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    Sunday, 26 November 2017

    ZOU sets up Institute of Research, Innovation and Technology Enterprise


    TAWANDA HOMBA

    HARARE – The Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) is turning itself into an institution that pay particular attention to research that addresses in a practical way the social, economic and scientific problems that are key to the country's development.
    In that vein ZOU is reconfiguring its Centre for Research and Innovation to the Institute of Research, Innovation and Technology Enterprise (IRITE) whose focus is on generating applied research aimed at solving community problems.
    The move was announced by ZOU's Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Albert Ncube at the institute's 15th Graduation Ceremony on Friday last week.
    He told former President Mugabe who was the Guest of Honour that the reforms to do with the introduction of applied research were given the green light following wide consultations with key stakeholders including the University Senate and Council.
    IRITE will have three departments namely Basic Research and Publications; Applied Research, Innovation and Technology Management and the third one is Enterprise Promotion, Intellectual Property Management and Funding.
    Prof Ncube said the new approach by the University was also an effective way of addressing the goals of Government programmes like STEM and ZIMASSET. 
    "Your Excellency and Chancellor, the need for hands-on research in our country cannot be overemphasised. Driven by this rather obvious imperative, the Zimbabwe Open University has moved with speed to reconfigure its Research Unit so as to ensure that the research we do seeks to solve practical problems and develop innovative technologies.
    "To concretise the model, ZOU in 2017 transformed the Center for Research and Innovation to an Institute of Research, Innovation and Technology Enterprise whose focus is on generating applied research aimed at solving community problems," said Prof Ncube.
    He said the idea to transform the University into a hub of research came following a trip which was an eye-opener that was conducted by vice-chancellors from nine other universities led by the Minister of Higher Education, Professor Jonathan Moyo. The trip took the delegation to India, Malaysia, Singapore, Cuba, South Korea and Brazil.
    He said after the trip he saw the need to transform ZOU and relook at the way the University taught its students, the way it carried out research, the programmes and curricular offered, the destination of graduates, marketing activities and the way to govern the institution.
    He said that the trip proved to him that scientific knowledge is a pre-requisite for solving each country's social and economic challenges.  In pursuit of the transformation, ZOU had to alter its three-year strategic plan (2018 – 2020) and build it around five areas of technology, research and innovation; infrastructure; service quality and resource capability.
    The graduation done under the theme modernisation, industrialisation and sustainable economic development saw 3 339 students graduating with 52% being women. He disclosed that the University was earning over $300 000 in foreign currency a year from foreign students.
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