Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye visits Mak projects under the Presidential Initiative for Science & Technology
Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye (In yellow tie) inspects the meat processing line at the Food Technology and Business Incubation Centre (FTBIC)
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye on 4th April, 2017 visited the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to familiarise with projects supported under the Presidential Initiative for Science and Technology.
The Minister visited the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering and specifically the Food Technology and Business Incubation Centre (FTBIC) and the bakery line - an extension of the FTBIC. Other colleges visited include College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal resources and Bio security & the College of Engineering Design, Art and Technology.
Assoc. Prof. William Kyamuhangire, Min Elioda Tumwesigye and Prof. John Muyonga touring the FTBIC
The purpose of the visit was to learn what Makerere University was doing in Technology & Engineering and discuss with the project Principal Investigators the opportunities for possible scaling up and commercialisation.
MOSTI is expected to play a coordinating role in guiding and enhancing the performance of Uganda’s national innovation system and harnessing its contribution to national development.
The minister and his team toured different processing lines in the FTBIC including meat packaging, fruit processing and bakery processing lines. The tour was guided by the Manager FTBIC Assoc. Prof. William Kyamuhangire.
“For those of you trying to cut weight and are trying to reduce how much food you take in, I advise you to take banana juice before meals because it kills appetite.”, Prof. Kyamuhangire said.
Hon. Minister checks some of the products made from the FTBIC at the food parlour
In the meeting held with Principal Investigators at the school Conference Hall, the Minister informed participants that the purpose of his visit was to learn what Makerere University was doing.
The Minister advised the university to introduce a policy on intellectual property management to give chance to lecturers to develop and protect their property.
“If a lecturer or student is called upon to develop something, give him a chance to do so.” He said.
He also urged university staff to translate products into commercialised outcomes saying that he wants the story to end with products in regional i.e. East African region, COMESA, international.
Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye assured Makerere staff that his team will make sure the products get on the market.
“For those of you who think we don’t follow up, we shall be inviting you for detailed discussions to see what available funding you have, what more funds you need and to produce what.” The Minister said.
The Minister pledged government commitment to invest more in research with the oil money. He inquired if every department could have its own company.
One of the incubatees at the FTBIC explains how meat is minced in the FTBIC
The Deputy Vice chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration (DVC (F&A), Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed the Minister to Makerere University and thanked all participants for honouring the invitation.
Prof. Nawangwe explained that this was the second phase of the Presidential Initiative for Science and Technology. He said projects in the first phase were in advanced stages for commercialisation while others were waiting for funding to help them commercialise.
The DVC (F&A) reported that researchers were doing a lot and putting to good use the money received from government.
“However, we lack the capacity to inform the world about our projects and what we do here so that maybe investors or the government can identify the projects that have the potential of commercialisation.” He said adding that the very first projects at food science to be supported by government have produced quiet many small companies and the potential was even bigger.
Prof. Nawangwe also encouraged the government, public and staff to invest in research and think positively to ensure that these projects are commercialised.
L-R: DVC (F & A) Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Permanent Secretary O.O Obong and Min. Elioda Tumwesigye during the meeting with the Principal Investigators in the conference room
“Considering all the money China has, it took them 20 years from their initial idea to actually come up with a commercial car. Therefore, we must invest for a long time if we are going to have an independent capacity for manufacturing.” Prof. Nawangwe advised.
Director, Directorate of Graduate Research and Training (DGRT) Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza said that Makerere is one of the institutions with well documented policies. The Professor pointed out that the University already had a policy on how to share and protect research ouput.
“I was in Nairobi for an innovation workshop where we talked about a number of issues and we are very concerned that many of these research outputs are not going to the final stage.” He said.
Prof. Nawangwe welcomed government commitment to fund innovations as a fine idea saying, the university has the capacity but has had problems with inability to fund the brilliant ideas.
The Dean School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering Prof. John Muyonga implored the Ministry officials to find ways of helping young people on grounds that some of them had already tasted the market and ready to commercialise.
The Permanent Secretary MOSTI, Omara Olek Obong expressed the need to push the ministry’s agenda forward through engagement with universities.
PS O.O Obong and Director DGRT Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi share a light moment after the meeting
“As a Ministry, we intend to review the National Technology and Science Policy which will involve all stake holders and will be open to any ideas.” Mr. O.O.Obong said adding that:
“I would like to engage you in why you think some countries are good at innovation and others are not.”
Interne, Communications Office, CAES