Science students should be looking at ways to create jobs - professor

Biomedical scientist, Professor Keolebogile Shirley Motaung recently won the science category of the 2019 Standard Bank Top Women awards.

She's married her academic work as assistant dean of Research, Innovation and Engagement at the Tshwane University of Technology's (Tut's) science faculty with a career as an entrepreneur.

On Weekend Breakfast, Refiloe Mpakanyane asks Professor Motaung what the award means to her.

It is not about me. It's about my post-graduate students that I'm supervising. I wouldn't be where I am if not for the support I got.

Prof. Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, Assistant dean - Research, Innovation and Engagement at Tut science faculty

This award is not just 'top woman in science', it was actually to show that you can turn a scientific idea into a commercial asset.

Prof. Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, Assistant dean - Research, Innovation and Engagement at Tut science faculty

Her company, Global Health Biotech manufactures an anti-inflammatory ointment made from natural ingredients including medicinal plants.

Motaung says what's missing in the traditional way of training students, is this merging of science and business.

She says along with publishing academic papers, students should find ways the community can benefit from their research.

Number one, when you do research, think about what problems you are solving.

Prof. Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, Assistant dean - Research, Innovation and Engagement at Tut science faculty

Number two, what makes your solutions unique, compared to the ones that people are using?

Prof. Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, Assistant dean - Research, Innovation and Engagement at Tut science faculty

Thirdly, who is your market and are you going to make money out of it? Is it a service, or is it a product you are going to sell?

Prof. Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, Assistant dean - Research, Innovation and Engagement at Tut science faculty

You, as a student, must be able to create jobs for yourself and for others

Prof. Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, Assistant dean - Research, Innovation and Engagement at Tut science faculty

She says she set up her company in a way that it could absorb the students she was training.

For more on Professor Motaung's approach, listen here:


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