learning, as well as stimulating the commercialisation of technological innovations. With the same aim as the Bayh-Dole Act (1980), almost twenty-eight years later, the South African government published the Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development (IPR-PFRD) Act (Act 51 of 2008). The rationale for the IPR-PFRD Act lies in the widely held view that a more frequent and faster rate of transfer of technologies developed in universities or public research organisations (PROs) to the private sector can significantly accelerate national or regional technological innovation. In this regard, the IPR-PFRD Act explicitly requires designated institutions to establish a TTO. However, even prior to the IPR-PFRD Act, some institutions established TTOs, while some institutions established TTOs after the IPR-PFRD Act was enabled. This study, amongst other aspects, provides overview of the TTO models used in South Africa and investigates the successes of TTOs at universities and PROs, emphasising the nature of their activities and their performance after the introduction of the Act in 2008.