The Innovation Fund (incorporated into TIA) provides grants to fund the end-stage research process where research knowledge can be translated into new and improved products, processes or services. The driving force of the initiative is to meet the following national objectives:
- Improve and sustain the quality of life of all South Africans
- Develop human resources for science and technology
- Strengthen the country's competitiveness in the international sphere and
- Economic growth
The fund invests in novel research ideas with vast potential for commercial success, and seeks technological solutions in the identified focus areas that will yield significant national benefits. The fund assists in the conversion of the research idea into a commercially useful end-product by funding items such as equipment, research and development expertise, managerial skills, securing of Intellectual Property Rights and construction of a prototype.
The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) is a new public entity that is aimed at stimulating and intensifying innovation and inventions in order to improve the economic growth as well as enhance the quality of life of all South Africans by developing and exploiting technological innovations and interventions and creating an enabling environment wherein these could be commercialized.
The TIA will be managed and controlled based on the provisions of the TIA Act, which was signed into law by President Kgalema Motlanthe in December 2008.
The DST established a Project Management Office in preparation for migration of the various entities to TIA. The existing entities which will be incorporated into TIA are the:
- Biotechnology Regional Innovation Centres (BRICs), the Innovation Fund, AMTS, and the Tshumisano Trust.
The TIA will stimulate the development of technology based products and services, by the public and private sector technology based enterprises, thereby developing a significant technology base for the country’s economy.