ASTANA – Three more projects funded by the Technology Commercialisation Centre (TCC) in Astana have found commercial success in Kazakhstan and beyond in agricultural, cosmetics and mining, the TCC announced.
The three projects include a microbe cocktail created by scientists at the National Centre for Microorganisms to eliminate fatty waste from dairy and meat production, a software programme created by a team in Karaganda that calculates the layout and specifications for supports in mine shafts, and a line of high-end skincare products infused with local plant extracts.
The microbe cocktail eats the fatty waste from dairy and meat production processes and has been tested successfully at a dairy production site and a slaughter house, TCC Lead Expert Erik Azulay said in a July 22 interview. The process will now be licensed to agricultural production facilities from the centre where it was developed and is looking to expand across the country.
The mine support software, which generates the technical passport for the design of mine shaft supports, has gone from TCC funding to commercial success in seven months, a rate Azulay called “unheard of.” The project has concluded two contracts, he reported, one for 8 million tenge (US$42,771) and one for 18.5 million (US$98,930), and is in the final stages of talks on a third.
“We found a project, they had an idea, they had some basic software,” Azulay said. “To give them a grant, to have them funded and to have them already up and running and have three contracts [in that timeframe] is pretty much unheard of. So we’re extremely proud of that one. … It’s one of our big successes.”
Abylai Akhymbekov, who manages the mining software project, said the team of developers wasn’t surprised at their success – they just needed a hand. “They knew that there is a problem and it should be solved. They knew that the demand was high among mining companies, they just needed a real product – and a domestic product, because the alternatives that are used now, from abroad, are not always that suitable for our mines.” The new software, because of its specific technical results, saves companies a lot of time and money on calculating the best and safest design for their mine supports.
The final project is a cosmetic product that has already seen success in Russia and is now being modified for the Kazakh market. The RNA-based skin care products, which are currently being produced in Germany with Kazakh ingredients, will soon be made in Kazakhstan, following the completion of their manufacturing operation here in September. Azulay reported that the company has sold about $39,000 worth of merchandise in Kazakhstan in the two months since they began operation, and they are expecting a huge boost in sales once the cosmetics are produced locally. “We’re very optimistic and happy about that.”
Azulay is also pleased about the licensing agreements that the software and microbe projects have concluded. Licensing is still relatively uncommon in Kazakhstan, and he points out that after only about a year, the TCC has increased invention licensing in Kazakhstan by 40 or 50 percent – adding four licensing deals, with more likely by the end of the year, to Kazakhstan’s annual average of only 10-14.
“Part of our goal is to help spread the knowledge of and train people about the value of intellectual property, and part of that is licensing deals,” Azulay said. “Companies can now see that licensing is a viable option so that innovation ecosystem we’re promoting is starting to grow.”