Dr. Alex Moseson, Director of the Innovation for International Development (I2D) Lab at Purdue University https://engineering.purdue.edu/GEP/I2DLab visited the RAN Innovation Lab on Monday February 20th, 2017. The College of Engineering within Purdue University is one of the Top-10 in the US, addressing grand challenges like the Sustainable Development Goals.   Dr. Moseson was previously an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow at USAID, on the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) team.

During his visit the team explored possible ways in which Purdue University and the RAN Innovation lab could partner for technical development and commercialization of innovative solutions.

The Office of Global Engineering Programs (GEP) which hosts the I2D lab is Purdue University’s Engineering hub for international education, research, and engagement. I2D lab was thus founded to convene and catalyze consortia matching word-class capability with the most pressing global challenges. The operational mechanisms include the award of internal seed grants, external grant writing, program development, capacity building and management which resonates with some of the core activities that the RAN Innovation lab is engaged in.

I2D lab has supported projects globally focused on Healthcare, Water and Sanitation, Food Security, Energy, Education, Labor Saving, Humanitarian response through grants that are awarded to Faculty. Faculty at Purdue University are encouraged to team with other partners from anywhere in the world, so far one project from College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) at Makerere University has benefited from this collaboration opportunity.

Dr. Moseson also had one on one meetings with some of the RAN Innovators working on different innovations including; the Pedal Tap, Matibabu, Wekebere, Musawo, Arvana and he gave insightful feedback to each team. Such feedback is directed towards further developing these innovations for the benefit of communities in need. This also richly contributes to the mentorship RAN offers to the innovators currently benefiting from the incubation support offered by the Innovation lab.

The next steps include formulating a letter of intent to collaborate with RAN lab based on 3 pillars;

  1. Partnership in technical development and co-development of solutions with faculty and students.
  2. Leveraging and tapping into RAN’s understanding of the regional challenges through utilization of research products since RAN effectively understands the current priority challenges in communities and is closer to target communities.
  3. Commercialization of innovative solutions in the pipeline at either labs

‘This was a productive discussion and we believe this will solidify into a great partnership to increase the impact, scale and sustainability of resilience innovations’ noted Deborah Naatujuna, RAN Engagement Manager. The RAN team has continued to explore opportunities with other development partners to grow innovation.