UNDP-Uganda is currently promoting innovation in various ways including building or strengthening ecosystems to promote innovation (collaborative spaces, systems, labs, processes to incubate new ideas and accelerate development and impact); fostering cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder collaborations to generate new ideas and innovative solutions; promoting a culture of innovation such as risk taking and creativity both within an organization, as well with broader society and amongst partners; strengthening enabling environment with sound policies, strategies and approaches to promote innovation; providing mechanisms to support innovative thinking such as platforms for people to meet, exchange ideas, showcase artwork and ideas, innovation labs and hubs; and providing seed fundings for innovative ideas, labs, a culture of and providing spaces for innovation.
Uganda’s Science, Technology, and Innovation (ST&I) ecosystem is hinged on the effective collaboration and partnership of the triple helix model of innovation comprising the Academia, the Government, and the Private Sector. This model has been adopted widely over the globe with much success.
Historically Makerere University has been a center of innovation and its new Strategic Plan (2020/21-2030/31 is aimed at transforming the University into a “research-led” institution with a multi-discipline research agenda and enhanced engagement with industry and business sector. Moreover, this year Makerere university is also commemorating 100 years of existence. With funding from the Government, Makerere University is also currently supporting high-impact Research under the Research and Innovations Fund. In this context, the Makerere university will be suitable University for UNDP to partnership to foster innovation in Uganda.
It is against this background, as well as building on the initial success of ongoing UNDP initiatives, UNDP Timbuktoo, from here to Africa’s Future Project on “Fostering Innovation Ecosystems in Uganda’s Public Universities: Establishing Model Innovation Labs at the Makerere University” is partnering with Makerere University Kampala to establish an innovation Pod. The University is being supported to establish a functional engineering and creative design Makers Space with focusing on Agro-Tech, digital solutions, electronics, renewable energy, and creatives. The Makerere University Innovation Pod/Lab will also support priority policy and experiential labs in a Design Thinking framework to support the Parish Development Model (this will not however be the focus of the Innovation Pod). The project will also link the capability created at the Makerere University with other public and private universities in Uganda and Africa.
In the same spirit, under the Digitalization, Innovation and Smart Cities (DISC) Programme is seeking to hire services of a qualified consultancy firm to support Ministry of ICT and National Guidance to design and refurbish the National ICT Innovation Hub.