Dr Fanny Saruchera (left) and his supervisor,
Dr Maxwell Phiri.

PhD graduate Dr Fanny Saruchera’s decision to do a doctoral degree at an internationally recognised institution such as UKZN has opened up a world of diverse professional networks which have played a vital role in his career growth.

Saruchera, a Lecturer at Chinhoyi University in Zimbabwe, said the qualification gives him a competitive edge over his peers in academia and is the first step towards fulfilling his aspiration of attaining professorship.

‘My new qualification places me on the world map and enhances my chances of enhanced career choices anywhere in the world. Besides working closely with my supervisor, Dr Maxwell A Phiri, I have worked with other renowned experts and scholars in the field and have made important contacts during international conferences, all of whom can serve as excellent career references for any job positions,’ said Saruchera.

Through his thesis titled: “Determinants of Commercialisation of Technological Innovations in Developing Economies: A Study of Zimbabwe’s Research Institutes”, Saruchera aims to address the misconception that Africa is not innovative through highlighting the technological innovations that Africa can offer to the world. The study’s findings reveal that successful commercialisation of a new product is influenced by perceptions consumers hold of it, correct application of launch decisions and the level of customer involvement.

‘Although it emerged that Zimbabwe’s technological innovations are perceived to be meeting customer expectations, the study revealed that successful commercialisation is being hindered by financial constraints, lack of proper commercialisation infrastructure, limited consumer access to new products, poor sectoral support, patents mal-administration, and long-time lags between new product development and market introduction, among other hindrances. Thus the study proposed a model for the commercialisation of Technological Innovations in developing economies such as Zimbabwe’s,’ explained Saruchera.

Commuting between Zimbabwe and South Africa was stressful but the rewards along the PhD journey have been worth it for Saruchera, including getting a full fee remission at UKZN.

Saruchera presented two papers alongside Phiri at the Forum on Industrial Organisation and Marketing in Munich, Germany in 2014, thanks to the financial assistance of the College of Law and Management Studies Research Office. This motivated him to strengthen his relationship with UKZN embarking on a post-doctoral programme.