The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has called on government, research institutions and corporate Ghana to do more help deepen the currently weak collaboration between industry and academia.
Seth Twum-Akwaboah, AGI’s Chief Executive told B&FT that: “Sometimes, at the initial stages, you usually have government or institutions that can raise long term capital taking up the research from academia and developing it to a commercial level. All of these must work together. That is why the collaboration between CSIR, industry, government, financial institutions and other partners are important.”
Speaking to the B&FT at the launch of a technology and innovation hub at the Institute of Industrial Research (IIR), one of the 13 institutes of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in East Legon, Accra, Mr. Twum-Akwaboah, added that with industry always looking for research and innovative ideas, it is in the nation’s best interest for more collaborations.
According to analysts, there is an existing gap between the kind of research academia produces and what industry needs to transform their businesses and also to meet society’s needs. This has over the years led to numerous calls for deeper collaboration between the two to spur economic growth.
Citing an example in the solar energy production space, Mr. Twum-Akwaboah explained that with CSIR-IIR developing a local solar technology system, a local energy production company could take up that research and develop solar on a commercial scale but only with the support of long-term capital and regulation.
“There must be an arrangement where another company will tap into the CSIR-IIR idea of solar production and develop solar energy commercially and supply to the grid or businesses directly. But for private sector players to come in, they must be backed with some financial support from banks and regulatory arrangements from the government to allow them to flourish. Then we have the solutions to help the economy develop,” he said.
The CSIR-IRI technology and innovation hub
The technology and innovation hub, according to Dr. Francis Boateng Agyeman, Director of the Industrial Research Institute (IRI), is aimed at achieving the dream of positioning the hub as the premier science technology and industrial innovation center in Ghana.
“The CSIR-IIR-Hub is a co-worker center aimed at providing entrepreneurs who want to work in a scientific, an affordable, creative and a collaborative co-working space. It would help the individuals to work on their projects, and collaborate with like-minded people inside the co-working facility,” he said, adding that the initiative was a niche industry yet to be explored and CSIR-IIR main service was to be creating co-working spaces fit for knowledge workers/freelancers and entrepreneurs.