The British Council Innovation for African Universities (IAU) programme has launched activities for Phase 2 of the Ghana Bioenterprise Innovations Partnership (GBIP) project with the aim of developing a knowledge-exchange mentorship programme that will equip students and young bioscientists in Ghana with the know-how to translate biomedical research into commercial solutions.
The £100,000 one-year project is being implemented by University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) as the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Lead University, University of St. Andrews as the UK Lead University, and University of Cape Coast (UCC) as the SSA Ecosystem Player in response to Africa’s teeming unemployed youth population.
Speaking at the launch, Professor Harry Tagbor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UHAS, lauded the project for trying to create employability opportunities for African students and young researchers, noting the gap between academia and the industry, as well as the discrepancy between education certificates and employment opportunities:
“It is common to find that university graduates are often not in graduate work, which suggests that a university degree from a reputable university is no longer enough by itself to guarantee career success. Employers frequently express concerns that academic institutions are not doing enough to prepare their students for the world of work.”
The Pro-VC called on universities to take up the challenge and “consider how they can prepare students adequately for full-time employment by connecting them with global employers and ensuring they develop the necessary skills and knowledge” for graduate roles around the world. He also encouraged universities to inculcate in their syllabi a Personal Development Planning programme that helps students at all levels reflect on their own learning, performance and achievement, and to map out their personal, educational and career development paths.
Dr. Kwabena Duedu, Principal Investigator of the SSA Lead University, outlined the various modules UHAS as the Lead University has rolled out in ensuring the success of the project, including, organising online biomedical courses delivered by project partners aimed at deepening entrepreneurial mindsets of participants; hands-on workshops organized by SSA partner UCC; a trainer-of-trainers workshop delivered by Lean Consultancy of the University of St. Andrews for six members of the SSA partner teams; Implementation of IP Policy; and Translational Accelerator programme in partnership with Tractilis BioLabs LBG and Midori Naturals.
Dr. Wilbur Sibiti, Principal Investigator, University of St. Andrews, applauded the project saying, “It is time for Africa to innovate and provide its own solutions to its own problems.”
The project also launched its website www.iaugbip.org to offer more insights into its work and sustainability.