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University-Industry Linkages and Technology Transfer at AAU

Effective and efficient University-Industry Linkage is necessary condition for knowledge and technology transfer from university to the industry. University graduates and research outputs have to be absorbed by the industry. The industry is also source of finance for university research activities and source of information for quality assurance so that graduates with high level of knowledge and skills as required by the industry can be produced. The outcomes of research undertaken in universities have to be transferred to the industry integrated to the products and services of the industry and impact the leaving standard of the society.

Addis Ababa University pursues and encourages technology transfer through both formal and informal channels through its university-industry linkage and technology transfer office.

Formal Technology Transfer Channels

In countries like Ethiopia, where the culture of indigenous technology development and utilization is low and most industries are traditional trade based, formal university-industry linkage and technology transfer channels have to be pursued aggressively. In the formal channels, the University can initiate and work across the linkage for effective knowledge and technology transfer.

The formal university-industry linkage and technology transfer channels AAU pursues are;

·         University-Industry Cooperative Research,

·         Industry-Sponsored Research Projects,

·         Patent Licensing,

·         Consultancy Services Agreement between University and Industry,

·         Using Science and Technology Parks and Technology Business Incubation centers,

·         Industrial Internship and

Establishment of University Affiliated Enterprises (University-Industry Cooperative Research)

University and industry can cooperate and undertake research together on improving the product quality, production process, service quality, new product development, etc for the company based on agreements between them. In such arrangements the research is performed by professionals from both the University and the industry. The research fund can come from government funding agencies and/or the industry.

AAU understands the effectiveness of this channel in Ethiopia’s present development level and is working on the following:-

·    Investigate and propose mitigation of the limitations in all stakeholders; the industry, the government and the university to work on University-Industry cooperative research which is very low at the moment.

·   Enhance awareness on the need of transformation of the industry to a knowledge based industry through utilization of knowledge and technology generated from universities

Industry-Sponsored Research Projects

In this type of technology transfer channel industry problems are brought to the University with research fund so that the university faculty and students undertake research to solve the problems. The research deliverables and goals are set in the agreement. Such arrangements are non-existent due to the reasons mentioned in the university-industry cooperative research.

Patent Licensing

Research outputs from universities which can be commercialized are patented by the university to secure patent right. Then the university can formally transfer the right and collect the royalty to use the technology integrating it into process, products and services by the industry. In Addis Ababa University, patents resulting from inventions from any research undertaken by faculty and students using University resources belong to the University. There are a number of research outputs from faculties and students of Addis Ababa University which are patented locally. Legal framework on the basis of which the patent can be licensed and rules and regulations and procedures of the intellectual property administration is on being worked out.

Consultancy Services Agreement Between University and Industry

The university and industry can tie agreements on consultancy service to be provided by university to the industry at the different phases of new technology acquisition and utilization by the industry. The consultancy service can be during design, construction (manufacturing), testing, operation and maintenance, etc.

In Addis Ababa University, various colleges and institutes are working with the industry. Short-term training, construction supervision, design verification, etc are common channels used to transfer knowledge. The university has clear consultancy service arrangements and is the most effective and widely used channel at the moment.

Industrial Internship

University students are required to work in industry as part of their requirement for graduation in some programs and countries. During this time the students get the opportunity to see real industry problems and come back to their university with the problems as their graduation project work. These research projects can result in s\ solutions of industry problems. The students can also suggest new ideas on processes and product quality improvement during their stay in the industry. Industrial internship can be both during undergraduate and postgraduate study programs. Students join companies working on their research areas and can suggest significant improvement in the process, product and/or service of their host company.

Most engineering and medical sciences programs of AAU have minimum of one semester industrial internship programs as part of their undergraduate degree program curricula.

Continuous assessment and improvement of the effectiveness of the industrial internship and the expansion of the program to all other relevant programs is the direction.

Science and Technology Parks and Technology Business Incubation

Universities and governments establish science and technology parks and technology incubators for various objectives out of which fostering technology transfer and knowledge-based small enterprise creation and nurturing are some.  For Addis Ababa University, commercialization of its research outputs and transferring the technology to the industry and impacting  on the living standard of the society is the main objective.

Addis Ababa University is working towards the establishment of the first ever Technology Business Incubation and Science and Technology Park. Experience sharing from best practices, bench marking, and establishment document preparation, consultation with stakeholders are underway.

Informal UIL&TT

There is also informal technology transfer channels widely used in technologically advanced countries, which include, professional conferences, faculty personal contacts and publications

Professional Conferences

In developed and fast developing countries, there are hundreds of national and international professional conferences per year during which new technological findings by students and professors are presented and discussed.

Industries closely follow and sponsor such conferences for three reasons. One, they can get the trend of technology to direct their internal research and public domain knowledge, patent to be licensed, etc which may lead to improvement of their processes, products and services. Second, they use the opportunity to recruit graduates who have researched and have some solution for their existing problems and future direction. Third, they use the opportunity to have informal discussion with professors who are leading center of excellence in areas of their interest.

On the other hand such conferences are encouraged by universities because, the research outputs can be commercialized, graduates can get employment opportunity, professors can interact with their peers getting comments on their works, etc.

Addis Ababa University understands the need to strengthen this channel for technology transfer and hence encourages and sponsors professional conferences organization in the country, sponsor and support students and faculty participation on professional conferences both local and international.

Faculty Personal Contacts

The industry can invite professors working in the area of their interest for occasional discussion, lecture or regular consultation. The faculty can also serve the company as regular consultant for the company in his expertise area. This channel is practiced by AAU faculty and the industry. AAU works towards formalizing such interactions in order to support the faculty better.

Publications

New findings of research and new ideas are usually published on professional journals, conference proceedings and other mediums. Knowledge-based industries closely follow such literature for new ideas and technologies as input to their product and service improvement.

AAU supports and finances publication and dissemination of professional conference proceedings, professional journals, etc.

Contact Info

Normal 0 false false false EN-US ZH-CN AR-SA MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Dr. Mengesha Mamao

Normal 0 false false false EN-US ZH-CN AR-SA MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Director for University-Industry Linkage and Technology Transfer

Normal 0 false false false EN-US ZH-CN AR-SA MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Mobile: +251911125035


 

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