Presentations of new innovations expected to revolutionize the engineering sector were made during the 2021 International Conference on Sustainable Research and Innovation (SRI), organized by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology’s College of Engineering and Technology (COETEC) from October 6 to 7, 2021.
In her opening address, the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi said Kenya was in dire need of researchers who were willing to make a positive impact in the society.
The Vice Chancellor who was represented by Dr. Mutuku Muvengei, Acting Principal, CoETEC, noted that even though “there has been an increase in innovation activities targeted at tackling the societal challenges during the pandemic, it is necessary to work towards more patents and local products to replace the numerous imports…”
Speaking during the conference, the Chief Guest, Mr. Thuo Gacheru urged innovators to come up with ideas corresponding to the changing times that could revolutionize Africa and beyond, observing that most local industries source their materials abroad.
“The link between industry and academia is vital. We must collaborate and think outside the norm in order to create novel innovations which would promote the economic growth of our country.”
Mr. Gacheru who is the Managing Director, City Radiators, Kenya, called upon the government “to support the local industry through funding and favorable policies.”
While delivering his keynote presentation, Prof. Eyitayo Olatunde of Botswana International University emphasized the need for Africa to build a flourishing manufacturing sector to boost Africa’s contribution to the global arena which currently stands at one percent. This, he said, would in turn catalyze the continent’s development to first world prosperity.
“Some of the challenges we face include mismatch of manufacturing education curriculum with industrial competencies, few engineers, poor infrastructure which translates to expensive end products and low business productivity among others,” Prof. Olatunde noted.
Dr. Nguyen Trang of Ho Chi Mihn City University of Technology and Education, Vietnam, pointed out the need for industries to come up with solutions to issues such as the increasing air pollution which, he said, kills seven million people annually.
He highlighted some of the fuel-efficient technologies which could significantly reduce carbon emissions mostly emanating from motor vehicles.
During the virtual conference, themed: Sustainable Development through Innovation, Technology & Industry Linkage,” 36 research papers from over 10 universities were presented.
The papers revolved around several topics such as; energy efficiency, environmental management, as well as laser and nano technologies applicable in various industries that include medicine and agriculture.
In his closing remarks, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs Prof. Robert Kinyua lauded the innovative ideas presented at the conference, despite the fact that the research was carried out amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.