JKUAT, KAPS Collaborate to Enhance Industry-Academia Linkage

Putting pen to Paper. From left, sitting: Mr. Saronge, Eng. Mwandia, Prof. Ngumi and Prof. Abukutsa. From Left Standing: KAPS Legal Officer, Ms. Ann Buluma, Ms. Nyambura and Dr. Mwikamba

Technology transfer from both research and academia institutions is important for the commercial application of research. However, due to poor linkages with industry, very few research outputs developed by academia are transferred to industry for commercialisation.

To address this challenge and enhance commercialisation of innovations being churned out by academia, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and the Kenya Airports Parking Services (KAPS) have signed a five year collaboration agreement.

The agreement will see the two establishments pursue joint research and development, and collaborate in Intellectual Property (IP) asset management thus addressing the explosive growth of intangible assets and their impact in society.

Under the collaboration, KAPS has already commenced equipping two laboratories in Big Data and Next Generation Technology which will be domiciled in the College of Pure and Applied Sciences (COPAS) and College of Engineering and Technology (COETEC) respectively.

Speaking during the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony, the Chairman KAPS, Eng. Eric Mwandia said he was confident that the collaboration will enhance the IP asset management of both JKUAT and KAPS thus boosting the commercialisation tenets of research outputs that academia grapples with.

“With the resources in the two laboratories, I am confident that we can apply the research outputs jointly developed to provide tangible solutions to our local problems,” said Eng. Mwandia.

Exchange of signed documents

KAPS will also offer industrial and exchange programmes opportunities for JKUAT staff and students with the aim of sharing and furthering the technical know-how of both parties.

KAPS Managing Director, Mr. Bonnyventure Saronge said the partnership will strengthen industry-academia symbiotic collaboration, where KAPS will benefit from early access to untapped talent and the JKUAT students will enjoy increased opportunities for learning and early exposure to the industry work environment.

While welcoming the team to JKUAT, Vice Chancellor Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, guaranteed the KAPS team that they had chosen the right partner who is committed to the partnership. She acknowledged that although the linkage between academia and industry exists, it was not optimal, hence, the poor commercialisation of innovations in universities.

“I hope the collaboration will give birth to patentable innovations that are not only beneficial for the two organisations but also the country at large,” said Prof. Ngumi.

Among the many activities of the collaboration is a hackathon dubbed Hatch Hack slated for November 8, 2019. The hackathon, an annual event for the period of the collaboration, is designed to bring out the best of ideas and brightest of students to solve problems through the use of technology such as Internet of Things, Automation, App development and Data Analytics.

Commemorative group photo after the signing ceremony

The best students of the hackathon will get the opportunity for a one year incubation contract with KAPS partner companies.

In attendance during the signing ceremony were Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa, Principal COPAS, Prof. David Mulati, Principal COETEC, Dr. Hiram Nderitu, Director Grants Office, Prof. Naomi Maina Director Linkages, Dr. Kaibui Mwikamba and Chief Legal Officer, Ms. Vivian Nyambura among others.

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