UG-IAST Holds 5th Industry-Academia Interaction Series

One of the key drivers of national development is academia-industry collaborations. Such engagements have positive impact in finding solutions to local, regional and global challenges.

The Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) under the College of Basic and Applied Sciences is the University of Ghana’s institutional arm championing technologies developed from departments of the University of Ghana and, products/services from collaborators in industry and government.

At the recent 5th Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) Industry-Academia Interaction Series on the theme, ‘Industry-Academia-Government Connect: Harnessing the relationships in a pandemic’, participants called for a re-shaping and redirecting of the economy to give opportunities to the youth.

In a welcome address, Professor George Oduro Nkansah, Director, IAST, noted the timeliness and relevance of the topic.  He was optimistic of the interaction series providing the opportunity to reflect on the shortcomings of Industry-Academia-Government collaborations, whilst re-strategising approaches to promote the national interest.

Professor George Oduro Nkansah, Director, IAST

The Chair, Dr. Humphrey Anim Darke, President, Association of Ghana Industries, in his opening address asked for support from stakeholders to improve the collaboration between industry and academia which is facilitated by government to bring about structural transformation and stability for the citizenry.

Mrs. Gloria Opoku Anti delivered the Keynote address on behalf of Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, the Executive Chairman, Jospong Group of Companies, who was the Guest of Honour for the event. In his speech, he noted how the ground breaking research and innovations, being churned out from academics should grow into job-creating commercial products and services. He said, “In an innovation-driven economy, our economic vitality requires a significant increase in research and development”

Dr. Agyepong indicated that the government must also work with industry to better understand the scientific and technical demands of the next-generation and solutions. Thus, the need for funding for research that directly relates to solving Ghana’s essential needs. According to him, “Industry must work harder to see that their needs are communicated properly to university researchers to aid the appropriate design and use of research outcomes to solve identified problems”. 

Speaking on the need to sustain and expand an innovation-based economy, Dr. Agyepong encouraged cooperation amongst industry and universities in making the research and development system more seamless and efficient. 

A cross-section of the participants at the event

In furtherance of strengthening start-ups and moving innovative discoveries to market, Dr. Agyepong urged the universities to find ways of retaining the essential entrepreneurial contributions of graduate students after they complete their degree and called for an enhanced partnerships between the industry, academia and government.

Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, Director, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research; Mrs. Anna Armo-Himbson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Enterprises Agency and Mr. Stephen Gyasi-Kwaw, Country Founder/Managing Director, Global Entrepreneurship Network – Ghana shared the experiences of their respective organisations during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Darke stated that the engagements between the three parties, Industry-Academia-Government should lead to the development and implementation of a concrete policy, which will drive innovations from academia to business to create sustainable jobs. 

The Abibigromma group thrilled participants with cultural performances.

The vibrant question and answer session that followed, depicted participants’ desire to improve the lines of communication and collaboration with each other as stakeholders.

As part of the interaction series, there was a two-day exhibition, showcasing technologies developed from departments of the University of Ghana and, products/services from collaborators in industry and government.

Participants in the exhibition included members of the University community, other public institutions and the general public.