The establishment of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) follows a trend in academic institutions across the world for interdisciplinary applied research which recognizes that, the problems of development require different science, technology and innovation disciplines working together.
The objective in establishing the Institute of Applied Science and Technology is to mobilize UG faculty and their partners, as well as resources to deliver knowledge, innovation and technology to industry in a targeted manner to facilitate their further development. It is the vision of the Institute to create incubators that enable for proof of concept within different areas of research and up scaling activities, as well as specialist laboratories targeted at specific problems of development. Even though many departments have informal relationships with enterprises, IAST brings together experts from different disciplines (“IAST consortia”) and their students to work with enterprises to solve problems affecting their development.
In 2012, the Institute organized its first Industry- Academia forum during which five priority areas for industry-academia collaboration were identified. These areas are;
1. Food processing, agribusiness and material technology
2. Infrastructure development, water and sanitation
3. Energy and climate change mitigation
4. Natural resource management and sustainable exploitation
5. Health and traditional medicine development and manufacture
To focus and better understand the specific needs of industry within the different sectors, a second forum was organized in 2014 targeted at food processing, packaging and agri-business. Several needs were catalogued on the basis of which the Institute has begun to put together the UG consortium on agriculture value chain. The University of Ghana has great strengths in this area with research and teaching departments directly engaged in breeding, agronomy, postharvest, agricultural engineering, nutrition and food science, food process engineering, material science etc which generate knowledge that can be of immense benefit to various stakeholders. A number of fora will be scheduled to focus on and identify specific needs of the other four priority areas. The Institute is also sensitive to the demand of industry that future fora should be held in other parts of the country. The five areas that have been identified are not exhaustive and as the Institute continues to engage with industry it is expected that other developmental areas will be included.