Ugandan young innovators to benefit from Makerere UniPod

The First Lady and Minister for Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni represented by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Dr Monica Musenero together with the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director Regional Bureau for Africa Ahunna Eziakonwa have launched the iconic multidisciplinary Makerere University Innovation Pod (UniPod) under UNDP’s Timbuktoo initiative.

The UniPod is equipped with high-end equipment to leverage research for development through nurturing the innovation ecosystem in Uganda.

According to Eziakonwa, the UniPod has been designed to provide university students and youths outside the university with maker space that provides service to both engineering as well as creative design projects, with a standard set of equipment

This facility provides design labs that offer a host of programs in design thinking, and support students and youths to apply design principles toward solving any problem they are tackling but also a collaborative working space to develop business ideas and host product demos, training events, speaker talks, and other community and collaboration building events,” Eziakonwa said.

She noted that the facility also provides a technology transfer office that plays the role of bringing research developments to the market and bridging research with industry.

Officials said Makerere University and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will work out a modality of operations that suits both students within the University and youths outside the University.

Dr. Monica Musenero said the facility will help startup enterprises scale but also several livelihoods improved directly or indirectly.

The Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe said the  UniPod will also be linked to hubs that will support the creation of local startups without losing focus and depth of knowledge, and while building a critical mass of complementary startup expertise.

He hailed UNDP for funding the state-of-the-art facility.

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