Expert Advice Enriches Innovative Ideas

Dr. Alobo (right) makes his presentation.

University researchers and innovators have been advised to shun being over protective and defensive of their research and innovation ideas especially the shortcomings pointed out in their projects so that their innovative ideas could benefit from the input of expert entrepreneurs who are better placed to understand how the market and entrepreneurial ecosystem works.

“Scientists and researchers are not the best at marketing their ideas and innovations. That aspect needs an entrepreneur,” explained Dr. Moses Alobo, a Programme Manager at Grand Challenges Africa, a project of the Africa Academy of Sciences (AAS), when he spoke to staff and students at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Thursday, November 1, 2018.

In his presentation titled: “Innovations and Innovations Support Beyond Research” that drew from the Grand Challenges experiences in supporting innovators, Dr. Alobo urged the audience that included JKUAT student innovators, researchers and Africa ai-Japan Project staff, to be receptive to advice. He moved to debunk the misplaced belief among scientists and innovators that funding is their main bottleneck to becoming successful innovators, emphasizing that the problem lies with the very innovative idea.

A section of students and staff follow the presentation

“You could be having a good idea but not good enough to move to the next step, said Dr. Alobo, to a well-attended seminar presentation, the ninth in a series of innovations incubation seminars organized under the Africa-ai- Japan Project – aimed to spur the spirit of high-brow research inquiry and innovative thinking in efforts towards positioning and transforming JKUAT into an innovations entrepreneurship university.

“Funding is not the problem. The problem lies with your idea. What is it that you want to do? Funding sources are many. The most important thing is: do you have an outstanding idea?” posed Dr. Alobo, to the acknowledgement of the largest audience ever to turn up for the seminar series. He informed his audience that there are over 50 different post-doctoral opportunities under different programmes and encouraged JKUAT researchers to participate when the call opens.

Prof Naomi Maina moderates the discussion session.

Dr. Alobo also outlined various support systems in place at the Grand Challenges particularly the tripartite arrangement under which the organization is mandated to recognize excellence through the AAS prestigious fellowship and award schemes; provision of advisory and think-tank functions for shaping Africa’s science, technology and innovation strategies and policies, as well as implementation of key STI programmes addressing Africa’s development challenges.

He urged students and staff to approach different foundations that offer entrepreneurship training opportunities and to ensure their innovative ideas and energies are focused by first establishing the key priority research areas being funded by various organizations.

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