The University of Ghana (UG) has established a Technology Development and Transfer Centre (TDTC) to reposition itself as a world class research institution.
The UG said the repositioning was also to ensure that the impact of research output was considered essential in solving key problems in industry and local communities.
The TDTC, which is within the Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID), was established with financial support of $500,000 from the World Bank.
It’s under Component 2 of the Ghana Skills and Technology Development Project (GSTDP) through the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Council for Tertiary, Vocational Education and Training, (COVET).
The University of Ghana also made an in-kind contribution of $75,000.00 towards the Project.
The TDTC therefore seeks to facilitate the development and transfer of technologies, initially, in the area of information communication technology, horticulture and livestock to the private sector.
The Centre also aims at extending its operations to other disciplines within the University in the future.
The Centre also serves as a licensing or technology commercialization office for researchers and inventors in the University of Ghana and in addition, promote proactive liaison to parties interested in leveraging UG’s research for academic, societal and corporate endeavours.
The Centre also addresses the key challenge of low level of engagement between the University and industry, by providing an effective platform for the engagement of the University and the industry in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Former Deputy Minister of Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Mohammed Alfa, who launched the centre said it was not by accident that GSTDP was put together but was to ensure competitiveness and make the country an attractive place to work, live and study.
He said government’s key objective is to transform the economy using research, innovation and development as the springboard.
MESTI, he said, would encourage initiatives that facilitate collaboration not only among stakeholders within a particular sector but across major sectors in order to secure the required synergies in support of the creation of new businesses.
UG Vice Chancellor Prof Ernest Ayittey said partnership between universities and research institutions had been adopted as a major strategy for developing technologies and in promoting successful use of science and technology to address industrial and societal problems in developed countries.
“Unfortunately this practice is not very common in African countries. This could be attributed to scarcity of resources to undertake research with economic value that can be transferred to industry”.
He said all over the world, Universities were faced with the challenge of ensuring that their research findings best serve the public interest and that most often research results from the universities were published and placed in the public domain.
Prof Ayittey said that option did not always lead to commercialisation of technologies especially in times when patenting of innovative research results has become a useful mechanism that offers an incentive for universities to transfer technology for industry to make the huge investment required for getting the technologies unto the markets.
He said the repositioning of UG was also to ensure that the impact of research output is considered essential in solving key problems in industry and local communities and envisage that the TDTC would play an essential role in the fulfilment of UG’s quest in becoming a world class research university.
Professor John Gyapong, Pro Vive Chancellor, Research, Innovation and development, said the TDTC would raise funds through the established professional training courses aimed at businesses and also leverage on other financial support provided by donors and philanthropists.
He expressed the hope that the TDTC would provide a more coordinated approach to the university’s engagement with industry and also promote an opportunity for the academic community to make an impact through technologies transfer for the development of new or enhanced products and services on the market.
Mrs Sarah Anku, a lawyer from the Registrar General’s Department who spoke on patenting, said it was to reward creativity and stop others from manufacturing, selling the product or services of an inventor without permission.
He urged researchers not to publish their finding before applying for a patent adding that it would defeat the purpose.
Mr Sebastian Deh, Executive Director of COVET, commended UG for the initiative and said five out of seven initiatives that received GSTDP grants were from the UG and noted that COVET’s doors were opened to UG for further assistance.
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