BY MOSES SSERWANGA
The Ministry of Science , Technology and Innovation (ST&I) – Office of the President in partnership with the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) is organizing the Uganda Science Innovators’ Awards to celebrate Ugandans’ innovation efforts and inspire young innovators to activate their abilities and contribute to the technology development of the country.
Ministry officials have told ugandaupdatenews.com – a leading Uganda online news publisher -that the Uganda Innovation Awards- the first of a kind to be held in the country ,corresponds to the ST &I Minister Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero’s reflection on Uganda’s Aspirations and Pathways to Vision 2040 in her famous saying; “Africa needs African minds to solve African problems.”
The Awards have been positioned to align with the National Science Week and the World Science Day for Peace and Development Celebrations commemorated annually on 10th November.
President Yoweri Museveni -a strong champion for home grown innovations- to offer solutions to local problems is expected to be the guest of honor at the Awards ceremony on 10 Nov 2021 -where winners will receive cash prizes geared at supporting them to improve their prototypes, register Intellectual Property (IP) and support their incubation leading to commercialization.
“Winners of the Uganda Innovation Awards will also enjoy practical three to six months technical training to improve their skills and enhance their capabilities,” officials stated .
Although many Ugandan innovations supported by President Yoweri Museveni for over t wo decades now- have not survived the “valley of death” to commercialization , Uganda’s automakers and champions of the green mobility technologies in Africa – Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) is one shining example that Ugandan Innovators can have their products commercialized and cement Uganda’s industrial revolution.
Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) which had a humble beginning at Makerere University’s College of Engineering as an extra -curricular activity under the stewardship of Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri -Togboa and Eng. Paul Isaac Musasizi -with the support of President Museveni is now set to produce vehicles locally -on a commercial large scale .
In order to have many more innovators of KMC’s ilk -the new Minister of ST&I Dr. Musenero has hit the road running fast – setting up ST&I national think tanks -not only to inspire local innovators but to also coordinate their efforts and have their innovations commercialized -in line with government of Uganda’s industrialization policy .
The KMC success story has been about a high-level of resilience ,commitment and determination . They have demonstrated that if Ugandan innovators are focused and united they will be at the forefront of the country’s industrialization drive during the 4th industrial revolution.
This is the same spirit under which the Uganda Innovation Awards are being organized . Several categories have been identified and earmarked for the awards and these include : Pathogen Economy; Engineering; Mobility; Beauty and Apparel; Digital Economy; and Agro-Security.
To augment the position of scientists in the country an award tied to the best scientist will be given. These categories were chosen on the basis of the findings from consultative meetings undertaken by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations with government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the identification of priority industrial value chains for Uganda. Twelve winners will be obtained from two age-groups i.e.above 18 (18+) and under 18(>18), one from each category.
Uganda Innovation Awards will be a national event and the biggest ever
Organizers have intimated that the Uganda Innovation Awards will be a truly national event where innovators will be allowed to showcase their innovations and use social media platforms to appeal to Ugandans for their votes . “It is going to be a transparent process involving the Ugandan people directly . Information about the awards is going to be translated in the local languages and circulated widely . Ugandans should be proud of their country and fellow -countrymen who are innovating – that good innovations and products can be produced in Uganda and by Ugandans,” officials asserted.
The writer is a Media and Communications Consultant and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda
Pathogen Economy: The award in this category will go to the innovators with innovations targeting disease control and management. The innovations will include; vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, biomedical ICT and Equipment.
Engineering: This award will aim at recognizing innovators with technology related innovations in renewable energy, mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering as well as civil engineering and chemical engineering among others.
Mobility Economy: The award recognizes innovations that augment the national mobility ecosystem along the develop, make, sell and use tiers. These should be towards the development of environmentally friendly, efficient, inclusive and safe mobility solutions.
Beauty and Apparel: Innovators with innovations in cosmetology and textile processing will be earmarked for this award. It will look into innovations in skincare products and hair products for cosmetics as well as fabric and thread production, fabric recycling, textile production technology and value addition for existing raw materials.
Digital Economy: The digital economy awards will be given to innovators who demonstrate high aptitudes in designing information and communication technologies and applications that ease transmission and knowledge dissemination.
Agro-security: This award will value innovations in agro processing, agribusiness, soil conservation, agriculture technologies, food preservation and safety applications among others. An Innovator with practical models, devices and applications adding value to food propagation, value addition and food conservation will be awarded.
Women Innovators Award: This award will go to a seasoned woman innovator. They should have registered at least a patent and at least have a product on the market.
STI Science Ambassador: This award will recognize the most outstanding scientist in Uganda for their contribution to science innovation and technology. They should have registered at least 5 patents and at least have a product on the market.
Objectives of the Award
- To recognize outstanding innovators and innovations
- To earmark innovations for scaling up and commercialization purposes
- To create visibility of Ugandan capabilities in technology development and innovation
- To inspire Ugandans especially youth into technology development and innovation
The awards will be;
- Cash prizes that will be tagged to efforts to support the innovators to improve their prototypes, register their innovations/ patents, support them with incubation, commercialize their products.
- Practical 3-6 months technical training to improve the innovators’ skills be given in the form of incentives to upgrade the capabilities of the innovators. A practical approach will be employed that should offer measurable outcomes.
Steps to follow when submitting the nomination of your innovation (either by self -innovator or other person- nominator)
- Record a video of the innovator explaining the innovation in strictly not more than 2 mins (120 seconds)
- The recording could be shot using a phone or any other gadget that can perform the service
- The video quality should be excellent and the sound audible.
- Share the video on email ;Innovation.firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: +256414670288
- Details of the Innovator which should include;
- Phone Number
- Category of innovation
- The deadline for submission of nominations is 20th October 2021 at midnight
- Vetting and shortlisting of successful nominees: 21st -24th October, 2021
- Voting of shortlisted nominees: 25th October to 8th November, 2021
- Voting will end on 8th November, 2021 at Midnight
- Announcements will be on T.V, local radios, newspapers and social media platforms
- The shortlisted candidates will face a panel of Judges who will give a verdict based on the presentation, capability and knowledge of their innovation.
- The top three candidates per category per age group will be shared with the public for final voting.
- Media profiling for each innovator will be done as well as that of the STI Science Ambassador.
- All successful winners including the Science Ambassador will be given a slot to exhibit their innovations at the World Science Day Celebrations on 10th November, 2021.
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