1 The center will also help governments formulate engineering education policies to foster industrial development in the region and close the gender gap.
3 On November 22, UNESCO‘s 193 Member States approved the establishment of a Center of Excellence for Innovation in Engineering, Manufacturing and Technology Transfer in Ghana, during the 41st General Conference of UNESCO in Paris, France.
5 The name of the center reflects both its new international role and its reputation for excellence in training and translating research carried out at the university into commercial results. He has a master’s program in business and technology management, for example.
6 Originally established in 1972 as the Technology Consulting Center, it was absorbed into the Faculty of Engineering at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in 2004. Students have been able to access equipment at KNUST for hands-on training, such as workshops. of machines for prototyping and manufacturing, laboratories, kilns and ceramic furnaces, kitchens and water filters.
7 As a national center, it has also developed manuals and training programs for advanced manufacturing technologies, including plasma and 3D printing technologies.
8 The center has also carried out policy advocacy activities. It has recommended the establishment of an automobile manufacturing industry, for example, and the intensification of collaboration between academia, industry and the government sector through the establishment of a technology park that had the support of the National Planning Commission of the Development of Ghana.
9 A subregional outreach center
10 The center will now expand its role by providing state-of-the-art engineering services not only in Ghana, but throughout the subregion. It will function as a category 2 center, which means that it will operate under the auspices of UNESCO. It will be the first UNESCO category 2 center in Africa specializing in engineering and only the fifth in the world with this approach, after those established in China (2), Denmark and the Russian Federation.
11 The center will remain at KNUST, where it will continue to conduct collaborative research to develop and transfer innovative engineering solutions and manufacturing technology to industry. It will also promote standards in manufacturing and use digital technologies to modernize local manufacturing and industrial practices, including through automation.
12 The center will also develop and disseminate research papers, policy briefs, and other knowledge products to inform national and subregional policies on innovation in engineering, manufacturing, and technology transfer.
13 The center will also help governments formulate engineering education policies to foster industrial development in the region and close the gender gap. Among university graduates, only 16% in engineering, 20% in computer science and 27% in natural sciences were women in 2018, according to the UNESCO Science Report (2021). This compares with 61% of graduates in health and wellness and 45% in business and law are women.
14 One of the most developed innovation systems in West Africa
15 Ghana has one of the most developed national innovation systems in West Africa, according to the UNESCO Scientific Report (2015). The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research dates from 1958 and has 13 specialized institutes for research on crops, animals, food, water and industry. Ghana has specialized institutes in aeronautics, chemistry and metallurgy, according to the Science and Technology Policy (2012) of the Economic Community of West African States, better known as ECOPOST.
16 Since 2016, the revised National Policy for Science, Technology and Innovation has sought to harness science, technology and innovation as the key driver of the transition towards a sustainable economic model less dependent on commodity exports, according to the Scientific Report of UNESCO (2021). The latter were dominated in 2017 by gold (49% of exports), crude oil (17%) and raw cocoa products (15%).
17 The policy describes strategies for the development of the primary sectors of agriculture, health, industry, energy, human settlements, communications and the environment. The government is promoting “ green ” innovation, such as clean kitchens and minimal use of chemical fertilizers to encourage responsible irrigation techniques, according to the 2019 Ghana Voluntary National Review that maps its initial progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations until 2030.
18 Ghana dedicated 0.45% of GDP to research and development in 2017, up from 0.38% in 2010. The National Policy for Science, Technology and Innovation commits the government to increase national spending on research to 1% of GDP in the short and medium term through the combination of contributions. of the public and private sector.
19 There are plans to establish the Ghana Research and Innovation Marketing Center to serve as a bridge between the government, public research institutions and industry, according to the UNESCO Scientific Report (2021).
20 In parallel, the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan will contribute to the establishment of technology incubators. Technology incubators provide facilities and / or in-kind support at an early stage of a business’s development. According to Briter Bridges, Ghana had 36 active technology centers, incubators and accelerators in 2020.
21 In its Voluntary Review, the government reports that a third (35%) of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises have already adopted local packaging technologies and that the industry adopted 115 research results in 2017, up from 70 in 2016.
22 In accordance with the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, a Computer Numerical Control Machine Tool Center is being established in each of Accra and Kumasi to develop strategic technologies and provide basic infrastructure for engineering innovation.