Collen Murahwa Herald Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) has forged a partnership with the Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) to buttress the STEM initiative.
The partnership comes with a $150 000 token for two successful projects, with each getting up to $75 000.
Speaking to The Herald last week on the sidelines of intensive business training for innovators, Zimdef CEO Mr Fredrick Mandizvidza said the projects were part of the STEM initiative.
“As you are aware, Zimdef is driving the STEM initiative, as part of the Ministry (of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development)’s advancement of its mandate of science and technology development,” he said.
“You will also understand that Government’s thrust is value addition and beneficiation of local resources to unlock value, hence the collaboration.”
Mr Mandizvidza said the collaboration helped in creating employment and encouraging local solutions.
“The initiative helps in developing high-end scientific skills underpinned by research and development in biological sciences and by supporting such start-ups as these ones,” he said.
“We are contributing to job creation and poverty alleviation, while advancing Government’s big vision of industrialisation and modernisation.
“The initiative also seeks to encourage collaborative research at regional level to exploit scientific synergies within the region through pooling resources together for skilled human capital development.”
The projects would be implemented within 12 months and project members would receive intensive training to enhance their business skills.
“For this call, at least two SADC (SANBio) member states should collaborate in finding a solution and one of the countries in the consortium must be Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Project teams must include researchers from the academia, business experts and other experts. Project team members will receive intensive training to improve their business skills.”
Zimdef and SANBio made a call for proposals, inviting interested innovators with projects at a prototype phase, leading to commercialisation.
The projects are required to provide an innovative and scientific solution to the human health or human or animal nutrition sectors and should have an impact on local and regional communities.