Innovative Biosystems for Self-sufficiency in Molecular Biology Reagents in Africa
Thematic Area: Food security and agribusiness
University: Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA)
Project Leader: Prof Esron D. Karimuribo
Collaborating Partners: Tanzania Engineering and Manufacturing Design Organization (TEMDO), Tanzania; KU Leuven, Belgium
Duration: 2 years
Education, research, and innovation in African Universities have a great role and potential to play in achieving the objectives of STISA-2024 and Africa’s socioeconomic transformation. Currently, the realization of this plans may not be forthcoming due to the disconnect between teaching, research, and commercial needs.
This project seeks to create an “Innovative University” ecosystem by bringing research, innovation, teaching, commercialization, and smart partnerships under one roof, within the existing teaching University environment at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). As a model, it aims to nurture an innovative biosystem that will create self-sufficiency in molecular biology reagents for use by the university’s postgraduate students and research scientists, first in Tanzania and then East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC). To this end, SUA has partnered with the Tanzania Engineering and Manufacturing Design Organization (TEMDO) and the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) of Belgium to develop pilot spin-off projects, beginning with the production of Taq DNA polymerase enzyme.
Through internal consultations and external engagement, the project aims to strengthen the Technology Transfer Office of the university to improve its innovation management capacity. In addition, it will strengthen the innovation policy environment to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship at SUA. Faculty and University leaders will be trained on innovation transformation in higher education to enable them to play an active role in the innovative transformation of the University.
As a result, the project seeks to develop an innovation ecosystem within SUA and replicate this in other Agricultural and Life Sciences Universities in EAC and SADC to contribute to growth of East Africa’s Bioeconomy in self-sufficiency in Molecular Biology Reagents in Africa.