Dr Dusty Gardiner

DGardiner_Towards a South African bio-economy: Agile product and process development

Dr Dusty Gardiner
Gardiner leads the Biomanufacturing Industry Development Programme at the CSIR. He completed a PhD in biochemistry at Rhodes University before spending numerous years in industry in various roles, including research and development, technology transfer and biomanufacturing.

About the talk: South Africa has clear plans to develop a biomanufacturing economic sector in line with its move towards a knowledge-intensive economy. Typically, knowledge creation for the manufacturing sector follows a sequential path from early-stage research at small scale to process development, piloting and ultimately transfer of technology into manufacturing duty. This classical approach has limitations for the development of high-value, low-volume performance products in the biomanufacturing sector.

The CSIR Biomanufacturing Industry Development Programme has a strong emphasis on supporting small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to develop processes and products that meet customer requirements within short time-frames to exploit existing market opportunities. An alternate agile manufacturing approach to process and product development was developed and tested using realworld examples. Part of this approach involves close engagement with customers and end users throughout the development phase, a highly responsive, dynamic, and industry-innovative workforce, appropriate infrastructure, all underpinned by maximising value from strong and well established technology platforms.

The agile process and product development approach involves speedy fit-for-purpose selection of appropriate biological systems, creating functioning, integrated processes and rapid product development that allows early market evaluation of prototypes. This capacity is further enhanced by fast methods of process and product retrofitting to yield a market-acceptable product in the shortest possible time.

In his talk, Gardiner will provide a number of case studies illustrating the advantages of the agile approach for product and process development in the SMME sector and also provides examples of start-up companies that have adopted this approach.

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