Michael Tome–Business Reporter
CHINHOYI University of Technology (CUT) says local firms need to enter into more partnership arrangements with the institution and adopt some of its innovations, a development CUT says may help reduce capital costs and drive growth of businesses.
The State university has over the last few years produced a number of innovations that offer practical solutions to a broader spectrum of economic challenges faced by companies and the general populace in Zimbabwe.
However, the majority of the innovations locally have suffered natural deaths due to lack of uptake by the local businesses and Government departments alike, whereas some foreign companies have seen the value in the innovations.
CUT has been central in pursuing the innovation drive in line with the thrust of the education 5.0 mantra.
Resultantly, the institution has come up with some critical inventions, with a good number of them reportedly still in the pipeline while others are yet to be patented and would offer various solutions to challenges in the economy, including in agriculture.
The institution is currently working on the construction of a biogas digester, which is anticipated to produce 5 000 kilowatt hours of energy per day, the system will be supported by end products at cattle farms.
The innovation is central to Zimbabwe’s needs given the prevalence of unrelenting power cuts which are undoubtedly upsetting companies and industry uptime.
It has lately embarked on a lithium-ion battery production technology, anticipated to be commercialised in the short-term.
The initiative will be accomplished through acquiring lithium spodumene from Bikita Minerals while a hydrogen extraction project is anticipated to take off anytime soon.
Presenting at the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe’s (MAZ), last week, CUT’s marketing and public relations director Dr Musekiwa Tapera said the recently introduced agro-industrial park and innovation hub was a platform for companies to experiment or sponsor innovations that were critical in the day to day operations of their businesses.
“We encourage corporates to come, partner, and create synergies with our university. You can sometimes come and adopt inventions that are coming out from there, we have done brilliant IT projects, and some of our innovations have won awards after our students created excellent IT projects.
“So I would like to call on corporates to come and assist on what we are trying to do in terms of innovations,” said Dr Tapera.
In a related case, the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) said in March this year that it was earning over $25 million a month following the commercialisation of technologies it has invented in line with the education 5.0 thrust.
According to HIT vice chancellor Dr Engineer Talon Garikayi, the strategy of commercialisation of the institution’s innovations and inventions has been coming out very well but has not been shy of challenges, particularly in finding capital to create impact and volumes locally.
Resultantly, of the institution’s 18 technologies that could be commercialised, nine have made it to the industry, particularly the tap card which is now massively backed by CBZ and NMB, major players in the country’s financial sector.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Minister, Professor Amon Murwira recently indicated that local universities and colleges had up till now registered at least 500 patents or designs.
“Heritage-based education 5.0 policy is a constitutional dictate that our institutions of higher learning are responding to. It fosters agricultural, commercial, industrial, technological development and commercialisation of industry and commercial enterprises in order to empower Zimbabwean citizens,” said Prof Murwira.