National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) has disclosed that it is building an innovation bridge portal – an online system – to address bottlenecks inhibiting knowledge and intellectual transfer from researchers to the consumers of the research results.
NCST Chief Technology Transfer Officer Isaac Chingota said the portal will also a space for the industry (consumers of research results) to identify the areas the researchers can research on and, on the other hand, the researchers and innovators to put showcase their research results or innovations.
Chingota made the remarks in Lilongwe on Wednesday during stakeholders’ dialogue on the environment for innovation and commercialization in Malawi.
The event attracted participants from private companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and institutions of higher learning such as the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).
Chingota said their recent study revealed that there are system gaps that prevent the flow of knowledge and intellectual property between researchers and the industry.
“The aim of the study was to see what are the bottlenecks that are there that inhibit the researchers to transfer their research results to the industry for commercialization. So, in our study, we were trying to examine the infrastructure that is available, the policy framework and the collaboration that is there between the private sector and the universities and the researchers,” he narrated.
“Or on the other hand, the industry could access research results from the universities or even from the grassroots innovators for commercialization because, as we are saying as a country, we want to be a technology-led development by 2063. But that can only happen if there’s a working relationship or a simple way in which there is a knowledge and intellectual transfer from the research to the industry. So, we need to establish a system that bridges the gap between the industry and the research,” added Chingota.
Head of the Department of Agriculture and Food Systems at LUANAR, Kingsley Mikwamba, described discussions on by stakeholders’ on the environment for innovation and commercialization as crucial in promoting sharing of knowledge and intellectual property between researchers and the industry.
Mikwamba added that the dialogue would enable stakeholders to bang heads on what they need to do to ensure that research results and innovations are benefitting the larger population in Malawi.