The Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Rita Akosua Dickson, has asked local industries to partner with the school in commercialising its research activities.
She believes partnerships with industry and investors would translate scientific and technological findings into impactful societal solutions.
Speaking at an exhibition event organized by the school recently, she said “The problems of society are the university’s problems and we go through research to profess solutions to the problems of humanity.
“If the academia conducts the research, we must ensure the outcomes are impactful to the people for whom the research are carried out,” she said.
She asserted that the majority of research activities conducted by the University would not achieve the purpose of impacting society; if they only end up on bookshelves and in journals.
She further argued that the partnership could help the country in attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“We are always mindful that we are taking the gown to town. KNUST believes in constructive partnership with industries. We, therefore, welcome the industries to commercialise the research outcomes so that they will be beneficial to the society,” she said.
On his part, Executive Director of AgriImpact Consult, Daniel Acquaye, disclosed that the reason why local industries fail to partner with universities is due to protracted channels of communication investors have to endure.
“In most instances, the private sector is frustrated with the universities for reasons such as they not being straightforward and taking long durations to solve issues. It is always not clear to the investor the channels to take when engaging with the research institutions.
“So, we need to foster the academia-industry partnership and to achieve such, there must be a facilitator. The facilitator would ensure that there will be a platform for engagement.
“This would help the private sector see what the universities or research institutions have,” he said.
Meanwhile, he has asked the school to be proactive and participate in trade shows so it helps generate interest from the private sector.
“The university must also be proactive. Whenever there is a street show in Ghana, the universities need to package their products and present themselves and their products at the trade shows.
“They have young people and can utilise social media to advertise and promote their innovative ideas and technologies. This would help generate interest by the private sector which would now begin to link up,” he said.