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Innovation at UCT

Researchers at work

The University of Cape Town’s tradition of research excellence has led to great inventions and discoveries. UCT academics and graduates have been innovators in almost every discipline.

These include:

  • Professor Christiaan Barnard, who pioneered heart transplants
  • Allan Cormack, who developed the CAT scanner
  • Sir Aaron Klug, who contributed to the development of crystallographic electron microscopy and furthered knowledge of nucleic acid–protein complexes.

UCT spin-off companies

A number of products based on UCT intellectual property have been successfully commercialised and in certain instances spin-off companies created.
Find out more about UCT's spin-off companies.


UCT innovation at a glance (2018)

  • 2 226 research contracts signed

  • Total value of contracts exceeded R1.59 billion

  • 475 invention disclosures received and evaluated

  • 143 active inventions

  • 24 spin-off companies launched in 14 years

  • 404 patent applications granted since 2011


Innovation news

The innovation process

Innovation transforms the university’s inventions, discoveries and ideas into new applications, products and services. Some technologies are commercialised through new start-up ventures and others are licensed to existing companies in a process often described as technology transfer.

UCT has established the Evergreen Fund and Pre-Seed Fund to help mature research outputs and fund early-stage UCT spin-off companies. The current value of the university's equity in spin-off companies exceeds R100 million.