The University of Botswana, a leading national university, has called upon Industry to partner with the university to accelerate the development of promising technologies and promote their commercialization to help in diversifying of the economy.
“We have promising innovations and projects at the university that need industry players to convert them into a final product useful for growing our economy,” said Dr Alphonsus Neba, Assistant Director Research, Commercialization, UB.
Neba said successful economic diversification rely on government, industry and academia.
“We have the skills and expertise in bio technology, engineering and health but we are not equipped to convert the final product into the market,” said Neba.
The university faculty of mechanical engineering has come up with useful innovations that include Solar refrigerator, bio-gas digester, solar classroom heater, watch making, morula mini plant, amongst other innovations.
The morula mini plant was made in particular for a group of Gabane women who manufacture sweets from the morula pulp.
“All these innovations await the industry to take them further and convert them into mass products fit for the market,” said Neba. “UB is a foundation for innovation that can create new therapies, materials, and processes that benefit humankind and generate wealth for companies that can successfully translate discoveries to commercial success.”
He added that this is not a linear process; it requires forging of partnerships with industry and companies.
Neba said the university is not equipped with the money to convert the prototype into a mass product that can be used but is fully endowed with the expertise and skills.
In addition, he said the university has the potential to diversify the economy but the draw back is researchers are not fully exploited.
“UB is one place outside corporations where good science and engineering are being done but if key industry players and companies don’t chip in to help, we will be of no good to our economy,” he said.
Neba said industry investment into university research is of long term strategic importance, especially with this economic diversification drive.
“Botswana is lagging behind in technological innovations and this can only bridge this gap through productive relationships with industry, which will result in new discoveries that will benefit consumers and patients,” he said, adding that partnerships will support and promote technology innovation in the country.
“Let’s bridge the gap between industry and university to create innovation that will diversify our economy,” said Neba.