Two groups of students last week pitched their proposed solutions for unique problems experienced in Keetmanshoop to a panel of the Demola Network as the final stage in a series of innovation steps that started in April this year.
When the Municipality of Keetmanshoop needed a workable, affordable solution for their waste treatment, it turned the project over to the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology. A second challenge came from a Finnish Consortium working on a smart housing project, also in Keetmanshoop. The science commission decided to turn this into formal challenges for students to solve.
The agency with the final say in this process is the Demola Network with whom the science commission signed a cooperation agreement last year. This network operates in more than a dozen countries worldwide with the mandate to identify and facilitate innovative, cost-effective solutions to ordinary existential problems. The activities of the Namibian chapter are coordinated by the science commission.
The final pitch that was held on 07 September, was the culmination of a series of milestones and hard work by two groups of eight students. The project not only exposed students to their peers, but also helped to facilitate co-creation projects between businesses, researchers and the students themselves.
After the two presentations, the acting Chief Executive of the science commission, Ms Enid Keramen invited Namibian businesses and industries to submit their specific innovation problems to the Demola team for local, customised and relevant solutions.
"This will help us cultivating and growing the love of doing things for ourselves as a nation and solving our own unique problems. This way we will achieve much more by growing deeper relations and fostering stronger collaboration between industry, the government and academia" she added.
For each participating company, getting started with Demola is free of charge. After the initial setup and once the work is complete, the project team will present the results. If the company finds the results useful and valuable, they have the option to either license or purchase the rights from the team.
"Together with our partners, we have created and validated an Intellectual Property Rights model designed to meet the legal requirements of global corporations" said Ockert Jansen, the science commission's Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing.
Captions First group: "Attract Investment Opportunities" From the left, Rudowhan Benade of the Municipality of Keetmanshoop, Grant Balie, the Team Facilitator at the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology, Vijanda Katurota, a team meber, Ms Enid Keramen, the commssion's acting Chief Executive, Vincent Nowaseb, the General Manager of Innovation & Technology Development at the commission, Martin Shuudeni, Julia Nambuwa, Shallot Mohutege and Grace Mahela, all four team members, HE. Pirkko-Liisa Kyostila the Ambassador of Finland, and Lovisa Kambonde-Immanuel, the Head of Demola Namibia.
Second group: "Interacting Smartly" From the left, Lukas Sikondo and George Chipandeka, both team members, Disney Andreas from the Smart Community Project, UNAM, Methven Steenkamp and Ira Luoto, both team members, Charles Jazundara Hangara, the Team Facilitator, Vincent Nowaseb, the commission's General Manager for Innovation and Technology, Enid Keramen, the commission's acting Chief Executive, and HE Pirkko-Liisa Kyostila, the Ambassador of Finland.