Wits Innovation Centre (WIC)

About the WIC
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About the WIC

The WIC plays a key role in encouraging, facilitating, and supporting the connection between research and innovation. We drive the Innovation Support process and inspire the growth of an innovation mindset at Wits. It actively engages in strengthening research impact, external engagement, commercialisation, and entrepreneurship.

What we do

Wits Innovation Centre (WIC)
  • facilitates access to innovation grants, funding, and the resources required for the commercialisation of research,
  • supports innovation fellowships for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows,
  • serves as a conduit between Wits and the private sector to develop solutions to real-world industry problems,
  • integrates and innovates with the Wits Entrepreneurship Clinic to seek opportunities for innovators and initiative-takers,
  • coordinates education and outreach activities related to innovation both within and beyond the University, and
  • seeks to develop a corporate programme comprising of members of industry who will have early access to Wits’ innovation projects, innovators, and other opportunities.

Wits Strategic Plan for Innovation (2023 - 2027)

The WIC also monitors and evaluates the implementation of the Wits Strategic Plan for Innovation (2023 - 2027), reports on innovation activities, and facilitates communication around academic endeavours at Wits.


The Centre is led by Dr Adam Pantanowitz as Director, and occupies the Angela and David Fine Chair in Innovation. He is an innovator with a proven record in university-based innovation and is supported by a team of experienced innovators. 

Letlotlo Phohole is the Senior Programme Manager of the WIC, and a seasoned technology and innovation management professional with over 25 years of experience spread across industry, government agencies, academia and entrepreneurship.

The WIC reports directly to Prof. Lynn Morris, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, who oversees the integration and implementation of the University’s Innovation Strategy across various entities within the institution (including faculties, service departments, commercial units and the Research Office), and beyond (the public and private sectors, academia, and civil society).

The DVC is supported by an External Advisory Committee on Innovation, which includes individuals from across the world who have specialised knowledge and experience in university-based innovation, the commercialisation of research, entrepreneurship, start-ups, intellectual property, and stakeholder engagement.

Despite the centralised reporting structure, the WIC will not centralise all innovation activities – these will remain in faculties. However, the Centre will encourage, promote, and incentivise inter-, cross-, and transdisciplinary collaboration.


The Wits Innovation Centre has received a tremendous boost from Dr David Fine, a Wits alumnus to establish a Chair in Innovation and is working with other partners like the British Council and the University of Edinburgh to further entrepreneurship and tackle unemployment. However, given the nature of innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialisation, additional resources are being sourced through a synergistic community of commercial partners, in addition to the Wits Innovation Fund. This includes concerted efforts from the Development and Fundraising Office, the Wits Health Consortium, and Wits Commercial Enterprise, to identify and tailor new investment, incubation and seed funding opportunities for donors and investors.


The Wits Innovation Centre is embedded in the innovation ecosystem, and will comprise of multiple physical and virtual hubs, incubators and accelerators which are spatially distributed across Wits’ various campuses, so that they are easily accessible to researchers and students working in all faculties and research entities. The hubs are differently equipped and structured to support innovators working in diverse areas.

A common look and feel is being developed so that all physical and virtual innovation spaces are part of the innovation ecosystem. The diagram alongside demonstrates individual hubs, accelerators, and incubators as part of several domain-specific ecosystems, for example FinTech, MedicalTech, EduTech, MiningTech, GovernmentTech, CivilSocietyTech and Rural Tech. The sub-ecosystems will also collaborate in finding cross-cutting areas of activity.