McLean Sibanda is the Chief Executive Officer of The Innovation Hub (Africa’s first accredited science park), a Blue IQ and Gauteng Provincial Government of South Africa initiative. Prior to this appointment, McLean was the Group Executive for Commercialization with the Technology Innovation Agency (“TIA”), a national government innovation agency, after having spent seven years in the roles of Senior Patent Attorney and Acting Executive Director with the Innovation Fund, a business unit of the Department of Science and Technology in the Innovation Fund. McLean has been deeply involved with the establishment of technology transfer offices and intellectual property capacity in South Africa.
McLean holds a Masters Degree in Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and a Masters of Laws (LLM) (Commercial Law) degree from the University of South Africa (UNISA). He is an admitted attorney to the High Court of South Africa, and is also a registered South African Patent Attorney. McLean holds the historic role in South Africa as the first black South African to be fully qualified as a Patent Attorney in the country.
McLean led the public consultation process for the Policy Framework for IP from Publicly Financed Research and Development and was seconded to the Department of Science and Technology to drive the process of drafting and finalizing the legislation and associated regulations. Prior to joining the Innovation Fund, McLean was a patent attorney for a firm in Johannesburg, after having spent seven years with De Beers Industrial Diamonds Division as a Senior Research Scientist working on various diamond synthetic processes and also in the role of Intellectual Property Team Leader.
McLean has served as an IP expert to the African Union (AU) on the drafting of documents for the establishment of the Pan African Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO), following the decision of the AU Heads of States.
McLean has authored or 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.
McLean has been an invited speaker at numerous local and international conferences on scientific, intellectual property and innovation matters, including World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”, an agency of the United Nations) forums as well as those hosted by the African Development Bank Group. He tutors WIPO courses. McLean has also 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. He was a co-organizer of two leading international IP conferences in South Africa (along with Ms. Sherry Knowles): “Accelerating Innovation and Intellectual Property in South Africa” (Cape Town, 2011) and “Creating and Leveraging IP in Developing Countries (“CLIPDC 2013”, Durban).