The University of Sierra Leone’s Institute of Public Administration & Management (IPAM) and the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI) have agreed to create an Innovation Hub.
Representatives of the two institutions signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding to shared knowledge, and support local innovation and entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone. IPAM has allocated the fifth floor of its new building for the purposes of the innovation hub. Under the agreement, DSTI will organize educational and social programs and activities that will strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sierra Leone. Speaking at the signing of the MoU Vice Chancellor Manu said that DSTI and IPAM had already begun to share knowledge and resources as of last year. Through the relationship with DSTI, IPAM has been able to send faculty to MIT, a global leader for academic research and innovation.
“It is a dream come true,” said the acting Vice Chancellor Foday Sahr, noting that the Hub will offer new opportunities for learning and growth for IPAM students and faculty. He thanked Dr. David Sengeh for initiating the partnership between DSTI and IPAM.
“We hope that this starts as an innovation hub, for IPAM, and university students but will also be for people within the ecosystem,” Dr. Sengeh, Chief Innovation Officer, DSTI added.
He further said: “This will be a space for people to learn state-of-the-art tools like Human-centered design (HCD), business models, business process mapping, and hands-on learning. It is to take the curriculum, that’s at IPAM, the excellence in entrepreneurship and business and Administration and put it into practice.” With this partnership, DSTI will bring hands-on learning back to students and create a space for students to seed ideas and develop prototypes.
The hub is novel because it fosters collaboration between government, academia, the private sector, and local and international partners. Students from MIT, and researchers from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be learning and developing technological solutions in partnership with students and entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone. “In a couple of years, people will be talking about IPAM, as a place where technology, computer science, hands-on learning happens with business management and entrepreneurship in the same way that they talk about MIT,” said Dr. Sengeh.