(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 13, 2023): Partners working on agricultural biotechnology research have underscored the key role the private sector could play in strengthening research and innovations in agricultural biotechnology.
This was pointed out during an opening of a workshop organized by AUDA-NEPAD under the theme: “Strengthening Institutionalized Capacity on Genome Editing in Biotechnology Research and Development through Strategic Partnerships, Alliances and Linkages with Institutions of Higher Learning” today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Speaking at the occasion, General Director of the Ethiopian Bio and Emerging Technology Institute (BETin) Dr. Kassahun Tesfaye emphasized that the involvement of the private sector in agricultural biotechnology research and innovation is instrumental. “We need to do all what we can, to engage the private sector in our future endeavours of future research and development,” he added.
Dr. Kassahun also highlighted the need to make the Ethiopian education sector more practical. “Our university education is more of theoretical than being practical. Therefore, we should see how we could fill this gap in revising our curriculums of the universities to help our graduates acquire hands-on skills instead of offering them only theoretical education.”
Head of AUDA-NEPAD Centre of Excellence Mrs. Florence Nazare on her part underlined that African governments, the academia and the private sector need to have social contract to reinforce partnership for the realization of strong institutionalization and capacity building on biotechnology research and development as well as genome editing.
Mrs. Nazare said that African biotechnology researchers need to have all the necessary set of skills for innovation and research products to ultimately change the lives of the people in the continent.
She pointed out that building all capacities regarding innovation and intellectual property, research and development, strengthening and coordinating database with effective participation of stakeholders including the private sector is instrumental.
Senior Programme Officer of AUDA-NEPAD Centres of Excellence Mrs. Susan Dada also indicated that the objective of the workshop is mainly to strengthen linkages among universities and colleges to help foster a value-adding network to support an enhanced adoption of Genome Editing through a common understanding of the tool and its potential to optimize agriculture.
According to Mrs. Susan, participants of the workshop will share information on current curriculum, standards and best practices by schools and departments of agriculture, technology and innovation focusing on Agricultural Biotechnology.
Other objectives of the meeting also include gathering ideas on a collaborative framework that encompasses a well-connected and learning academic-public-private sector community in support of industrialization, gathering a forward-looking and progressive mechanism that bridges the gap between theory and practice to promote a competitive and responsive R & D sector that is innovation and industrialization enabling.
Moreover, she indicated, participants are expected to share cases on the role and potential of extension services for evidence and knowledge transfer to inform curriculum improvement and adaptation and carry out an appraisal of existing institutional and technical infrastructure for GEd and potential for automated learning processes as part of the 4th Industrial revolution in support of national development priorities.
She also highlighted that creating understanding on the status and support being offered by concerned sectors on the agricultural biotechnology research efforts and ddoing a rapid appraisal of current curriculum, standards and best practices by schools and departments of agriculture, technology and innovation focusing on Agricultural Biotechnology to identify gaps are among the expected outcomes of the meet.
Moreover, it also aims at taking an account of collective agreement of outlines and ideas on a value-adding academic-public-private sector collaborative framework in support of industrialization and reach at an agreement on the characteristics of a forward-looking and progressive mechanism that bridges the gap between theories and practices that aid competitive and responsive biotech R & D sector.
“Identifying cases to illustrate the potential of extension services for evidence to inform curriculum improvement and adaptation would be the other anticipated outcome ,” she added.