By our correspondent
The 3rd Enhancing Energy Accessibility and Efficiency through sustainable Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) support National Networks with regional dimensions in East Africa (ENRICH) training workshop “Project & Intellectual Property Management" was hosted by Mzumbe University at Dar es Salaam Campus College, in early October 2015. The workshop was co-organized by Mzumbe University and the University of Alicante (UA); coordinator of the ENRICH project; and the project co financed by the European Commission on the framework of the ACP--‐European Union Co-‐operation Programme in Science and Technology.
The workshop brought together more than 25 people; mostly representatives from the ENRICH Higher Education Institution (HEI) partners from Uganda (Makerere University); Kenya (MOI University and African Virtual University) and Tanzania (Mzumbe University). As well as representatives from the Directorate of Research Management and Development (DRMD) of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kenya, the Tanzanian Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) and East African Higher Education Network on Sustainable and Energy Efficient Campus Development (SUCCEED) .
The objective of the 3rd workshop was to introduce successful Project Management and provide an introduction to Intellectual Property Rights covering dissemination/publication issues, licensing agreements and patent strategy in R&D projects. The workshop rallied around the following main topics namely:
- Techniques and tools for process improvement: Six-sigma;
- Management of EU funded Projects;
- Intellectual Property: a tool for protecting innovation in Universities;
- Introduction to IPRs;
- Patent protection for Innovation;
- Publication, exploitation and other practical issues.
Vicente Zafrilla; Noelia López from University of Alicante, Spain and Pablo López from Glasgow Caledonian University, UK supplemented the workshop with presentations and expertise on intellectual property, which resulted in a stimulate dialogue and providing good practice examples. Among other things, the result of the workshop was to understand why Intellectual Property Rights are relevant in the day-by-day innovation management, with a special focus on Universities.
On the third day Mzumbe University played host to the 1st international conference, which brought together again researchers from Higher Education Institutions, top management, researchers, project managers from energy industries in the energy sector and environment field, policy makers, professional (Apart from above representatives mentioned, others who joined during the international conference were The Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) and the Tanzania Academy of Sciences and the United Nations Development Organization (UNIDO).
The presentations revealed the importance of energy access for the balance development of world economies having been acknowledged at a global level. A revelation that that has also been asserted by a several studies across countries, illustrating that there is a link between energy consumption and economic growth. Dating back to the United Nations Rio de Janeiro Conference where it was noted among other things that since 1992, insufficient progress in sustainable development had been aggravated by the global energy crisis, particularly in developing countries, and urged countries to address challenges of access to sustainable modern energy services. Thus far The United Nation Economic Commission for Africa 2014 urged EAC partners to engage in exchange of information and experience to constraint, through workable strategies implemented in the Eastern Africa sub-region and beyond. At the regional level, a policy has been enforced; that is the EAC Treaty under Article 101 which requires the partner States to adopt policies and mechanisms to promote the efficient exploitation, development, joint research and utilization of various energy resources available within the region.
Dialogue from presentations revealed that there is a need to enhance availability of qualified and well trained in HEIs for energy STI activities in the region-PhD training; there is a necessity at increasing management capacity in universities and research institutions; In addition the presentations revealed that funding constraints are a common denominator; all of which entails limited capacity in research. Furthermore round table discussions brought about discussions on the importance of STI support services to Energy Accessibility and Efficiency. Resulting in exchanging ideas and promoting effective collaboration among the participants; Enhancing awareness of the importance of STI support services for an operational and effective management of research and innovation energy access and efficiency; Strengthening cooperation links in the energy sector at national and regional level among academia researchers, industries and policy makers and collaborating with international entities to mention a few.