About McLean Sibanda, PhD

Dr. McLean Sibanda is an Executive for Investments & Concessions with the Bigen Africa Group (South Africa). Until June 2018, he was the Chief Executive Officer of The Innovation Hub, the innovation agency of Gauteng Province, South Africa He has held senior and executive positions in private and public sector organisations, including being 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).


An admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, as well as a registered South African patent attorney, in 2007, he co-founded boutique intellectual property (IP) and commercial law firm Sibanda & Zantwijk Attorneys and its consulting company Ideanav, where he continues to serve as a Partner and Director, respectively. He has wide experience in innovation, IP policy and management, technology transfer, incubation, funding and supporting startups, and IP commercialisation.


He has served as an expert to both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU). He continues to serve as a resource person to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on a number of IP and innovation related matters. He has also 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, he currently chairs the Advisory Board of the National IP Management Office (NIPMO, South Africa) and is Deputy Chair of the Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Advisory Board. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF, Kenya) and Chairs the Board of QualiBasic Seeds (Kenya, South Africa, Zambia).


An 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.  He also serves on Advisory Boards of two non profits supporting youth, Kectil (Atlanta, USA based) and Bukho Bami (South Africa).


He also serves on the Council of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) and 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.
McLean holds a Doctorate of Laws (PhD) from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and his thesis supervised by Professor Dr. Dres. h.c. Joseph Straus from Max Plank Institute (Munich, Germany) is entitled, Enabling Intellectual Property and Innovation Systems for South Africa’s Development and Competitiveness. He also holds a Masters degree in Engineering from University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg), Masters of Laws (LLM) (Commercial Law) (UNISA) degree