AAU Research Week-“Centres of Excellence for the National Development”

Addis Ababa University (AAU) conducts exhibition for new technologies, job and book fairs in its Research Week led by College of Health Sciences with the theme of “Centres of Excellence for the National Development” at the main campus from the 9th -12th of May 2022.

Different officials including the Vice President for the Office of Research and Technology Transfer of the University, dedicated to the achievement of the Research Week, conducted press release in the eve of the exhibition as follows:

Mitke Molla PhD), Vice President (VP) of AAU Research and Technology Transfer, said the Research Week has been part of the academic program for the past four years and has continued to celebrate one week in May as a full Week of Research.

During this year’s Research Week, research results will be presented; newly discovered technologies will be displayed; book fair and job fair (by which students and employers meet) will be held, Dr. Mitike highlighted.

According to Dr. Mitike, for the past four years, different colleges of AAU have led the Research Week with different themes: “Knowledge Generation for National Prosperity” 2019, led by College of Natural Sciences and “Research for National Development” in 2021 through College of Social Sciences.

This year’s (2022) edition of the Research Week, led by College of Health Sciences, is dedicated to “Centers of Excellence for the National Development,” Dr. Mitike added.

Dr. Mitike further stated, “There are about nine centres of excellence in AAU. The six are dominantly active; three of them are supported by the World Bank working on knowledge and capacity building in water resources, railway services and clinical trials.”

“Ethiopia is now serving as a networking hub for these centres of excellence as their service delimitation is at continental level throughout Africa. The centres have graduated 133 in PhD and 451 in Master’s levels, of whom 21 PhD and 124 the MA’s are from Africa outside Ethiopia so far,” according to the VP.

AAU is one of the 16 African Research Universities’ Alliance and three of its centres of excellence in the alliance network are working on governance, urban life and immigration issues, Dr. Mitike pointed out.

Dr. Mitike said, “Running a discussion session with World Bank experts from home and abroad based on surveys on the problems and benefits of the Centres will be part of the Research Week.”

Shumey Berhe (PhD), Director of Industry Linkage and Technology Transfer, on his part said AAU brings research-rich technologies to the community through its annual research and technology fair.

“With its assigned research responsibilities, AAU enriches technologies in its incubation centre and makes them accessible to the public as well as brings rich technologies to the fair through the Research and Technology Transfer office,” Dr. Shumey said.

As cleared by Dr. Shumy, efforts are being made by the Ministry of Information and Technology to expand the scope of the work and to alleviate the lack of an organized eco-system for the newly emerging technologies.

“It is good that the government is working on this issue with the University because there is everything in the university including knowledge, researchers, teachers, students and other enabling resources,” Dr. Shumey advised.

According Dr. Shumey, during the 2021 Research and Technology Week, about 10 technologies were developed; business plans already prepared for them and now they ready for investment. This year similarly, there are still about 10 new technologies out of the stem being made ready for the show, he added.

Dr. Shumey finally said, “All these newly developed technologies have to be reached to the public for use but there is a need to invest on them and make connections to the community. For this to happen, the private sector is expected to play the key roles and the government will have to create an ecosystem.”

The Research Week Scientific Committee Chairperson, Professor Abebaw Fekadu, said that while excellent centres grew up, they need to mobilize scholars and resources, bring remote technologies and make their work accessible to the public in order to settle themselves in better conditions.

According to Prof. Abebaw, the centres of excellence can change the country for the better by solving huge problems. This can be achieved through the expansion of railway services that can connect Africa together and by improving medical resource facilities, he added.

AAU has many educational institutions that can change the country and the best way to do that is to use the excellence centres properly, Prof. Abebaw stated.

“Centres of excellence do not bring change just because they are in the University, so it is necessary to raise awareness from individuals and small institutions in terms of informing and encouraging the basic activities of the Centres,” Prof. Abebaw said.

Kasu Jilcha (PhD), Director for Students Career Development Services, stated that the main objective of his office is to enable the University students to make a choice in the field of visionary education, to acquire the skills that will make them competitive and conscientious in the world of work during their studies.

According to Dr. Kasu, the Centre provides skills training to students on coordination, ethics, CV writing, job application paper preparation, job search, industry culture, entrepreneurship, employer-employee relationships and so on.

“The Centre is an important link between the University and the industry for students and to make the industries confident in the young graduates they hire them. This also allows students to practice in the industry before graduation and that creates a feeling like the industry belongs to them,” Dr. Kasu said.

As stated by Dr. Kasu, since its inception, the Centre provides training for an average of more than 4,500 students each year in skills and entrepreneurship trainings. The training leads the learners to specialize in training of creative skills, economics, job creation and life skills.

The Center is studying the recruitment rates and verifying job creation skills of students graduated from AAU, Dr. Kasu further stated.

Editor: Abraham Girmay

Photo: Andualem Aseffa