NUST Innovation Hub

single image

Mr Aleck Ncube - Acting Director

Innovation Hub

The Innovation Hub (formerly Technopark) is a Unit of the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) that is located in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. It is a Strategic Business Unit (SBU) of NUST that systematically strives to position itself at the interface between the research and innovation efforts of the University Community on one hand and the private and public enterprise sectors in the country on the other hand.

Strategic Goals and Strategic Objectives
  • The Hub endeavours to be a catalyst for the economic and social advancement of the Zimbabwean society by stimulating economic growth, modernisation, and resultant prosperity through the exploitation of research outputs and innovative ideas that are generated at the University. 
  • To be the vehicle for technology assimilation, adaptation, customisation and diffusion in Zimbabwean society; primarily for the benefit of Industry, Commerce and the Communities.
To become a one-stop-shop at NUST that provides services to both the established businesses in the country and to scientifically inclined entrepreneurs that are desirous of harnessing the intellectual resources and expertise that are housed at the University.
To forge partnerships between the Faculties and Departments of NUST so as to encourage co-operation and transdisciplinarity on the one hand and Industry, Commerce and the Communities on the other hand so as to create opportunities for developing and sharing knowledge, know-how, skills and experiences; resulting in tangible benefits that are shared equitably between the parties who have all become stakeholders.
  • To be a catalyst for the economic and social advancement the Zimbabwean society by stimulating economic growth, modernisation, and resultant prosperity through the exploitation of research outputs and innovative ideas that are generated at the University.
  • To be the vehicle for technology assimilation, adaptation, customisation and diffusion in Zimbabwean society; primarily for the benefit of Industry, Commerce and the Communities

To be the SBU of NUST that carries out:

  •     Commercialisation and application of Intellectual Properties generated at the University
  •     Vending and management of Intellectual Property Rights ( IPRs) of the staff at NUST
  •     Facilitation of technology transfer and licensing of technology for business organizations and communities in the country
  •     Incubation of science and technology (s&t ) based start-up ventures initiated by both NUST members of staff and outsiders
The following are some of the CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS for the NUST-Innovation Hub project:

The stakeholders of the Technopark in the first place are members of the NUST community as a whole, but particularly the University management and administration, all academics, the research staff, technicians and students. The Technopark project needs to enjoy the ownership of each category of the aforementioned stakeholders in order for it to succeed NUST-Innovation Hub needs to cultivate an external stakeholder base consisting of business organizations and some community-based projects.

An extension of the foregoing condition is that NUST-Innovation Hub needs to forge strong ties with representative business associations in practically all sectors of the economy and also with Government Departments and Local Government authorities The management of the NUST-Innovation Hub must first and foremost be competent, have a strong insight into the mindsets of academics and researchers, and above all have an entrepreneurial outlook so as to better relate to the mindsets of the captains of Industry and Commerce. The staff manning the Hub needs to be diligent individuals, and also possess the qualities of patience and good public relations.NUST ought to have in place an Institutional Intellectual Property Policy (IPP) that is widely subscribed to by members of the University Community.

The existence of the institutional IPP should result in the NUST Community being adequately educated on matters of IPPRs.

Industrial Liaison Office

The Industrial Liaison Office is a service resource to the community of NUST and a bridge for university-Industry interaction. The overall goal of the of the Industrial Liaison Office is to support staff and students in building and strengthening partnerships with industry, government and civic society stakeholders in order to foster collaborative opportunities, develop and commercialize technologies, solve problems, and exchange ideas for socio-economic development.

The Industrial Liaison office offers a wide spectrum of services some of which include:


 Administration of Consultancy services

  • Facilitation of meetings between prospective clients and consulting members
  • Drafting of documents such as service agreements, consultancy agreements and Memorandum of Agreement
  • Processing of financial receipts and payment requisitions
  • Monitoring of entire service delivery   
Promotion of partnerships through Memoranda of Understanding
The purpose of MoUs is to create a long term framework of collaboration, cooperation and development of strong linkages between industry and NUST on training, consultancy, research and development or any other activity of mutual interest to both Parties. The industrial collaboration and linkage would provide opportunities to students and staff.
In light of the above, researchers are encouraged to update the ILO on research they are, or may be, engaged in, as well as provide information concerning their research partners, in particular if those partners are outside of the university and represent industry or other commercial interests. This will enable the ILO to leverage existing relationships for greater institutional benefit as well to avoid duplication of efforts.

Entrepreneurship/ commercialisation and Administrative support

The I.L.O. assist with basic departmental administration and commercialisation support services such as:

  • Servicing of various meetings such as the Innovation Hub Board of Directors,
  • NUST Fundraising Committee and other interdepartmental meetings involving the Innovation Hub.
  • Development or evaluation of business plans for student start-ups
  • Attending to the needs of incubated student enterprises

Benefits of partnering with NUST

  • Enhanced reputation :Working with an eminent institution allows you to enhance reputation and keeps you up to date with prospective technologies and new developments.
  • Lowering of R&D costs :Eminent researchers at NUST can supplement and augment your development capacity. R&D can be quite expensive as you may know!
  • Knowledge – patents: We have a lot of knowledge and experience from which have arisen various Intellectual Property (IP) such as patents, industrial designs, and copyrights; which are available for uptake

Mr Arnold Moyo - Industrial Liaison Officer

Mr Arnold Moyo has been the Industrial Liaison Officer since 2010 and continues to passionately contribute towards the University Mission of spearhead human capital development for industrial and socio-economic transformation through science and technology based solutions. He is a versatile individual conversant with the languages of both commerce and industry.

Arnold Moyo holds a Bachelor of Textile Technology honours degree (NUST), Diploma in Business Administration (Zimabwe Institute of Management) and Master of Science in Marketing degree (NUST). He has worked as a Dyehouse Consultant for a fully integrated textile mill; Production Manager for a leading clothing company; and Social Development Officer for a non-profit organisation. In his private endeavours, Arnold Moyo has set up several start-ups in the beauty, distribution, mining and training industries. His interest are in Marketing Research and Consumer Insights; and entrepreneurship development; a passion that resonates very well with his current duties as Industrial Liaison officer.

Email: | Telephone Numbers:+263 9 282842 ext 2622 | Cell: 0774381437 | Fax Number :+263 - 9 - 286803 

Intellectual Property Management Unit


Mr Aleck Ncube - Intellectual Property Officer

The objective of the Intellectual Property (IP) Unit is to provide leadership in IP related issues and value added services directed at ensuring effective IP management and commercialisation of technology innovations.  This service is provided to the whole University community.

Services offered by the IP Unit
Services offered by the IP Unit:
  • Management of the IP process including strategies for IP protection, ownership and commercialisation.
  • IP management workshops for entrepreneurs and the University Faculties and Departments, focussing on:
  1. What intellectual property is?
  2. What intellectual property covers.
  3. The essentials of trademarks, copyrights, designs, patents and trade secrets.
  4. Why intellectual property is important to a business.
  5. The importance of conducting prior art searches.
  6. How to conduct patent searches through the proprietary and non-proprietary patent database.
  • IP and legal due diligences and IP opinions.
  • Monitoring and identifying issues and approaches in IP management relating to green economy and environmental sustainability projects and innovations in support of Renewable Energy.
  • Vetting, reviewing, negotiating and drafting various types of agreements.
  • IP and legal advice to the entrepreneurs and the Innovation Hub precinct companies.
Importance of IP
Intellectual property (IP) is recognised globally as an essential asset of companies, defining a company’s worth, market share and its success to a large extent.  Failure to identify and protect IP may have a drastic negative influence on your success as a start-up company.  It is for this reason that IP management is essential for the success of a company. While you are in the midst of initiating R&D, starting up your new company or have just entered the market with your product, do not under estimate the importance of IP in your business strategy.

IP rights determine, amongst others:
  • If you can manufacture your product legally
  • If you need to obtain a licence or an assignment to prevent litigation
  • Whether another individual or company must license your technology from you to be able to manufacture or sell his product legally
If you can import your product
  • If you can copy a component of another individual’s product/technology to use in your product etc.
In short, regardless of what field your business is in, it is only to your advantage to have knowledge of IP to be able to run your business successfully.  IP rights grant you as the owner the freedom to make the most of your invention and to limit competition during the term of protection.
Understanding Intellectual Property

What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property refers to products of the human intellect that have economic value. IP can exist in various forms: it can be an invention, a brand name, software, a book, film, trade secret or artistic design. There are various types of IP protection available, namely, patents, trademarks, copyright, registered designs, plant breeder’s rights, trade secrets and know how.

What is a Patent?
A patent is a right granted by the state within each country in relation to an invention for a period of 20 years. The exclusive right allows you to exclude competitors from exploiting, or benefiting commercially, from the invention. In exchange for these rights, the inventor makes his invention known to the public, in this way accelerating research and innovation as people are able to build on this invention.  These rights of exclusion only exist in the country in which you have patent protection. There is no worldwide patent as is the common misperception. The value of a patent is not limited to use by the patentee. The patentee is free to license the patent to one or more parties, cross-license it, assign it and use it as a bargaining tool in deal negotiations e.g. in the sale of his company, or a merger. 

To obtain a patent an invention must be:
Novel-an invention will be deemed novel when it is different from all previous inventions (the prior art);
  • Of practical use;
  • Inventive-not obvious to a person skilled in the relevant  technology; and
  • Accepted as "patentable" under law. In many countries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, plant or animal varieties, discoveries of natural substances, commercial methods, or methods for medical treatment (as opposed to medical products) are generally not patentable. 
The inventor is therefore the only person entitled to benefit commercially from the invention, in that way rewarding the inventor, and encouraging innovation. Patentable inventions which may be the subject of an application for a patent can be of many different types, including:
  • New products and devices
  • New substances, such as chemical formulations and new materials
  • New manufacturing processes
  • New business methods. 
For an invention to be patentable it must:
  • Be novel, or new. The invention must not already be publicly known.
  • Involve an inventive step. The invention must be more than an obvious extension or variation to what is already publicly known.
  • Have utility which means, to be capable of commercial use, and not be just a theory
  • Not have been secretly used commercially before the date of application for the patent. 
These requirements are largely the same, internationally. However, a patent is still granted by the government of a country. It is necessary to apply for a patent in each separate country where it is intended to commercially exploit the patentable invention, to exclude potential competitors. A patent offers the right to exclude competitors for the duration of a granted patent. This will be the period of 20 years from the date of application for the patent (for some types of inventions, such as pharmaceutical products, this can be extended for up to 5 years). Not every patentable invention is the subject of a granted patent. For example, an inventor may for example, decide to keep an invention as a trade secret. In that case, the inventor might realise the economic benefits of the invention for more than 20 years, if it remains secret all that time. Or, may benefit for a lesser period, being the period until the invention becomes public knowledge (for example, by being developed by someone else).

What is a What is a Trademark?
A registered trademark protects elements of your brand such as a product name, tag line or logo. In this way, the trademark helps to distinguish a specific product or service from a competitor's product or service. By doing so, this creates customer loyalty and enables the product or service to more effectively compete with other similar goods. 
A registered trade mark may be any one of the following:
  • A letter (for example the W hotel chain)
  • A combination of letters (for example IBM, and BP)
  • A word (for example, Toyota, and Petronas)
  • A phrase (for example, McDonald's 'I am loving it')
  • A logo (for example, the distinctive McDonald's Golden Arches)
  • A shape (for example, the triangular shape associated with Toblerone chocolate)
  • A colour (for example, the use of green at BP petrol stations)
  • A sound (for example, the distinctive sound of the original Nokia ringtone)
  • A scent (for example, the distinctive aroma of a particular perfume).
The owner of a registered trade mark may protect the trade mark by excluding competitors from using the trade mark, or a deceptively similar trade mark, in relation to the same or similar products and services. A registered trade mark is easier to protect and to enforce. It is not compulsory to register a trade mark, however, an unregistered trade mark is more difficult to enforce. A trade mark is granted by the government of a country. It is necessary therefore to register a trade mark in each separate country where it is intended to sell the products or services associated with the trade mark, and to exclude others from using the same or deceptively similar trade marks.

What is a Registered Design?
A registered design protects the appearance and visual features of a product. It protects the shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation which gives a product a unique appearance. In order to be registrable, an aesthetic design must be new and original.  A functional design must be new and not common place in the relevant art. 
A registered design may be two dimensional or three dimensional. To be registered, a design must be new and distinctive. Examples of registered designs can include:
  • the shape and design of a mobile telephone
  • the shape of a kitchen appliance
  • the tread of a tyre
  • the patterns on textiles or clothing.
An industrial design may be registered, and entitles the owner to exclude competitors from copying the design. Designs that are unregistered may have some copyright protection, such as a textile pattern, but generally, copyright protection is excluded from industrial products.
A design that is registered in one country, does not offer any rights in any other country. It is necessary therefore to register an industrial design in each separate country where it is intended to sell the products associated with the industrial design, and to exclude others from using the same design. A competitor may be free to use your design in any country where you decide not to register your design.

What are Plant Breeder's Rights?
Plant breeder's rights are rights granted to a breeder in relation to a variety of a plant, or certain other matter such as fungi and algae.
Upon registration, the exclusive rights of the owner include:
  • the ability to produce or reproduce the material;
  • condition the material for propagation;
  • sell the material, and
  • export the material. 
A competitor may be excluded from exercising any of these rights in relation to the registered variety. Unless the variety is registered, these rights do not exist. A plant breeder's right that is registered in one country, does not offer any rights in any other country. It is necessary therefore to register a plant breeder's right in each separate country where it is possible to propagate the variety concerned, and intended to exclude others from doing so. Generally, a competitor can freely use your plant variety in any country where you decide not to register your plant breeder's right.

Non-Registerable Intellectual Property

What is a Copyright?
Copyright comes into existence as soon as work is recorded. This may be by writing, keyboard entry and storage on a computer's hard disk, or making an audio or video recording. In most countries, copyright is not a registerable right.
 Copyright exists in the work itself, and is the exclusive right to copy, publish and distribute works, and to enjoy certain other rights, depending on the type of copyright work concerned. Some examples of works in which copyright may exist include software programs, databases, literary works, photographs, sound recordings and video recordings. In order to be eligible for copyright protection the work must:
  • Be original: the work will be deemed original if it is a substantial improvement on what preceded it and a lot of skill, labour, effort and time were expended in creating the work; and
  • Have been written down, recorded, represented as digital data or signals or otherwise reduced to material form (with the exception of broadcasts and programme-carrying signals.
 What is a Trade Secret?
A trade secret is information that is not generally known in the business community and that provides its owner with a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Some examples of protectable trade secrets include idea, formula, process or procedure, computer software, designs and specifications, business strategies and methods, formulas and customer lists, collections of data, know-how, pricing information, new product names, or any other secret that gives the owner an economic advantage.  Trade secrets are protected through common law. 
To qualify as a trade secret, the information must:
  • not be generally known or ascertainable through legal methods;
  • provide a competitive advantage or have economic value; and
  • be the subject of reasonable be the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain secrecy. 
Trade secrets offer an alternative to patenting but substantial effort must be made to maintain it as a secret.  The best known example of a trade secret that has been successfully maintained is that of the formula for Coco Cola, which has never been divulged to the public until today, attributing to this company’s phenomenal success.
A particular invention or technology can be protected by more than one type of IP right e.g. a patent to protect the method of making the product and the product itself; a trademark to protect the company name, company logo and product name; a registered design to protect the functional design and aesthetic design of the product; plant breeder’s rights to protect the new plant variety you have engineered to use in making your product; and a trade secret to protect the chemical sequence of the unique fertiliser you have developed for this new plant variety.  By protecting your technology using several IP rights, you are making it more difficult for an individual to take advantage of your novel product by copying it or taking a share of your market. 

Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC’s)
Provides innovators at the university with access to locally based, high quality technology information and related services, helping them to exploit their innovative potential and to create, protect, and manage their intellectual property (IP) rights.

Services offered by the TISC  include:
  • Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications;
  • Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information;
  • Training in database search;
  • On-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement);
  • Monitoring technology and competitors;
  • Basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialization and marketing.
Got An Invention: The Following Steps are,

Step 1. Conduct a patent search: To identify the features of your invention that may be patented.
Step 2. Create a "funding" prototype: Cost: $20, 000 To enable you and others to properly evaluate your invention.
Step 3. Register a patent: Register a Zimbabwean patent to reserve your patent rights worldwide for twelve months. Within the year, file a PCT patent to extend further your reservation in most countries of the world to thirty months. Thereafter file national phase patents in countries where you require patent protection.
Step 4. Register a design: To protect the shape of your product, register a Zimbabwean design, followed by foreign designs in six months time.
Step 5. Register a trademark:   To protect the name of your product (e.g. "APPLE" computers), register a Zimbabwean trademark.
Step 6. License your IP: Appoint licensed distributors that pay your patent and design costs in their territories.

Contact Us


Mrs Siphumuzile Hleza - Chief Secretary