Jonathan Youngleson was born in 1953 in Kokstad, South Africa the son of Durban hand and reconstructive plastic surgeon John Youngleson, and Dawn Griffiths, and has three siblings. He attended Cordwalles preparatory school in Pietermaritzburg and Michaelhouse, Balgowan where he matriculated with a first class pass in 1970. After serving his national service in the mounted infantry he studied Chemistry and Microbiology at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) obtaining a Bachelors in Science in 1976, and an Honours degree in Microbiology in 1977. Jonathan was a Natal junior gymnast at high school and a Transvaal gymnast while at university, and he was also fortunate enough to be the SA dabchick sailing junior champions, crewing for Derick Morrison.
Upon completing his studies, Jonathan went on to work for Swiss multinational Nestle, and Welcome pharmaceuticals as a factory chemist, before joining Protea Technology where he became proficient in sales and operation of most laboratory and nuclear instrumentation, before he joined Spescom as their Fourier Transform Infrared specialist sales manager. Jonathan decided to return to study a Masters degree in Biotechnology at the University of the Witwatersrand in the mid-1980’s, after which he transferred to University of Cape Town to complete a Doctorate in Molecular Microbiology in 1989, in the field of Clostridium Acetobutylicum molecular genetics under supervision of Professors David Woods and David Jones. Jonathan also married his wife Lorraine in Cape Town whilst he was studying.
After completing his PhD Jonathan returned to Midrand with wife and son Matthew, to work for Spescom where he introduced the successful Cashpower Prepayment Energy Management System to South Africa and as part of a highly motivated sales team to the world market. A joint venture between Spescom and German company Siemens saw this product, which was badged as a Siemens product, but developed and produced locally in Isando, being sold today by Swiss company metering Landis and Gyr in over 60 countries around the world. This business experience has stood Jonathan in good stead in the fields of Technological Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property management and Technology Transfer. After a short stint working independently in Cape Town, shortly after his daughter Amber was born, Jonathan joined the Medical Research Council as head of the Glaxo-Action TB Initiative for four years. Thereafter Jonathan moved to the United Kingdom where he was Group Business director of Altris Inc. a USA-based subsidiary of Spescom. Jonathan returned to South Africa in 2002 as the NRF-UNESCO Chair in Technological Entrepreneurship at Tshwane University of Technology, where he taught the subject as an elective in the only SAQU-approved MBA at a University of Technology at the time. He also supervised a number of MBA mini-dissertations, and was involved in establishing one of the first Offices of Technology Transfer at a South African university. Jonathan went onto join University of Pretoria, as head of Contract Research and Innovation Support, where he also set up an Office of Technology Transfer, and was involved in numerous academic-industry collaborative innovation projects across many faculties and disciplines.
Jonathan joined the Department of Science and Technology in 2011 as the first head of the National Intellectual Property Management Office, with responsibility to establish the NIPMO, and implement the Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development IPR-PFRD Act 51 of 2008, and its alignment within the National System of Innovation. He retired from public service at the end of 2013. He subsequently did freelance consulting work for UNESCO in Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, and in teaching Technological Entrepreneurship and Quantitative Research Methodology at several Universities for the South Africa-Netherlands Partnership for Development (SANPAD). Jonathan joined Academic Baby Boomers Association (ABBA) in March 2016.