Recognising that Research and Innovation are key drivers for national development and transformation to knowledge-based economies and societies, National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (NITA-U) http://www.nita.go.ug/ and Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) www.ranlab.org are desirous of collaborating to promote research and innovation.
We recognize the importance of partnerships and collaborations for leveraging resources, building power, strengthening the resilience innovation management process, and achieving meaningful impact and social change. In pursuit of promoting innovation activities in the region, RAN and NITA-U agree to partner in order to effectively tap into each organizations experience in nurturing and supporting innovations as well as tap into each other’s large networks of entrepreneurs, innovators, students, faculty, research scholars, private sector, government and development partners.
The purpose of the MOU between these two institutions signed on Friday June 17, 2016 at the RAN Office Premises is to facilitate the collaboration in Information Technology (IT), Research and Innovation. Objectives include;
- Undertaking joint innovation projects in the priority areas mutually agreed to both Parties and supporting innovation activities right from concept development, incubation, to commercialization;
- Jointly organizing seminars, conferences, congresses, workshops and symposiums.
- Creating scientific and researcher training networks
- Disseminating results and exchange of experience with respect projects jointly undertaken.
- Exchanging policy practices related to the activities that are being jointly carried out under this MOU.
- Jointly mobilizing of resources to support innovation from venture capitalists, investors, Government
- Jointly undertaking capacity building initiatives
- Conducting knowledge sharing activities;
- Utilization of Open data in innovations
- Any other activities that the Parties may agree upon in a bid to promote research and innovation.
During the signing of the MOU between NITA-U and RAN, Mr. James Saaka, Executive Director for NITA-U noted the need for all Innovation support initiatives to further support innovators to take their innovations to market. “It is not enough to offer financial support to the Innovators, how can we join hands and efforts to take some of these innovations to market? People should not move with their Innovations in their bags, let then get out there and clog the market” added Mr. Saaka. We should also teach innovators Intellectual Property awareness so that at any one time they are not afraid to share about their innovations because this is the only way they can get publicized but also attract additional support directed towards further developing these innovations but also accessing the market. As we engage with these innovators, let us also expose them to venture capital and financial management training so that they can learn how to create companies from their innovations. The ‘Innovations Center of Excellence’ which is already in the development pipeline will focus on some of the items highlighted above.
Prof. William Bazeyo, Dean Makerere University School of Public Health and RAN Chief of Party/Lab Director shared his happiness and content with the fact that we were all realizing the partnership between NITA-U and RAN. He noted that such partnerships aid research, communications, Innovation, Science and Technology among others. He also shared about that RAN’s core business is innovation congratulating the Markerere University RAN Team who have worked closely with several multidisciplinary experts to develop the ‘Next Generation Tent-a tent that breathes’ with support from USAID. The tent was successfully tested in Kampala and Adjumani districts in Uganda, awaiting final product tests scheduled to take place in Guinea early next month. The RAN Team is also already heavily involved in looking out for partners and potential end users of this tent to inform mass production. “We are the only country which has demonstrated that Ebola is nothing. We must be able to remain functional to help develop innovative solutions to address communities’ most pressing challenges” Prof. Bazeyo stressed as he also shared that Makerere University School of Public Health richly contributed to fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. This tent can be used as a rapidly deployable mobile hospital systems, offices, emergency service delivery units to mention but a few.
Several NITA-U, RAN Management and Staff, RAN Innovation Advisory Board member including the Media witnessed the signing of this MOU. Implementation of the activities highlighted in the MOU takes effect today Friday June 17, 2016. Details about NITA-U and RAN can be accessed on www.ranlab.org and http://www.nita.go.ug/ respectively.