1. Purpose of the Programme
The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) have established the Expert-in-Residence (EiR) Programme. The EiR programme aims to enable Technology Transfer Offices from South African public higher education and research institutions to access support from consultants in various fields. The objectives of the programme are:
1.1. to develop capacity in technology commercialisation: support skills development; enhance the experience of TTO personnel and researchers in technology commercialisation.
1.2. to accelerate technology commercialisation efforts at research institutions: EiRs will apply their skills, experience and networks to evaluate and move technology commercialisation opportunities further along the innovation value chain.
2. Funded Interventions
There are 3 proposed interventions. Please consider the needs of your TTO and develop an appropriate programme based on the proposed interventions. We understand however that some changes and amendment may be necessary with the current COVID-19 lockdown. Consider what activities may be possible and effectively achieved with online and video platforms. If, however, face-to-face interventions are necessary please consider the timeframes for these activities. We expect successful applicants to utilize funds within 6-12 months.
The proposed interventions are:
2.1 Resident EiR
This is where the EiR will be at the TTO on a full-time basis for a period of up to three months.
The TTO must have a clear plan as to the specific outputs and improvements that would be expected to be achieved in the proposed timeframe. Again, TTOs should consider how this intervention would be implemented with current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
- The consultant could be contracted for a normal 8-hour day.
- The consultant could alternatively be contracted on a more flexible daily arrangement where only part of the day is spent at the TTO office.
- It is possible that a larger corporate may be prepared to release one of its senior staff members for a mini-sabbatical and to top up the person’s salary as part of their corporate social responsibility programme. Page 2 of 4 If the EiR requires accommodation and travel, an indicative budget must be proposed. TTOs are advised to consider available university accommodation or other support mechanisms to ensure that the subsistence and travel cost represent is good value for money.
2.2 Block EiR
The Block EiR would involve the EiR spending blocks of time at the TTO during the engagement. It is likely that this mode of operation will be the easiest in terms of sourcing an EiR, especially where the EiR and TTO are not located in the same city.
Workshops can be held with the TTO to work through the portfolio and also to inform researchers about the market and route to market that is involved. Whilst the EiR is away from the TTO s/he can still engage with the team via Skype and also work on specific commercialisation projects.
A potential engagement could involve three four-day blocks at the TTO and 20 hours of work by the consultant between the blocks at their own premises (i.e. 2 x 20h = 40h).
The extent of the interaction and contact time would be influenced by the number of technologies that were involved.
2.3 Sector / Regional EiR
The option of appointing a Sector-specific or Regional EiR is a useful model for engagement. In this case TTO’s from different institutions that may have similar capacity development needs, or have a related portfolio of technologies may wish to work together. They may engage a consultant to work with several offices at the same time. Clear work plans and deliverables for each institution should be stipulated. This would also likely be more cost-effective where the consultant needs to travel from their home base. Budgets would be similar to those indicated above, but shared across two or more institutions.
3. Budget guidelines
The budget may include expenses for expert fees, accommodation and flights. Domestic travel in economy class may be budgeted for and can be utilised if allowed during prevailing COVID-19 lockdown measures. Proposals should detail costs associated with travel and accommodation. TTO’s should seek best value for these services.
The total budget should not exceed R250 000.
4. Application process
TTOs should develop project proposals and submit their applications through the Survey Monkey link that is provided. We are unable to process applications in any other format. A PDF version of the application form is provided only as an example to assist with preparation of the submission. TTOs that wish to work together as per 2.3 should develop combined proposals.
Applications must be submitted by 14 September 2020.
5. Selection of EiRs
SARIMA has already published a call for EiRs to provide their details if they are interested in providing services. If TTOs wish to access this database to select an appropriate EiR, please send an email to Zimasa Sobuza(email@example.com).
However, if TTOs have a particular expert that they wish to work with, please ensure the details are captured on the SARIMA EIR database by following this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/35QQDVT
- EiRs need to be seasoned entrepreneurs or sector/industry-specific experts with a demonstrated track-record of identifying and assessing specific commercialisation opportunities; developing appropriate go-to-market strategies; and implementing novel business models.
- The person should have strong networks locally, but where necessary internationally also.
- The EiR should be able to identify and facilitate linkages with other entrepreneurs and potential commercialisation partners/ licensees.
- The EiR is not just an advisor or mentor; the person needs to actively work on a portfolio/project to accelerate it towards commercialisation while being a role model and hands on guide for the staff in the office who need to better understand how the process works. Clear targets and deliverables should be set when contracting with the EiR.
6. Evaluation of Applications
The applications submitted by TTOs will be assessed by a panel composed of members from the SARIMA IP and TT portfolio committee, SARIMA secretariat, and other experts as required.
Some of the criteria that the applications will be assessed on include:
- Clear description of the needs of the TTO and how the EiR programme will assist
- Design of the EiR programme with details of specific outputs and potential for impact
- Realistic targets and timeframes
- The relevance of experience of the proposed expert that has been identified
- Realistic budget and value for money
- Preference will be given to TTOs that were established after the implementation of the IPR Act
- Preference will be given to TTOs where staff do not have prior industry experience and can show that this intervention will significantly enhance their capacity and industry interaction.
7. Reporting and Monitoring and Evaluation
A report will be required from each awardee indicating the impact of the intervention on:
- Technologies progressed along the innovation value chain/TRLs
- Development of TTO personnel – number and type of intervention
- Development of researchers – number and type of intervention
- Challenges and note-worthy successes
- Lessons learnt and recommendations for future programmes
A separate, short report should also be provided by the Expert on the start and end status, identified next steps and recommendations for each technology.
8. Summary of documents mentioned in the call and contact person
Click on the following links to access:
Feel free to contact Zimasa Sobuza (I&TT Project Manager): firstname.lastname@example.org for queries.
If required, we will host an online meeting to deal with queries.
Applications must be submitted by 14 September 2020