KAMPALA – The 2022 National Science Week has kicked off today at the Kololo Airstrip, scheduled to run from 7th to 10th November.
This year’s Science week spans a series of events including a public exhibition showcasing Ugandan innovations, an Investor Summit to drive investment into Ugandan science technology and innovation ventures and various topical panel discussions bringing together various players within the science, technology and innovation value chain.
“Science and technology hold the key to the present and future development of Uganda and as a government, we are aware that to escape from poverty, investment in science and technology education is the key. This annual event is important as it brings together various players within the value chain to chart a way forward for Uganda’s science, technology and innovation,” said Dr Monica Musenero, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation during the official opening of the Science Week.
Running under the theme, “Uganda in 2040; The Future We Want Through Science Technology & Innovation”, the event is open to the general public and attendance is free of charge.
Over 200 exhibitors in Science, Technology and Innovation – specifically in the fields of Pathogen Economy. Aeronautics and Space Science; The Future of Infrastructure; Industry 4.0; Mobility and Productivity Acceleration, Import Substitution; Export Promotion and the science of support services.
These showcased innovations such as vaccine development, robotics, agricultural value addition and food products, pesticides, the future of green mobility through automotive innovation, vehicle manufacturing, among others.
“This year’s theme is tied to the future we envision for Uganda as we all need to acknowledge the need for innovation to drive national and economic development. Technological advancement drives economic growth and global competitiveness with at least 50% of global economic development being attributable to innovations and investment in science, technology and innovation,” Dr Musenero added.
To address the challenge of funding for early-stage science, technology and innovation ventures, the National Science Week will host a Science, Technology and Innovation Investor Summit. Attendance from key financial players including venture capitalists and commercial banks is expected.
“We are proactively paving the way for our science, technology and innovation start-ups to secure the funding they require for viable projects. Through this event, we will act as a bridge and provide a platform for innovators to pitch their ideas to potential investors and secure the support they need,” Dr. Musenero noted.
The Science Week will culminate in a closing ceremony on 10th November over which the President will preside.
This year, the National Science Week will majorly focus on Aeronautics and Space Science; Mobility (Indigenous Motor Vehicle Manufacturing); Pathogen Economy; Industry 4.0+; Infrastructure Innovation; Productivity Acceleration; Import Substitution; and Export Targeted Science, Technology and Innovation.
The 2019 Global Innovation Index ranked Uganda 102 out of 129 countries, lagging behind Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania in 77th, 94th and 97th place, respectively.
According to NDP III, the government will invest in the development of a solid eco-system by incorporating science education in primary, secondary and university curricula thereby making science and technology accessible at all levels of learning, partnerships between university research institutions and industry to make it attractive for human capital development and raising awareness of how research can drive high technology innovation and wealth creation.
“Through this activity, we intend to create awareness of value addition resulting from science, technology and innovation, foster strategic partnerships with various stakeholders including the public and private sector, and enhance the market potential of indigenous products in the region and globally to enhance Uganda’s competitiveness both within the region and globally,” Dr Musenero said.
The National Science Week is organised by The Secretariat of Science Technology and Innovation (STI) in the Office of the President which is taking the lead in integrating STI into the national economy in order to drive development.