The newly appointed Director for the Emerging and Converging Technologies at the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Mr Sechaba Tsubella and his deputy, Dr Xolani Makhoba visited the Nanotechnology group at Mintek on 20 May. The purpose of the meeting was to gain familiarity with the facilities and progress made on research, development and Innovation (RDI) and commercialisation which Mintek conducts under the DSI/NIC Nanotechnology Innovation Programme.
The two spent the day engaging with senior Mintek NIC staff on their nanotechnology programmes and a tour of the diagnostic, water, new biosensor manufacturing and material characterisation facilities.
Dr Lucky Sikhwivhilu of the Advanced Materials Division spoke on how research and development activities are used as a vehicle to offer sound solutions as a way to tackle societal challenges. He said, “While commercialisation is on the forefront in delivering impact, some research activities could also bring less tangible benefits such as gaining insights and knowledge about the market without immediate commercial application.” He further explained, “Mintek is committed to building a world-class manufacturing facility for a plethora of products ranging from smart materials to water treatment systems and diagnostic technologies aligned to health challenges of the modern world.”
Dr Jones Papo, Advanced Materials Division Manager reiterated how commercialisation activities were central to Mintek’s agenda and strategy for success. He highlighted Mintek’s attainment of the ISO: 13485:2026 accreditation and South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) licensing of the Rapid Diagnostic test manufacturing facility
He said, “The strategy is to ensure that intellectual property created through research, development and product design is protected.”
Tsubella acknowledged Mintek’s efforts to intensify commercialisation of R&D. and NIC partnership with research institutions and industry to bring R&D out of the labs and into the marketplace. He further encouraged the NIC to also play a role in the District Development Model implemented by the DSI. ‘” I am satisfied and excited about the progress made thus far, holding nothing back when it comes to pledging continuous support for the DSI/Mintek NIC”.