The Sunday Mail
Government has released $20 million for research and related infrastructure to promote problem-solving innovations from the country’s institutions of higher learning.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira told The Sunday Mail that the funds are meant to encourage research in the production of quality goods and services.
“I am glad to say there is work being done towards research projects and infrastructure development, and so far, we have released $20 million,” said Prof Murwira.
He said of the $20 million, $10 million is specifically for research projects for immediate operationalisation.
“We gave $1 million to National Biotechnology Authority, which is working in collaboration with Tobacco Research Board to do genomic technology.
“We also gave $1,5 million to Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) for the roll out of the artificial insemination research programme, as well as the research of a plant called zhombwe, which has worm-killing characteristics, because we want to produce indigenous veterinary medicine,” he said.
The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) also got $3 million for the Grains for Africa research programme and an additional $288 000 for research on anti-fungal medicine.
Prof Murwira said half of the disbursed funds were reserved specifically for infrastructure support.
CUT and UZ received $3,5 million and $4 million respectively, for the construction of industrial parks.
Midlands State University (MSU), Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) and National University of Science and Technology (Nust) received $500 000 each for equipment in the innovation hubs.
Government believes that innovation and research will naturally bridge the gap between theoretical skills and industry.
Prof Murwira said: “Previously our tertiary institutions were meant to design — not to produce — goods and services.
“Now, we are trying hard to realign our education system, so that, it can fill in the gap between skills available and skills deficit.”
UZ Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Mapfumo said Government’s move to support innovation and research will likely stimulate economic growth.
“Supporting the research programmes financially is something as academics we have always yearned for a long period of time,” said Prof Mapfumo.