After two years of a studying a Chemistry Masters at the University of Cape Town (2008-2010), I have come to the conclusion that the partnership between universities and industry is both weak and underutilized.
Our society is facing enormous daily challenges, which with substantial input from the academic world (Masters students), can be dramatically reduced and can improve lives. For instance, research focused on chronic diseases could be accelerated significantly if companies, interested in designing drugs used actual university research, whether it be for Malaria, Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis or HIV/Aids.
Without the support of companies, both financially and from a resource and marketing perspective, much beneficial research will be lost to society. It is time for the South African academic and business worlds to work closer together with the aim of improving confidence and trust between them to benefit society as a whole.
Do you know of any working examples where local academic research is being applied in the ‘real world’ to make a difference? Or are there international models that can be replicated in South Africa to help shift the status quo?