The IAST’s long term goal is to generate 70% of its funding from the private sector, through the provision of research, technology transfer and analytical services, as well as through long-term industrial collaborations and the commercialization of technologies and demonstration projects developed in-house.
There is a continuum that must be established between academia, applied science and technology institutions such as the IAST and the National Agricultural Research Institute, and the private sector, if science and technology is to play its pivotally important role in national development and the generation of wealth. There are a number of important elements which are essential to the harnessing of technology and science – and there must be a recognition that the life-cycle of each of these elements are dependent at different times on different players within the continuum. Therefore, there must be an active level of communication and collaboration between essential institutions and the private sector, if the full benefits are to be realized.
The IAST has a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding between it and the University of Guyana, which allows it to complete the link back to fundamental academia. As for collaboration with the private sector, the institute have put in place the following models for industrial collaboration:
- Provision of Analytical ServicesThe Institute seeks to increase its liaison with private industries that require analytical testing for environmental conformation, quality control and safety/toxicity purposes. Given that most of the industries in Guyana are small to medium sized, it is difficult for individual companies to host the entire complement of equipment which is required for all analytical requirements. In recognition of this, the IAST conducted a consultation with businesses in Guyana to determine the nature of their analytical needs, the frequency of tests that must be done, and how these services are currently procured. Based on these findings and an evaluation of the sustainability of investing in equipment and personnel who can provide the required services, the institute has significantly enhanced its analytical capabilities. Furthermore, if there are tests that cannot be done in-house, the institute will source such tests for clients with our many partners overseas.
- Technology TransferFor companies wishing to implement improvements to their processing, implementation of new processing technology, data-collection, critical control point analysis, efficiencies of process, quality control, and logistics, the IAST offers technology transfer and research consulting services throughout the life cycle of the implementation. We will:
- Source the technology
- Act as a broker to acquire equipment
- Install and commission
- Provide operational training
- Provide maintenance and trouble shooting services
- Research and Product DevelopmentThe IAST provides research and product development services in the areas of value-added food (including beverages, nutraceutical formulations and preservation processes) and agricultural products, utilization of local materials for the construction industry, agro-energy, and prospecting for bioactive compounds in local botanicals and their incorporation into foods and beverages. We will work under contract, or collaboratively, with companies to develop products from local materials.
- Intellectual Property and ConfidentialityThe IAST have a number of models for working with Industries:
- Contract Research Under contract research, the institute will act as a consultant to the Industrial Partner. All data collected, processes instituted, etc. are the property of the Industrial Partner, as well as all intellectual property arising out of the work. Under this model, the Institute will charge hourly rates for its staff time and use of its facilities. All of the costs are borne by the Industrial Partner. Funds earned through contract research are utilized to augment, maintain and service the Institute’s equipment base. IAST will hold strictly confidential any information. All our staff sign a confidentially clause on employment, and we will undertake to sign a non-disclosure agreement with industrial partners from inception of our partnership.
- Collaborative Research In this model, the institute will cost-share research and development costs on projects of national importance which also benefits the industrial partner. In this case, Intellectual Property and Data Arising would either by pre-arrangement be shared in the public domain, or the industrial partner would have a first right of refusal to purchase the IP from the state either on a non-exclusive or exclusive basis, depending on the nature of the agreements. Where no intellectual property is filed, the industrial partner would benefit from the data, developed processes, technology transfer, and learning developed during the joint project. Any IP filed by the IAST is owned by the Government of Guyana. In this model, however, the Industrial Partner is not required to pay for the involvement of IAST staff, its equipment and facilities, but instead cost-shares the expenditure of supplies and materials etc., or provides in-kind support. Furthermore, tax benefits can be sought by the institute on behalf of the industrial partner, for their financial or in-kind contributions to the project. Although the initial agreements are slightly more complex, this model also allows multi-industrial partners to participate. Any information provided by industrial partners on a confidential basis will be kept confidential. However, where it does not necessitate divulging partner’s confidential information, the details of the research will be made available to the public domain, as it would be significantly funded from tax-payers dollars.