By Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, Chairman Board of Directors UTAMU
In December 2019, UTAMU acquired 20.43 acres of land on Block 82 Plot 6 Kkungu, Matugga, Kyaddondo, Wakiso District on leasehold register of 49 years from the Kampala Catholic Archdiocese Land Board for the UTAMU Research and Innovation City. The UTAMU campus in Kkungu, Matugga, Kyaddondo, Wakiso District, which is approximately 21 km from Kampala City Centre will house the largest Research and Innovation City in the region comprising of:
(i) Equipped buildings for the Central Administration, the Directorate for Coordination and Management of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, the School of Computing and Engineering, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Vocational and Science Education.
(ii) The School of Computing and Engineering, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Vocational and Science Education will provide skills training and professional development in additional to directing and undertaking research and innovation.
These schools will also host researchers and innovators from other institutions on collaborative projects with UTAMU faculty. The School of Vocational and Science Education (SVCE) will provide specialised vocational and technical training ranging from certificate to doctorate degrees. SVCE will also provide training ranging from certificate to doctorate degrees in science education and thus will produce science teachers for all levels of the education system. In future, a specialised teaching hospital in partnership with a private investor will be put up as part of the School of Health Sciences to provide specialised health services to the general public but also serve as the main teaching hospital for the school of health sciences.
(iii) An Entrepreneurship ecosystem; which is the social and economic environment affecting entrepreneurship will comprise of a startup ecosystem and an innovation ecosystem. It is well known that businesses located within places serving as incubators for creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship have a greater chance of success.
The startup ecosystem will have access to great ideas, access to talent, access to capital, and access to customers.
UTAMU through the Directorate for Coordination and Management of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem will provide liaison offices and/ or work spaces to entrepreneurs including large corporations, investors, venture capitalists, business development experts, support organizations (like incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces etc.), other technical service providers such as accountants, designers, contract manufacturers. In recognition of the fact that social Innovation solutions to challenging and often systemic social and environmental issues require the active collaboration of constituents across government, business and the nonprofit world. UTAMU through the Directorate for Coordination and Management of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem will provide liaison offices and/ or workspaces to the various actors in social innovation space. Thus, Local Governments and Government departments dealing in areas such as commerce, industry, trade, will also be provided with liaison offices and/ or workspaces in the research and innovation city as they play an important role in the startup ecosystem.
UTAMU will also provide liaison offices and/ or workspaces to Uganda’s scattered nascent innovation hubs like the Space Hub, Venture Labs East Africa, Outbox Hub, Design Hub Kampala, Hive Colab, The Innovation Village, Tech-Buzz Hub, The Mawazo Innovation Hub and WITU Hu. This is because almost all of the globally successful company formations including Apple, Yahoo, Google and Facebook were located in startup ecosystems in Silicon Valley, Boston, New York, Denver, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, Tel Aviv, Singapore, London and Berlin to mention but a few.
Also, countries like India, China, Hong Kong and South Korea have set up entrepreneurship ecosystems that are producing some of the world’s billionaires. So, UTAMU Research and Innovation City plans to produce the majority of the US Dollar Billionaires in East Africa by the year 2040.
If the lockdown is lifted by 5th May 2020, construction of the initial facilities is planned to commence in June 2020 and this infrastructure for UTAMU Research and Innovation City will be open to students, researchers and innovators by October 2020.
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