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SU sweeps up research and innovation management awards
Author: Division for Research Development
Published: 21/09/2020

​​Four staff members from Stellenbosch University (SU) won prestigious awards on the 6th of August 2020 for their contribution towards research and innovation management in Southern Africa at the annual DSI/SARIMA (Department of Science and Innovation/Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association) Excellence in Research and Innovation Management Awards. These awards acknowledge and encourage growth and achievement in the field of research and innovation management as a key enabler of research and innovation outputs and impact. The winners were announced at the annual SARIMA conference, held virtually between 4-6 August 2020.

Early career excellence awards

These awards recognise individuals who are relative newcomers to the professions, with less than 5 years of experience in the role. They must have demonstrated achievement within their own organisation, made improvements in processes/systems that contributed to the standing of their division. They must have shown engagement in the broader R&I Management community through involvement in relevant workshops, courses, and conferences.

Aden Williams (Research Ethics Helpdesk Officer, Division for Research Development) received the DSI-SARIMA Award for Early Career Excellence in Research Management. Aiden received the award for planning and producing a series of online tutorial videos on online applications for research ethics review, initiatives in reviewing and updating user manuals and help guides for applicants, setting up an effective helpdesk role and transforming it into an integral part of the research ethics function at SU. He is the go-to person in assisting researchers, postgraduate students and REC reviewers with navigating the REC application and review portals. Aiden also participated in the Strengthening of Collaboration, Leadership and Professionalisation in Research Management in SADC and EU Higher Education Institutions (SToRM) project, funded by the EU's Erasmus+ Programme, sharing best practices of the REC.

Camille de Villiers (Technology Transfer Officer: Innovus Technology Transfer) received the DSI-SARIMA Award for Early Career Excellence in Innovation Management. Camille has been at Innovus for close to three years. During this time, she has single-handedly proposed, fundraised and led the establishment of the SU Hackathon, which is now a permanent fixture on the SU calendar, as well as the establishment of a non-profit spin-out organisation, Stellenbosch Network, which raised an excess of R1 million for 2019/2020. She has also actively and efficiently managed the IP protection, prosecution and commercialisation of over 20 projects at Innovus in 2019. Two of these projects have entered incubation with the aim of becoming spin-out companies in the near future. Furthermore, she has made tangible contributions to the expansion of SU's Translational Fellow (TF) Programme, leading to an increase in the value of SU's innovation pipeline, while also being actively involved in SU's Entrepreneurship Roundtable (ERT), which brings together the academic and support staff from various divisions in the university.

Professional Excellence Awards

These awards recognises individuals who have been in the profession for seven years or less, making an increasing contribution to their organisation and the R&I Management community over that time. In addition to a specific contribution in the period under review, they must have demonstrated an increasingly broad contribution to the profession. This would include a specific initiative and extraordinary achievement within their own organisation, advancing the standing of their division, a tangible contribution to the development of the profession, and serving on related committees or forums.

Marilyn Sikade (Coordinator: Research Contracts, DRD) received the DSI-SARIMA Award for Professional Excellence in Research Management. Marilyn played a pivotal role in the coordination and finalization of a SU Due Diligence audit which successfully led to SU obtaining funding as a first-time recipient of UnitAid, to the value of +/- R330m. She also conducted a benchmarking study on best practices regarding due diligences by visiting several universities in the EU and actively participates in the presentation of the Research Contracts Office annual workshops, which are customized for researchers as well as for Faculty Management. More than 300 researchers has attended these workshops over the past few years.

Distinguished contribution award

This award recognises individuals who have already made distinguished contributions to the profession. A specific contribution should have been made in the period under review, but nominations are in respect of leaders in their respective fields, who are recognised beyond their organisation for their broad contribution to the profession over many years, including scholarship and mentoring activities.

Madelein Kleyn (Director: Technology Transfer, Innovus) who has been in the IP profession for more than 27 years and recently joined the technology transfer team at the University (Innovus), received the DSI-SARIMA Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Innovation Management Profession. She received the award for her impressive involvement during the established of two recent spin-off companies and its contractual negotiations and the establishment of an IP Department and Chief IP Legal Advisor and in-house Counsel for SASOL (1995); establishment of an IP and legal department in an international company as Group Manager – IP and Legal for Oro Agri International Ltd (2010). Madelein excels in balancing relationships between the TTO, faculties and external partners. In the term under review she arranged events for World IP Day for LES and SU; arranged and presented various technology transfer courses. She serves in various committees: LES (License Executives Society - South Africa) of which she is also the President LES South Africa (for which she recently received an international award for her contribution to licensing professionals); LES International Member and Co- Chair Patent and Technology Licensing Committee and Vice Chair LESI Leadership Committee, amongst others.

In response to these achievements, Dr Therina Theron, Senior Director: Research and Innovation at the DRD, and President of SARIMA said: “We are extremely proud of the award-winners from SU, representing the excellent work in research and innovation management done in the DRD and InnovUS, respectively. The awardees play a critical role in SU's attainment of its vision to be a leading research-intensive university in Africa. This is a wonderful acknowledgement of their hard work and dedication, and the awards further enhance SU's reputation as a research partner and destination of choice. "



Established in 2002, the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association is a stakeholder organisation that provides a platform for the promotion and facilitation of best practice in research and innovation management in Southern Africa. It strengthens the research and innovation system to ensure the social and economic development of the Southern African region. For more information visit