The 2022 National Science Week kicked off on Nov. 7 at the Kololo Independence Grounds, and is scheduled to run till Nov. 10. 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.
Running under the theme, “Uganda in 2040; The Future We Want Through Science Technology and Innovation”, the event is open to the general public and attendance is free of charge.
While officially opening the event to the public, Dr. Monica Musenero, the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation said, “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.” Adds “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 noted that the 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.
“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,” she said.
Over 200 exhibitors – specifically in the fields of the 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 are showcasing innovations such as vaccine development, robotics, agricultural value addition, food products, pesticides, the future of green mobility through automotive innovation, and vehicle manufacturing, among others.
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 which will see attendance from key financial players including venture capitalists and commercial banks, among others.
“We are proactively paving the way for our science, technology, and innovation startups 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,” explained Dr. Musenero.
The National Science Week is also majorly focusing 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 event will culminate in a closing ceremony on Nov. 10 over which H.E the President will preside as the Chief Guest of Honor.
The National Science Week is organized 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.