The University of Cape Town’s tradition of research excellence has led to great inventions and discoveries. UCT academics and graduates have been innovators in almost every discipline. These include:

  • Professor Christiaan Barnard, who pioneered heart transplants
  • Allan Cormack, who developed the CAT scanner
  • Sir Aaron Klug, who contributed to the development of crystallographic electron microscopy and furthered knowledge of nucleic acid–protein complexes.
Researchers at work


UCT spin-off companies

A number of products based on UCT intellectual property have been successfully commercialised and in certain instances spin-off companies created.
Find out more about UCT's spin-off companies.


UCT innovation at a glance (2020)

  • 23 intellectual property licenses
  • 26 new patents granted
  • 2 new spin-off companies and 20 spin-offs in 10 years
  • University Technology Fund invested in 3 UCT ventures
  • Licensing and intellectual property revenue of ZAR27.9 million in 10 years
  • Value of equity held in 9 spin-off companies: more than ZAR100 million

Innovation news

The innovation process

Innovation transforms the university’s inventions, discoveries and ideas into new applications, products and services. Some technologies are commercialised through new start-up ventures and others are licensed to existing companies in a process often described as technology transfer.

UCT has established the Evergreen Fund and Pre-Seed Fund to help mature research outputs and fund early-stage UCT spin-off companies. The current value of the university's equity in spin-off companies exceeds R100 million.