NEPAD SANBio, with support from the BioFISA II Programme, hosted their Annual Event on 21-22 February 2017 at the OR Tambo Conference Centre in Boksburg, South Africa. The theme of the event was Business meets Biosciences.
The annual event consisted of plenary sessions and Davos style discussions on the emerging trends in human health, animal health and nutrition with regional stakeholders in an effort to support and promote innovations in these thematic areas. The event provided a platform for stakeholders to engage with each other directly during the event. The event also included discussions on funding opportunities, and in the evening of 21st the FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme, aimed at boosting female bioentrepreneurship was launched.
The delegates attending the event included stakeholders from the private sector, universities and research institutions, SADC country funding councils, industry associations, donor organisations in the region, NGOs, as well as numerous innovators and venture capitalists.
The focus of the session on diagnostics on Tuesday 21 February was on key regulatory issues, including industry engagement with regulators and industry expectations of regulatory processes, as well as key challenges for the medical devices and diagnostics sector. Other discussion items included trends in medical technology, innovation, regional manufacturing and issues regarding supply-chain integrity.
On the second day of the event, opportunities in the nutrition sector for SMMEs and innovators were in the spotlight. Further discussions revolved around challenges related to value addition, supply chain issues related to beneficiation and agro-processing and introduction of new products.
“What especially stands out is that the event managed to bring together regional partners and regional member countries that are facilitating collaborative research and innovation. It was quite exciting to see the collaborative projects being pitched and, looking at the linkages between academia, private sector, local communities, the positive outcome is that the platform facilitated networking, created a platform for sharing experiences, but foremost of all did well in promoting regional collaboration,” remarked Ms Anneline Morgan, SADC Senior Technical Advisor for Science Technology and Innovation.
The showcased projects, some of them already award-winning, are poised to have a positive impact on the region. The interactions between academia and already established entrepreneurs during the event show promise of increased and enhanced collaboration between the sectors in the future, resulting in more concretised outcomes of R&D.
The image gallery for the event can be found here.