The University of Belize in partnership with Belize Intellectual Property Office (BELIPO), Citrus Research and Education Institute of the Citrus Growers Association and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) hosted a two-day workshop on Intellectual Property and Innovation. The key areas of focus included building partnerships for the commercialization of research and mindset change that must accompany this, crucial components of any innovation and research and commercialization process. At the opening ceremony held on October 23, 2017 the audience was welcomed by Attorney General of Belize, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte; Mr. Paul Regis, Program Officer, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, WIPO; UB President Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat.
Mr. Regis highlighted the important role university research plays in the market. He also outlined the goals of the workshop which were: “elaborate on the IP (Intellectual Property) Strategy of Belize and its role in economic development; create awareness of IP asset management; sensitize participants to the importance of leveraging IP tools for competitiveness; engage the various stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem; and enhance approaches to commercialization of university research as well as industry/university collaboration challenges in the country.”
Hon. Michael Peyrefitte encouraged artists, innovators, software developers, entrepreneurs, “to develop inventions like machines, electronics, software, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals and have them patented and ready for the world market. For our stellar leaders, even methods of production and methods of doing business can be patented.” He also said that they can count on help from his Ministry to make their innovation “safe and competitive for the world market.”
Professor Sankat also emphasized on the importance of research as intellectual property in the academic profession. He recalled on his own experience as both a researcher and academic leader on the need for patenting/protecting of one’s research that has clear commercial applications and the implications and benefits it has, both for the individual researcher, the University and the country. The need for an IP Policy at UB to foster research and its application/commercialization was therefore very important.
Mr. Richard Aching, Technical Manager, IP Office of Trinidad and Tobago was a keynote presenter in the workshop. Presenters included international and national experts in the field of research and intellectual property. Our own Dr. Arlenie Rogers from the UB Environmental Research Institute (that facilitated the event at UB) also presented on the commercialization of research.