Research should respond  to national challenges: ED President Mnangagwa unveils a plaque at the official opening of Midlands State University Incubation Hub while Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira (right) and Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Victor Muzvidziwa look in Gweru yesterday. — Picture by Justin Mutenda

Tendai Mugabe in GWERU
President Mnangagwa yesterday opened an innovation hub at the Midlands State University here where he challenged institutions of higher learning to reflect the new Government’s thrust that the country is open for business by promoting research and innovation.

Commonly known as the Incubation Hub, it is the first of six such facilities to be set up at State universities by August, espousing President Mnangagwa’s vision of industrialising the country and creating a middle income economy by 2030.

In his official address, President Mnangagwa, who is also the Chancellor of the university, said his administration was prioritising innovation in universities and colleges by committing one percent of Gross Domestic Product towards research.

He said institutions of higher learning should strive to produce graduates who could offer solutions to national problems.

“Teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and innovation must be a central part of our education,” said President Mnangagwa.

“We, therefore, need the appropriate inculcation of scientific and entrepreneurship ideas, premised on creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness to achieve our vision to be a middle income economy by 2030,” he said.

“Research must not be an end in itself or remain in archived journals, thesis and documentaries in our libraries. It must speak to our problems, be relevant, usable, practical and transform our lives to advance our lives and economic development.

“Research and development must further speak to our aspirations to modernise our agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, health and education sectors, among others.”

President Mnangagwa hailed MSU for being a pioneer by establishing an innovation centre in line with the Government’s vision.

Said President Mnangagwa: “This is a milestone achievement and transformative chapter of the university as it opens a centre specifically designated for research and technology development.

“It is indeed vital to realise that the rejuvenation and reconstruction of our economy will require a nexus between the theoretical and practical aspects of entrepreneurship and a high level of creativity and diligence.

“There is need for institutions of higher learning to create an enabling environment which develops and inclines our youths towards scientific strategies and solutions in line with our national aspirations as well as Sadc and African Union guiding principles.

“My Government is fully committed to the development of science and technology by ensuring that one percent of our Gross Domestic Product is channelled towards research and development. It is time to promote independence of thought.

“Let those with talent, who can innovate and provide smart solutions, be recognised and accordingly rewarded.”

President Mnangagwa said he was optimistic that full utilisation of the Innovation Hub would advance MSU’s research capacity and general scholarship.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said: “You (President Mnangagwa) are here basically to launch an industrialisation concept.

“As Africa, through Zimbabwe, we are moving forward and we are moving forward towards 2030 and in this journey we are banishing the poverty mentality.”

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