Innovations in Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics: Profiling Dr. Anita Louize Burger

Dr. Anita Louize Burger is a biotechnologist by training with extensive technical and management experience in the technology innovation and commercialisation of biotechnology-related products and processes. She obtained a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Stellenbosch in 2004 on the “Isolation and characterisation of a developmentally-regulated gene from Vitis vinifera (grapevine) berries”.

Her work experience to date was mainly in the agricultural (seventeen years as researcher and project manager for the Agricultural Research Council) and industrial biotechnology sectors (four years as portfolio manager for the Technology Innovation Agency), covering an array of research and product development projects in plant, yeast, industrial and health biotechnology. She has a keen interest in the aspects critical to the successful commercialisation of innovation.  Her passion is to provide technical and business support to technology developers, entrepreneurs, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises to fully develop and successfully commercialise South African innovative technologies.

Currently Dr. Burger is working as a Research and Innovation Manager at the Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics (IMBM) at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. She is responsible for the development of an innovation strategy to develop microbial-derived products, processes or services which can be translated into commercial opportunities for national and international enterprises and industries.

She notes that the strategy includes the strategic alignment of research initiatives with enterprises and industry: “There is a need to move the focus from a ‘technology push’ to a ‘market pull’. The establishment of collaborations and partnerships with national and international enterprises and industries to provide them suitable, financially viable and competitive technology solutions is also vital. Sourcing appropriate resources to support innovation and product, process, or service development must also be emphasised, and finally, interfacing with other departments and focus groups at the University and other Western-Cape Universities to identify synergies and opportunities will contribute to networking and interdisciplinary knowledge exchange.”

Her long list of professional interests include entrepreneurship, science innovation and commercialization, technology transfer, mentorship, science communication and media skills, strategic planning, business analysis, market/sector analysis, business management, investment management, intellectual property management and to co-ordinate, facilitate and network. With such a list, there is surely no shortage of ways to spend any excess time.