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Dr. McLean Sibanda


Dr. McLean Sibanda, an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, as well as a registered South African patent attorney, holds a Doctorate of Laws (PhD) from the University of South Africa (UNISA), a Masters in Engineering from University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg), and a Masters of Laws (LLM) (Commercial Law) (UNISA). He has wide experience in innovation, IP policy and management, technology transfer, working with startups and IP commercialisation. McLean is an Executive for Investments & Concessions with the Bigen Africa Group (South Africa).  In 2007 he co-founded boutique intellectual property (IP) and commercial law firm Sibanda & Zantwijk Attorneys and its consulting company Ideanav, where he serves as a Partner and Director, respectively. McLean serves as a resource person to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on a number of IP and innovation related matters. has served as an expert to both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU).

Until June 2018, McLean was the Chief Executive Officer of The Innovation Hub, the innovation agency of Gauteng Province, South Africa. Previously he was Intellectual Property Team Leader and Principal Research Officer at Element Six (formerly De Beers Industrial Diamonds), Associate at Adams & Adams Attorneys, Senior Patent Attorney and Acting Executive Director at the Innovation Fund, and Group Executive for Commercialisation at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). McLean has served as an expert to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on the review of Tanzania National System of Innovation and was the lead drafter of the Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act and its Regulations, on behalf of the DST.

A past Board member of the CSIR, and a number of private companies, McLean chairs the Advisory Board of the National IP Management Office (NIPMO) and is Deputy Chair of the Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Advisory Board. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). McLean is immediate past Treasurer of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), and immediate past President of the IASP African Division. Since September 2017 he serves as the President of the IASP Advisory Council and serves on the Council of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). He is a visiting lecturer at the Africa University (Mutare, Zimbabwe), where he lectures on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Masters in Intellectual Property students.

He is passionate about the role of technology, innovation, infrastructure and agriculture for fostering development.