By Mark Kawalya
Phase one of the development of the Makerere University Innovation Hub has been concluded and the facility inspected by both the university’s management and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) the funding body.
The inspection took place late last month at the Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, where painted walls are set to house an array of different innovation studios. These include a dedicated textile room, two rooms for Computer-Aided Design, a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine chamber, an electronics space, a fabrication room, provisions for 3D printing, and a creative studio for photography, videography, and music production.
Vodo SESAME Solutions was contracted to carry out the design and construction of the innovation hub, and staff from the firm were present to coordinate the inspection.
Making his remarks during the inspection, Prof. Eria Hisali, who represented the Vice Chancellor, expressed appreciation for the work on the Innovation Hubs. He underlined the importance of strengthening innovation, as Uganda’s standing on the Global Innovation Index is still quite low.
According to the 2022 Global Innovation Index, Uganda ranked 119th out of 132 assessed nations. Prof. Hisali drew attention to the significance of patent registration in safeguarding intellectual property, urging innovators to make use of the university’s Intellectual Property Office.
Prof. Hisali thanked the UNDP for their assistance in constructing and equipping the Innovation Hub. “The hub will play a crucial role in nurturing innovative ideas among students and the wider community.”
Ms. Sheila Ngatia, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, expressed gratitude to the contractor and expressed enthusiasm about the widespread adoption of innovation hub initiatives across different countries.
“We have strategically chosen to provide support to African higher education institutions to drive their growth and harness their creative and innovative potential,” she stated. It’s noteworthy that UNDP’s efforts extend beyond Makerere University, as they also contribute to the funding of the ICT hub in Nakawa, aligning with their commitment to foster innovation and advance the country’s development.