What options for enhanced public-private sector linkages and commercialisation of research?

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On 15 to 17 October 2014, Dr. Maurice Bolo, the Director Scinnovent Centre was in the Netherlands to participate in an international forum on  ‘Unleashing Science, Technology and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security’. With emphasis on Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific region, the event which attracted policy makers, senior scientists, innovators, scholars and private sector representatives was organized by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

Delivering a presentation on ‘enhancing commercialization of research from universities and public research institutes’, Dr. Bolo emphasized on the need for governments to rethink the policy paradigms around research commercialization for enhanced uptake of research and technology from universities and public research institutes. The presentation based on findings from an ongoing research project implemented by the Scinnovent Centre with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) revealed that only 1.6% of patents and 10% of utility models filed in Kenya came from public universities. Additionally, it points out that only about 18% of firms in Kenya highly use universities and public research institutes as sources of innovation while 35% of these firms do not.

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Which way for enhanced commercialization of research and innovation?

In his conclusion, Dr. Bolo emphasized that major changes need to occur for enhanced commercialization of innovations in universities and public research institutes.

  1. Convergence of modern and indigenous science
  2. Methodological change- this includes participation, contribution, role sharing and benefit sharing with universities.
  3. Organizational change- including reward structure and incentive scheme
  4. Personal change- scientists need to also develop an entrepreneurial mindset and acquire such skills