|Knowledge Transfer at the University of Mauritius|
|Wednesday, 14 October 2015 10:00|
The University of Mauritius has set up a Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO), which aims to provide a strong link between the university, government, industry, and the broader community. This will increase the visibility of research conducted by academics and make it more accessible, a key part of Research Uptake Management (RUM), which is at the core of the DRUSSA Programme.
The vision of the Knowledge Transfer Office is to be a dynamic centre that will increase the visibility and relevance of the knowledge created by university staff and students, thereby contributing to making the University of Mauritius a centre of excellence for research and development. The KTO will report to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and the outcomes of the Knowledge Transfer Office will be aligned with the key performance indicators of the University of Mauritius Strategic Plan 2015-2020. It will be an integral part of policy and decision making bodies of the university, and will ensure mainstreaming of Research Uptake (RU) policies into the university system.
Mission of the KTO
The KTO will act as a one-stop shop for the protection, exchange and commercialisation of knowledge created at the University of Mauritius, which includes technology, know-how, skill and expertise, for both commercial and non-commercial application. It will facilitate the showcasing of university expertise, experience and capacities and strengthen University-Industry-Community collaboration. It will play a central and pivotal role in linking researchers from all Faculties and Centres with the end users of the research, including communities, government and ministries, industry, the media etc.
The KTO is thus about strengthening existing relationships, and building new ones in a proactive way. It also aims to address gaps in RU that have previously been identified, including the fact that important and interesting research completed by academics is not always taken up by end users. This is partly because a RU strategy is not incorporated in research proposals upfront and RU often becomes an afterthought following completion of the research project. Indeed a large number of research projects are undertaken independent of the end-users. As academics are not recognised for RU activities in their performance appraisals, research is undertaken mainly for career advancement and hence research results are often only published on international journals, which rarely reach the local end-user.
The KTO will promote and manage consultancy activities and provide training, advice and support for University of Mauritius academics and support staff in the area of knowledge transfer. In so doing, the KTO seeks to benefit the University at large, by raising its research profile with key external stakeholders such as policy makers, Industry, the community and consumers of research, and, by extension, Mauritian society through fostering an alignment between national priorities, commercial/industrial opportunities and research outputs. It will establish ways of translating and communicating research findings in order to make them known to the wider community and help the application of those findings in policy making, NGO planning, and other areas of activity. In all its activities, the KTO will ensure that Intellectual Property Rights are adequately protected.
The main activities of the KTO will be to support academics, policy makers and practitioners, industry and the community by:
The KTO is expected to assist in raising the number of reports and patents emanating from university projects as well as raising the number of research projects based on industrial and societal problems and the number of Research Uptake projects by policy makers, industry and community at large. It will also expose students to research opportunities, thereby supporting the UoM's mission to provide excellence in teaching and learning through active learning.
The KTO activities are expected to stimulate Research Uptake, encourage the dissemination of research work done by academics and students, and ensure that the community benefits from the outcomes of research carried out by the University of Mauritius. By connecting researchers with research users, the KTO will actively participate in bringing more community-driven research, while making sure that all research, even that which is not driven by the community, receives visibility and is put to use for the benefit of the country.
The KTO is a crucial instrument, which can reap greater benefits in the long term on a very practical level. It will encourage in practical terms by supporting revenue-generating research, better marketing of UoM research and consultancy, emulating great universities which have strong ties with industry and boosting the entrepreneurial image.
The University of Mauritius is a notable case study for the DRUSSA programme as it moves into its final year and assessment of its effects in the participating universities.
Prof. Romeela Mohee is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Mauritius