Pamela K. Muhongo- Lusaka, Zambia
Within Southern Africa and the rest of the continent, the commercialization of innovations, technologies and viable projects is an arduous and costly process. Thus, innovation support organisations such as the National Technology Business Centre (NTBC) in Zambia is mandated to speed up this process and values the cultivation of synergic partnerships with similar organisations working in the same space. NTBC has linked up with the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) from South Africa and together are implementing the Bilateral Research & Development Scale-up Fund, to provide funding to joint research projects between researchers from Zambia and South Africa. In 2018, these two partners launched a Call for Proposals targeting researchers previously funded by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) from Zambia and the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. The key objective of targeting these researchers is to facilitate the scaling up of the research outputs from joint funding by Zambia and South Africa. Out of the 19 research projects that were eligible and were invited during the call, eight proposals were received from both Zambian and South African researchers.
After the evaluation process, four projects were selected for funding towards up scaling of the research out puts. The four successful projects are the Lazer Forming Alloys Project, the Quaternary Polymer Solar Cell, the Drug Delivery through Nano Copper Particles and an Air Quality Monitor Project. As a kick off and to initiate project implementation, NTBC & TIA recently hosted a project definition and validation workshop in Lusaka, to bring the stakeholders and selected projects together. The workshop provided a good platform by bringing the researchers and the funders together in order to have an in-depth understanding of the individual projects, the funders expectations and the opportunity for research teams to discuss the implementation schedules. The projects are expected to impact local and regional ecosystems and this partnership is a prime example of how synergic partnerships which focus on collaboration and resource mobilization are geared to be the new face of development in SADC and beyond.
Participants of the Project Definition and Validation Workshop in Lusaka, hosted by NTBC ad TIA