Cabinet Secretary Lauds Varsity’s Culture of Innovation

Jennifer Wanjiku (Left) explains to Dr. Kiplagat (Center) how the Biometric Land Registration software innovation works. Looking on is Prof Kahangi (Right) and Prof. Ngumi

Industrialization and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Mohamed Adan has lauded the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture of Technology’s Tech Expo for remaining a very vibrant platform for the identification and nurturing cutting edge innovations with the ultimate objective of exposing students’ innovations to the industry.

The Director of Industrial Information & Research Amb. Dr. Joseph Kiplagat, who represented the Cabinet Secretary as the Chief Guest during the opening of the “2013 Edition of the Tech Expo,” Thursday, October, 31, 2013, said: “Solutions to most of the challenges human beings face in the society lie in harnessing the inherent capabilities, innovations and talents of our youth” adding, “Such a forum was critical in launching the country toward the direction charted by Kenya Vision 2030.”

During the function that has attracted over 80 participating innovation projects in four categories namely; Software design, Embedded software, Agriculture, and Engineering, all running under the theme: Harnessing Technology and Innovation to Attain Industrialization, Sustainable Economic Growth and Food Security, Amb. Dr. Kiplagat revealed, Industrialization ministry has developed various policy documents critical in supporting the country’s Industrialization agenda.

Citing the draft National Industrialization Policy 2012, he said, the draft legislation was “a critical framework that would guide the industrialization process in the country, if enacted into law.” He stated, Incubation, Subcontracting and the Intellectual Rights policies would also play a crucial role in industrialization and attainment of Vision 2030.

The Director further reiterated that the legal framework will guide innovation endeavours in Universities, and encouraged universities to embrace tripartite collaborations with an aim of commercializing projects that come from the universities.

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga, in a statement read on her behalf by the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Administration, Planning and Development Prof. Victoria Ngumi, reiterated the active role played by the University in complimenting the Government’s provision of service delivery to stakeholders both locally and abroad, noting JKUAT is actively engaged in “establishing and enhancing collaboration with partners in various fields such as technology, mining industry and food security in countries like Australia, Japan and China.
Prof Imbuga noted, “The University’s Vision remains lucid and the Tech Expo is one such forum that has effectively enabled the University to remain steadfast in its motto of Setting Trends in Higher Education, Research and Innovation.”

The VC informed participants that the University has incubated some of the past winning projects with the aim of transforming them into fully operational and commercial products that could impact on the technological development of the country.

“It is my pledge, the University will continue to support participants in incubating their projects and look for further ways of improving the incubation process,” she averred.

Ann Gichomo and Morris Micheni demonstrate how the Wireless Vehicle Speed Control innovation project operates to Prof. Kahangi (in glasses), Dr. Kiplagat and Joan Mbugua of Kuza Biashara Limited

Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension Prof. Esther Kahangi gave a historical trajectory of the annual event that was born in 2011 through the initiative of students from JKUAT Linux User Group.

“Our objective was to expose and provide a forum through which students could interact with the industry to showcase their project ideas. The inaugural “Tech Expo” started with the showcasing of only 15 projects, growing to over the years to 50 projects last year to the present 80 projects,” she noted.

Prof Kahangi said, Tech Expo, besides providing a platform for exhibition of projects, also aims at creating a culture of innovation among University students in the country.”


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