“The Nust-Innovation Technology Centre (ITEC) will be a platform from which to gather information about new innovations.
“Then strategic decisions can be made to approach the owners of those innovations and explore possibilities for collaborative research agreements to bring the innovation in,” said Professor Stanley Kowalski, director of the International Technology Transfer Institute at the University of New Hampshire’s School of Law.
Kowalski mentored Zimbabwean lecturer Aleck Ncube during the latter’s time as a Fulbright fellow in the United States, where they discussed the concept of ITEC. If formed, ITEC would be the first full-fledged Technology Transfer Office (TTO) in Zimbabwe.
He visited Zimbabwe under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property (WIPO) Developmental Agenda for Developing countries.
He conducted lectures on Patent Information Searches and Patent Databases. Professor Kowalski was also one of the keynote speakers at Harare’s recently held African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) week-long workshop that attracted representatives from 16 countries in Africa.
Kowalski said while in the US, they had held meetings with international foundations and institutions that expressed interest in helping Zimbabwe become a knowledge-based economy.
“It has worked in other countries like Brazil and India. There is a lot of interest in developing countries, including promoting women to get involved,” said Kowalski.
During his stay in the US, Ncube worked with various universities and institutions working on the subject and hopes to work with other institutions of higher learning to develop a network that would take Zimbabwe towards a knowledge economy.
“Zimbabwe is a small country. We do not want a situation where one university is doing its own thing and another university doing its own thing, so we said we need to establish this innovation center at Nust with branches in other universities… All these universities are coming up with patentable products,” Ncube said.
Ncube said they met with officials in the Ministry of Science and Technology Development and are working with the ministry to formulate a national intellectual property policy for Zimbabwe as the country lags behind countries like Rwanda and Kenya.
Nust established a technology park, Technopark, which has developed several innovations for industry including a timing device for monitoring pay phones and a nanotechnology processor for purifying water. — ZimPAS©.