Strengthening the linkages between Universities/ public research institutes and the private sector in Africa

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As countries transition into the knowledge-based economy, the role of knowledge is becoming ever more imperative. Consequently, its generation, sharing, application and translation into economic or social use has become a key determinant in the competitiveness of firms, organizations and nations. Policymakers and development practitioners are now paying a keen attention into the processes of knowledge production and their linkages with the productive sectors.

In Africa, numerous studies have shown however, that there exist minimal linkages between the public sector research organizations , and the knowledge users (mainly the private sector). This weak linkage undermines the ability of the public sector research to create insights of direct relevance to society through engagement with communities in which they are located.

A new study by The Scinnovent Centre with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) seeks to explore the factors that enable or constrain the translation of public sector research outputs into commercial products, and share lessons and best practices that can be adapted and adopted within African contexts. This study will  interrogate the impediments facing commercialization structures (competencies and skills); the role of governance (institutional policies, habits, culture, practices and power relations) as well as the role of intellectual property rights regimes on the appropriateness of public sector research.

By comparing cases from Kenya and Rwanda, the study will elucidate the important role of policy, institutional and governance contexts on the uptake of research outputs. In the overall, the study seeks to provide a framework that can be adapted by the universities/public research institutes in developing strategies and action plans to enhance uptake of research outputs and strengthen their linkages with the private sector. More specifically, the information generated will provide research managers with a better understanding of the challenges facing commercialization structures; researchers will be better appraised on the various International Property (IP) appropriation strategies and which IP forms better meets the needs of the private sector and finally, policymakers will have a better understanding of the influence of the country’s IP laws on innovation, commercialization and competitiveness.

The study will be carried out in partnership with the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) in Kenya, and the Rwanda Commission for Science Technology and Innovation.

Download the project brochure here: Project Brochure_scinnovent

Visit our website for more information on this project