About the Strengthening Commercialization Skills (SCS) programme 

Against the backdrop of high unemployment rates, especially for young South Africans, universities in South Africa have an opportunity to contribute to economic growth and positively influence change in youth employment levels by preparing and equipping their students and graduates to develop businesses, services, and products. In addition to the translation of academic research outputs for the benefit of the wider society, commercialisation of research presents a pathway to economic growth in South Africa e.g., through setting up new businesses, therefore providing employment opportunities which maximizes the impact of research outputs. 

The British Council, University South Africa (USAf) and Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) have joined forces to launch the pilot phase of the Strengthening Commercialisation Skills (SCS) programme, a collaborative capacity strengthening initiative that was developed as a response to the recommendations from the report: 2020-2021 South Africa University Innovation Ecosystem research project of the Universities’ South Africa- Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) programme, which was supported by the British Council.

The initiative aligns with the British Council’s Innovation for African Universities (IAU) programme which focusses on fostering the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within universities in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of the Going Global Partnerships programme. In this first cohort, the programme has focussed on maximising the outputs from Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, with the view to including Science Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) aspects in subsequent phases. The SCS programme has been designed and delivered by Oxentia, an innovation management and technology commercialisation consultancy that started in 2004 as an operating division within Oxford University Innovation Ltd, the world leading technology transfer company of the University of Oxford. 

Oxentia has been a convener and leader in the field of social sciences, arts & humanities innovation, and commercialisation since 2016, currently programme managing the Aspect network and supporting universities and researchers globally, through a variety of projects, in developing skills and awareness of the impact that can be generated from these research areas. 

The long term aims of this project are to upskill academics and technology transfer professionals in the commercialisation of research outputs, and to raise awareness about the different possible pathways to generate impact from these disciplines, to increase research commercialisation outputs in the sector and unlock new opportunities for collaboration for both UK and SA universities.