Mak holds meeting to validate University - Industry stakeholder engagement guidelines under the PASUFONS project funded by EU-ACP EDULINK II Program
Participants listening to a presentation from the Project Cordinator - Prof. John H. Muyonga
Makerere University has held a consultative meeting to validate the proposed methodologies for university-industry interaction. The meeting was held on 29th April, 2016, at Royal Suites Hotel, Bugolobi in Kampala Uganda.
Makerere University in partnership with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Stellenbosch University received a grant from EU-ACP EDULINK II program to implement a project titled “Partnerships to strengthen university food and Nutrition sciences training and research in Eastern and Southern Africa” (PASUFONS).
This project seeks to enhance the contribution of Higher Education Institutions to food and nutrition security of communities in Eastern & Southern Africa.
One of the anticipated outputs for this project is the establishment of an effective framework for University-Industry interaction which will help industry receive research solutions to the problems they face.
The increased interaction will also enable students to work more closely on industry problems, hence increasing their relevance to the current market needs. In line with this, the project team consulted stakeholders and developed guidelines for university-industry interaction.
Speaking during the meeting, the Project Coordinator, PASUFONS Prof. John.H. Muyonga said the purpose of the meeting was to solicit views from the stakeholders on the proposed methodologies for university-industry engagement.
A cross section of meeting participants
“From the development point of view, it has been proved that the quantity and quality of research at the university influences economic development. So, the private sector, government and the university have a role to play”. He said.
Prof. Muyonga observed that for any country to develop, and fully utilize the natural resources, the main driver is research.
“The university plays a catalyst role in the development process. With this collaboration, universities will be perceived as being relevant and in turn can be supported to access funds”. He said adding that in this kind of engagement, students also stand to benefit.
A survey was conducted on how to enhance research and training among 111 respondents from Uganda, Kenya and Sudan. The respondents included industry managers, former students, manufacturers, and UNBS, UMA and university staff.
Recommendations packaged for universities for implementation included the need to create a liaison office at the university to coordinate activities between university and industries, receive queries from the stakeholders and to mobilise academics to respond to academic research. It was proposed that the liaison office develops a website for interaction and information provision and sharing.
The other recommendation was the creation of avenues for sharing information between university and the employers about problems being faced and identifying research and job opportunities.
It was also recommended d that universities needed to come up with a framework that rewards consultancy that is, incentives to motivate staff to conduct consultancies and to publish.
It was recommended that universities start running guest lecture series presented by seasoned industry personnel to enlighten students on practical implementations of what they study in an industrial/market setting, this to be complemented by field visits which will give students an opportunity to see and learn practical works are done in the industry.
The creation of boards at university and departmental level to handle university –industry engagement was also seen as necessary.
Story compiled by:
Ag. Communication Officer, CAES