Founder of STERG receives NIPMO Award

The founder of the Solar Thermal Energy Research Group (STERG) at Stellenbosch University, Dr Paul Gauché, received a 2019 NIPMO Intellectual Property Creators Award. He received this National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) Award as Top Intellectual Property Creator for his disclosures of concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies during his directorship at STERG. The award recognises the most actionable disclosures at Stellenbosch University between 2010 and 2018. The disclosures were applauded as a tool to reduce the triple challenge of unemployment, inequality and poverty in South Africa.

Dr Gauché is currently the Manager of the CSP Department at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia National Labs in the USA.

“STERG would like to thank its founder, Dr Paul Gauché, for his contribution to growing the research group so rapidly into the globally-recognised entity it is today. We further thank the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for the long-standing support of our research and innovation, in particular Somila Xosa and Rebecca Maserumule,” said Dr Matti Lubkoll, STERG Coordinator. “We also thank the DST’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) for repeatedly supporting our technology development projects and supporting with the generation of IP and bringing it to life, most famously in the TIA Helio100 project. At Stellenbosch University we thank Anita Nel and Joubert de Wet of our tech transfer office, InnovUS, for the team spirit and the support in protecting and developing our innovation.”

Dr Willie Smit, fellow STERG member, accepted the award on Dr Gauché’s behalf in Pretoria at a gala dinner hosted by the then Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

STERG, founded in 2010, is housed in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and is affiliated with the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, the national academic hub for renewable and sustainable energy. STERG was the first university research group in South Africa dedicated to solar thermal energy research.

Photograph left: Dr Paul Gauché.

Photograph centre: The NIPMO Award.

Photograph right: Dr Willie Smit (centre) receiving the NIPMO award on behalf of Dr Paul Gauché from the then Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane (left), and the Director-General: Science and Technology, Dr Phil Mjwara (right).