Industry Mentoring Programme

UFS strip research

The Department of Research Development launched an Industry Engagement Mentorship Programme for early career academics in November 2022. The programme will provide UFS academics (who recently graduated with their PhDs) with training and guidance on how to engage more effectively with industry partners to ensure that the research and academic outputs of the university are relevant and visible to industry. The UFS also has excellent research facilities and technical expertise residing within the UFS that can be utilised by industrial clients through research contracts. The Industry Engagement Mentoring Programme aims to help young academics develop the soft skills to approach industry stakeholders with confidence to enable effective collaboration. 

A group of scholars are currently participating in the industry-focused programme. They are Drs Lucia Meko (Nutrition Sciences), Andri van Aardt (Plant Sciences), Eleanor Müller, Marietjie Schutte-Smit, and Anke Wilhelm (all from Chemistry), Karen Ehlers and Marieka Gryzenhout (Genetics), Karen Booysen (Business Management), Ockert Einkamerer (Animal Sciences), JW Swanepoel (Sustainable Food Systems and Development), and Mariana Erasmus (GeoSciences).  Two colleagues are working on projects with a stronger social innovation orientation, namely Dr Joseph Pali (Practical Theology) and Dr Maria Tsakeni (Science Education). 

The current programme will run between January and November 2023 and a second cohort will continue in 2024. The programme creates opportunities for participants to discuss the global and South African value chains and how they can refine their research projects to increase the potential commercialisation prospects. Research leaders with significant experience of industry-university partnerships work with the members of the group to develop their strategic partnerships with industry and potentially source funding to commercialise their projects. All the candidates also work closely with industry mentors to develop an understanding of the industry and how to build sustainable partnerships.  The programme also provides opportunities for training in design thinking, development of business plans, grant writing, etc. 

Dr Henriëtte van den Berg, the Project Coordinator, works closely with colleagues in DRD and with Prof Paul Oberholster to plan and execute the programme. 


Contact us

Prof Paul Oberholster
Head of the Centre for Environmental Management
T: +27 51 401 2863

Agriculture Building, Block 10

Dr Henriëtte van den Berg
Programme Manager: Professoriate Mentoring Programme
T: +27 51 401 3135

Room 8, North Block of the Main Building, Bloemfontein Campus

Riana Visser
Office Administrator
T: +27 51 401 7493

Room 11, North Block of the Main Building, Bloemfontein Campus

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