By Duncan Mboyah
Kenya is establishing incubation and innovation hubs in learning institutions to catalyze commercialization of research.
Zack Kinuthia Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Education said that through Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA), the government has developed plans towards dissemination of research findings to the community beneficiaries.
“There is tremendous amount of research that has been funded in universities, that we’d want to see move towards commercialization,” Kinuthia told journalists in Nairobi.
Kinuthia noted that the government is also strengthening the institutional instruments that incentivize researchers to work towards commercialization.
He said that the government is open to collaboration with the private sector and development agencies to move forward the national innovation agenda.
“Private sector has the resources and links to consumers that need to be connected to the research that we aspire to commercialize,” he added.
The official noted that the government is in the process of ensuring that institutions and organizations have policies with legal basis that give effect to the various functions of the national system of innovation.
“We are fostering interactions among and within all sectors and actors in the economy by ensuring that there is an agreed set of goals and objectives which are in harmony with vision 2030,” he added.
Tonny Omwansa chief executive officer of KeNIA said that the agency has started KeNIA commercialization academy to support establishment and strengthening of trainers in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVETs), research centres and Universities.
Omwansa noted that the agency is supporting institutional frameworks in developing skills and give incentives to innovators on intellectual property to save them from exploitation.
“We are soon launching a digital platform to be known as innovation market place to link innovations, research to market, partners, funders, consumers to accelerate commercialization,” he added.
The official also noted that KeNIA has come up with an annual national commercialization forum as a summit that is aimed at linking researchers and innovators with investors, funders, industry partners and collaborators.
“We intend to adapt and respond to new needs and opportunities to achieving realistic targets for the innovation agency,” he added.
Omwansa observed that the agency is working on policies that are meant at linking science, technology and innovation with economic and employment growth.
KeNIA has trained more than 200 innovators and researchers on innovation and entrepreneurship and sustainably supported commercialization of more than 1,000 innovations from individuals, TVETs, Universities, research centres in the past five years.