McLean Sibanda holds a Masters degree in Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and Masters of Laws (LLM) (Commercial Law) degree from the University of South Africa (UNISA). He is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, and is also a registered South African patent attorney. He has wide experience in innovation, intellectual property policy and management, technology transfer and commercialization of intellectual property.
In February 2011, he assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of The Innovation Hub (Africa’s first accredited science park), a Blue IQ and Gauteng Provincial Government Initiative. Until January 2011, he was Group Executive for Commercialisation with the Technology Innovation Agency, a national government innovation agency, after having spent 7 years with the Innovation Fund, a business unit of the Department of Science and Technology. In the Innovation Fund, he held the roles of Senior Patent Attorney and Acting Executive Director, and was involved with the establishment of technology transfer offices and intellectual property capacity in South African public sector, including the development of patent attorneys for the public sector.
He also led the public consultation process on the Policy Framework for IP from Publicly Financed Research & Development and was seconded to the Department of Science and Technology to drive the process of drafting and finalising the legislation and associated regulations on Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research & Development. Prior to joining the Innovation Fund, he was with Adams & Adams Intellectual Property Attorneys where he practiced as a patent attorney, after having spent 7 years with De Beers Industrial Diamonds Division as a Senior Research Scientist working on various diamond synthesis processes and also in the role of Intellectual Property Team Leader.
He has served as an IP Expert to the African Union (AU) on the drafting of the constitutive documents including situational analysis for the establishment of the Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization, following the decision of the AU Heads of States. The situational analysis looked at various aspects of intellectual property and innovation in Africa and has since been published by the AU as “Intellectual Property Situation in Africa – A profile” Techno Africa policy monitor (4), African Union-STRC, 2009. McLean has authored and co-authored a number of scientific and intellectual property articles, including a study on the State of Patenting in South Africa, published by The Innovation Fund in 2007.
He has been an invited speaker at both local and international conferences on scientific, intellectual property and innovation matters, including World Intellectual Property Organisation (“WIPO”) forums as well as African Development Bank Group. He tutors the WIPO courses on Patent Searching and Biotechnology Law. He has served on a number of boards of start-up companies and currently serves on the boards of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Innovation Hub.