STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE ON THE INNOVATION COMMERCIALISATION ENVIRONMENT IN MALAWI. 30th MARCH 2022

In an attempt to bridge the gap between innovators, the Government through the commission, researchers, financial institutions, the private sector (industries), the public, media, and other stakeholders, the National Commission for Science and Technology, held a stakeholder dialogue in Lilongwe at crossroads hotel on the 30th March 2022. The dialogue aimed at giving results of the study which was carried out in examining the collaboration between the private sector, the universities and researchers.

The dialogue was opened by the Director of Documentation and Information Services Mrs. Kadzamira, on behalf of the director general for NCST Prof E. Wanda. In attendance were various people from different notable institutions such as; Imosys, LUANAR, UNDP, MERA, Registrar General, NCST, just to mention a few and not forgetting renowned innovators.

In his presentation, Mr I. Chingota, the Chief Technological Transfer Officer at NCST, gave a background of the workshop. He then hinted on the intentions the commission has in building a platform which is aimed at addressing challenges that frustrates knowledge and intellectual transfer from researchers to consumers, he also described the challenges that exist between Innovators-researchers and industries, Government, and other stakeholders hence the need to bridge the gap that exist so that whatever has been innovated should be picked up to the other end and be commercialised so that we developed Malawi through Science, Technology and Innovation.

The CEO for Imosys Mr. Mayamiko Nkoloma, challenged the media in his presentation for doing too little in terms of presenting Innovations through the media to the general public. Unlike other countries where the media is on the fore front in promoting Innovations, here in Malawi the media is passive and he urged them to actively promote innovations.

National Commission for Science and Technology faces challenges in the technological transfer spaces, as it is allocated with inadequate funding for science and technology fund. The approved K 291, 000,000 is not enough to effectively support the advancement of STI in Malawi in relation with the Reforms Agenda of promoting Research Initiative for Malawian Research platforms and supporting Innovations. This was revealed when Mr. K. Gondwe, Chief planning services officer at NCST, who gave an overview of the environment for innovation and commercialisation in Malawi during the dialogue. He also made an emphasis on the need to design an infrastructure to support tech-incubation services.

During deliberations; stakeholders encouraged NCST to create a platform where researchers, innovators and all stakeholders would be able to interact and collaborate on various researches and innovations taking place around the country. NCST was also urged to find means of exposing students to science technology and innovation right away from primary schools to instil positive attitude towards science technology and innovation in them as it is a key in developing Malawi.

Finally, as a country we should try to advocate in passing legislations that are not frustrating innovators which results in information asymmetry and uncertainty problems where by innovators fails to give enough information about their innovation in fear of their ideas being stolen, in the same vein banks or financial institutions fail to offer loans to innovators due to being furnished with little information

African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) in conjunction with National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) which is under the Ministry of Education, on 1st April, 2022 launched an open forum on agricultural biotechnology (OFAB) Malawi chapter.

OFAB, a project of AATF, expedites productive conversations among key stakeholders and decision makers on agricultural biotechnology. For both policymakers and the larger public, OFAB also accelerates eminence engagements and conversations on the safety and benefits of modern biotechnology.

The guest of honour, Minister of Education, Hon. Agness NyaLonje appreciated the commission for its efforts in advancing Science Technology and Innovation in Malawi. She however challenged that there is a need to embrace the value of relationship between human sciences and natural sciences In order to develop good communication so that science technology and innovation is understood at grassroots and not only to scientists and researchers, this will help to instil positive uptake on biotechnology in Malawi.

Prof. Elijah Wanda, the Director General of NCST positively agreed that with the coming of OFAB it will ensure that farmers have access to improved seeds for a sustainable food security and agriculture-driven economic development in Malawi. One of the seeds that have seen taking shape already is that of BT Cotton, with BT cotton farmers can testify that they have started recording high productivity as compared to the past. Prof. E. Kaunda who is the board chair for NCST, concurred that OFAB Malawi chapter will be a catalyst for linkages and interactions between policy makers, research scientists, farmers, and private sector on embracing biotechnology to improve the agriculture sector.

With an assurance the Director General for NCST made a promise that the commission will continue to execute its mandate which is to advise the Government and other stakeholders on all science and technology matters in order to achieve a science and technology led development in line with Malawi Vision 2063.Dr Canisius Kanangire, AATF Executive Director said the launch of OFAB Malawi chapter comes at a time when Malawi is keen to sustain its efforts towards the commercialisation of products emanating from agricultural Biotechnology. He further said since the dawn of AATF it has facilitated access to technological worth over 400 million US dollars for use by over 10 million farmers in Africa ranging from better seeds, digital tools, and agricultural mechanisation solutions. In winding up he congratulated Malawi for giving other African countries an opportunity to learn from its experiences especially on BT cotton.

As part of prelaunch activities AATF in conjunction with NCST conducted a two days media training on science communication at BICC for the journalists, communication practitioners, and members of the NCST. The training was aimed at equipping and imparting knowledge to the journalists and communication practitioners in Malawi on how best they can report or cover stories of biotechnology and STI in general to ease understanding across Malawians, this was done with an understanding of a crucial role the media plays in communicating with general public.

OFAB is being implemented in nine countries such as; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia……. and Malawi also being its new 10th chapter. Where ever OFAB dwells on benefits such as; commitment in ensuring that smallholder farmers benefit from access to products of biotechnology, it also focuses on better yields and profits for commercial farmers who are using biotech crops such as BT maize, BT cotton and BT cowpea. And lastly is also settles on improving environmental impact of farming due to genetically engineered crops that have cut chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22% and boosted farmer profits by 68%

The national commission for science and technology NCST, finally launched the operationalization of Science and Technology Fund through the government of Malawi, on the 23rd February 2022 at BICC in Lilongwe, under the theme “Financing Research Science and Technology and Innovations towards Malawi2063.” About six pavilions of different innovators/projects were showcased at the event, just to appreciate the talents and learn how the fund could be important to different innovators and how it will help such projects for our country if to improve. For example, the 6GR System from Dzaleka CDSS, where they came up with a computer software that helps to identify drivers who commit offenses. The system sends a text message to police stations and when it is discovered, it is easy to track drivers fond of committing offences. The aim is to reduce road accidents in the country.

The fund aims at achieving a science and technology led development nation. Three dummy cheques were presented at the launch, one for the small grants amounting to K117,665,265, one for institutional grants amounting to K120 million, and the other one of Technology and Innovation Support amounting to K20 million.

The guest of honor Minster of Education Hon. Agnes Nyalonje, in her remarks she said the S&T Fund will advance Science, Technology and Innovations for sustainable growth and development in Malawi. She said, the operationalization of the S&T Fund will give citizens a chance to participate in STI which will advance technology in the country, claiming that due to lack of funds, many people do not take part in the STI.

NCST Director general professor Elijah Wanda also made a presentation, underscored the need for enhancement of financial support towards STI if the country is to improve in science and technology. He said, the government of Malawi recognizes that STI is indispensable in stimulating sustainable economic growth and development saying for instance the Malawi2063 recognizes STI as important enabler for attainment of its three pillars namely; agriculture productivity and commercialization, industrialization and urbanization.

Speaking during the launch, NCST Board Chairperson, professor Emmanuel Kaunda, commended governments commitment in advancing STI in the country. He said for the first-time since the inception of the commission in 2010, government has operationalized the S&T Fund amounting to K291 million in the 2021-2022 financial year and the aim for the fund is to provide an avenue of direct investment in the science and technology sector in Malawi.

One of the grantees/innovators representatives, Zach Mwale, encouraged the citizenry especially the youths to take part in the advancement of STI, adding that the fund is granted to everyone who has skills in science technology and innovations.

On the other hand, the commission appealed for continued support from different patterners of the S&T Fund such as National Bank of Malawi (NB), Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS), NICO asset managers and NICO assets, ETHCO, Ministry of Health and UNESCO whom also appreciated the government’s commitment in the advancement of the STI for sustainable growth and development in the country. And finally, the national Commission for Science and Technology team, who made it all happen in working together as a team to make the event a success. On behalf of the DG, chair of the team Isaac Chingota congratulated all members for the brilliant work done.

1.0 Introduction

The National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) was established by the Government of Malawi under section 5 of the Science and Technology Act No.16 of 2003. Its mission is to promote, support, co-ordinate and regulate the development and application of research, science, technology and innovation so as to create wealth in order to improve the quality of life. To execute its mission, the NCST runs a number of programmes and schemes through its established structure. These programmes and schemes are derived from its legal functions as stipulated in the said Act. One such scheme is the Small Grant Scheme which seeks to provide support either in part or in full in order to promote capacity building and information sharing endeavours related to research, science, technology and innovation for wealth creation, in line with the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (III) and new vision, Malawi 2063. This scheme is demand-driven whose design is informed by stakeholders’ needs. The grant scheme provides funding support in the following areas;

(a) Dissertation Grant: aims to support research undertaken as part of an academic programme to qualify for a Master’s or a Doctorate Degree, provided that the topic of research is addressing any of the identified national research priorities as issued by NCST. The grant is primarily to support research. Funds will not be used to support course work.

(b) Travel Grant: aims to support applicants with travel grants to facilitate their participation in conferences/workshops/seminars, short courses, study tours and exchange visits within or outside Malawi so as to facilitate information sharing and capacity building. The support could cover travel costs including the cost of visas, registration and other applicable costs.

(c) Research Dissemination Grant: aims at supporting the organising of a research dissemination conference. The support shall be towards meeting the cost of conference advertisement, venue, refreshments/lunches, review of abstracts, and production of books of abstracts and conference proceedings.

(d) General Event Grant: aims at supporting institutions to organise events/activities related to other areas of research, science, technology and innovation, provided that such events are not of the same nature as the research dissemination conference.

(e) Production of Journals Grant: This grant aims at supporting the production of journals.

(f) ICT Equipment Grant: This grant supports towards the cost of the ICT equipment where a research related institution has indicated the need for such equipment assistance and upon establishment of NCST that an institution would function effectively with such an equipment.

(g) Technology Transfer and Commercialisation Grant: This grant supports the technology transfer and commercialisation efforts. It is provided to institutions or individuals that have developed technologies and would like to be facilitated for popularisation, transfer, replication and spinoffs

2.0 Grant Application Proposals

NCST has secured funding from the Government of Malawi towards the Science and Technology Fund. Part of the funding will be used to administer grants under this Small Grant Scheme. NCST is, therefore, calling for applications for project proposals in any of the areas under this Scheme.

3.0 Grant Amount

The grant offered through this scheme shall not exceed the value of MK3, 000,000.00. Therefore, the budget limit for project activities in each project proposal shall not be more than this amount.

4.0 Deadline for Receipt of Applications

The small grant scheme is designed to be administered throughout a given government fiscal year on competitive terms and on first-come and first-served basis. While applications can be submitted, received and reviewed any time in a given fiscal year, closure date for submissions and receipt of applications in the 2020/21 fiscal year is 30th May 2021. Applications received after this date shall not be considered.

5.0 Application Procedures and Guidelines

The application procedures and guidelines for each specified grant are contained in the Small Grant Scheme Procedures and Guidelines which are available on the NCST website (www.ncst.mw). Applicants are advised to access them on this website. Alternatively applicants may request them from the Office of the Director General using the address below.

6.0 Submission of the Application

Submission of complete application package containing the required documentation for the specified grant shall be made as both a hard and a soft copy to the following address;

Director General

National Commission for Science and Technology

Lingadzi House

First Floor

City Centre

Private Bag B303

Capital City

LILONGWE 3

Malawi

 

E-mail address: directorgeneral@ncst.mw

CALL FOR MASTA APPLICATIONS;

MASTA PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES;

PROFORMA FOR NOMINATION (INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP ACHIEVEMENT)  

To fill online go to: https://forms.gle/gzxwkkHfW6u1dJfVA;

PROFORMA FOR NOMINATION (INSTITUTION OR LABORATORY) 

To fill online go to: https://forms.gle/WQ7dB8JM4T2mfxpJA;

MASTA EVALUATION FORM

AwardsThe National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has organised the Research Grants Award Presentation Ceremony to be held on 5th February, 2021 at Bingu International Conference Centre.  The theme of the grants award presentation is “Research and Innovation for Socio-economic Development”. The grants to be awarded are for research projects in agriculture biotechnology and renewable energy with funding from the Science Granting Councils’ Initiative (SGCI), on the one hand,   and for projects in health systems operations research with funding from the Government of Malawi. The research projects fall within the identified national research priority areas in Malawi.

The grants award in agriculture biotechnology and renewable energy research is coming from the background of NCST’s participation in the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI)-an initiative that seeks to strengthen capacities of science granting councils in Sub-Saharan Africa.  In this initiative, NCST  is collaborating with the Research Council of Zimbabwe (RCZ) to manage research projects in agriculture biotechnology by giving support to researchers in their respective countries. NCST is also collaborating with the National Science and Technology Council of the Republic of Zambia and the Research Fund of Mozambique to manage research in renewable energy by giving support to researchers in their respective countries.  The management and support for research by the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) in agriculture biotechnology and renewable energy as identified national priority areas for research falls under the NCST’s  specific project that aims at strengthening the management of research competitions and research on emerging technologies and development in Malawi with the ultimate goal of supporting research and evidence-based policies that would contribute to socio-economic development.

While the grants under SGCI are jointly funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA), UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), the Malawi government, through NCST will provide funding for administrative oversight in the implementation of the projects.

Similarly, the grants award in health systems operations research comes from a purposefully instituted research grant scheme that is being managed through the partnership of the Department of Research in the Ministry of Health (DR-MOH) and the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST). This scheme has been instituted as part of the implementation efforts of the National Health Research Policy of December 2019. The Policy calls for the promotion and strengthening of health research governance structures at national and sub-national levels. Strengthened structures, such as district health offices and health facilities are pivotal for the conduct of quality health research in Malawi in order to generate evidence required to effectively inform the development of health and related policies and interventions. The effective implementation of such evidence-informed policies and interventions would ultimately result in improved health systems performance and peoples’ health and general well-being. This grant scheme has been established with funding from Malawi Government.

A total of twelve (12) grantees will be presented with various amounts of the research grants. The total amount of money in grants to be awarded at this ceremony is MK141, 417,020.   The ceremony will be co-officiated by the Minister of Education, Honourable Agnes Nyalonje, MP and the Minister of Health, Honourable Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, MP. The presentation ceremony will run from 07:30 am to 11:30 am. The ceremony will follow a hybrid set-up as other participants will attend virtually in order to limit the number of physical attendees. All Covid-19 preventive measures will be followed at the presentation ceremony.

The third Biodiversity Information Management Forum (BIMF) was held at Hippo view lodge, Liwonde Malawi from 8 to 9 December 2020 with the theme “Biodiversity data for national processes, species, Red lists and KBA Assessments”. BIMF provides a platform for biodiversity data holding institutions (researchers) and biodiversity data users to meet and discuss best management of Biodiversity data in order to contribute to sustainable development in the country. This year’s BIMF attracted several stakeholder from government institutions, non-governmental organisation and private sector.

Day 1 – November 18th, 2020

  1. Opening Session by VP 

Topic: 3rd National Research Dissemination Conference – Opening Session

Time: Nov 18, 2020 08:30 AM Malawian Time

 Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/98871786136

 

  1. Parallel Session 1 (ICT, Financial Technologies & Knowledge Management) 

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day One (Parallel Session 1) – ICT, Financial Management & Knowledge Management

Time: Nov 18, 2020 01:30 PM Malawian Time

 Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/93074066132

 

  1. Parallel Session 2 (Education, Social Sciences & Humanities) 

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day One (Parallel Session 2) – Education, Social Science & Humanities

Time: Nov 18, 2020 01:30 PM Malawian Time

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/93036183436

 

  1. Parallel Session 3 (Health & Population) 

 Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day One (Parallel Session 3) – Health & Population

Time: Nov 18, 2020 01:30 PM Malawian Time 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/97174026174

 

  1. Parallel Session 4 (Agriculture, Irrigation & Food Security) 

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day One (Parallel Session 4) – Agriculture, Irrigation & Food Security

Time: Nov 18, 2020 01:30 PM Malawian Time

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87066048344?pwd=cExHUnQzMHlsT3YyYi95RUJsdkEvQT09

 Meeting ID: 870 6604 8344

Passcode: 188017

  1. Parallel Session 5 (Water, Environment, Waste Management, Climate Change & Natural Resources) _ Ajamali Account

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day One (Parallel Session 5) – Water, Environment, Waste Management, Climate Change & Natural Resources

Time: Nov 18, 2020 01:30 PM Malawian Time

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https://zoom.us/j/93027216648

 

  1. Open Exhibition – Innovation Exhibitions 

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day One (Parallel Session 6) – Innovation Exhibition

Time: Nov 18, 2020 04:00 PM Johannesburg

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https://zoom.us/j/99592122280

 

 

Day 2 – November 19th,2020

  1. Parallel Session 1 (Education, Social Sciences & Humanities) 

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day Two (Parallel Session 1) – Education, Social Science & Humanities

Time: Nov 19, 2020 09:00 AM Johannesburg

 Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/97379014884

 

  1. Parallel Session 2 (ICT, Financial Technologies & Knowledge Management) 

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day Two (Parallel Session 2) – ICT, Financial Management & Knowledge Management

Time: Nov 19, 2020 09:00 AM Johannesburg 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/91865922771

 

  1. Parallel Session 3 (Health & Population) 

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day Two (Parallel Session 3) – Health & Population

Time: Nov 19, 2020 09:00 AM Harare, Pretoria 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/99200082159

 

  1. Parallel Session 4 (Agriculture, Irrigation &Food Security) 

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day Two (Parallel Session 4) – Agriculture, Irrigation & Food Security

Time: Nov 19, 2020 09:00 AM Johannesburg 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83538618711?pwd=VmRUSVc0ekJTbHQ5T3Zua0had1l4QT09 

Meeting ID: 835 3861 8711

Passcode: 162107

 

  1. Parallel Session 5 (Water, Environment, Waste Management, Climate Change & Natural Resources) 

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day Two (Parallel Session 5) – Water, Environment, Waste Management, Climate Change & Natural Resources

Time: Nov 19, 2020 09:00 AM Harare, Pretoria

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/94804739529

 

  1. Parallel Session 6 (Skills Building Session) 

Topic: 3rd NRDC – Day Two (Parallel Session 6) – Skills Building Session

Time: Nov 19, 2020 11:00 AM Johannesburg

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/98344116154

 

 

group photo-mbs1The National Commission for Science and Technology, today, 26th October, received a donation of 8,050,000MK from the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) towards the 3rd National Research Dissemination Conference that the National Commission for Science and its partners are organizing.

The theme of the conference is “Research innovations and entrepreneurship towards a productive and resilient nation”.
The conference will take place at Sunbird Nkopola Hotel from 18th to 20th November, 2020.

 

The objective of the conference are as follows:
• Promote uptake of research results
• Provide a platform for researchers and innovators to showcase their work
• Promote collaboration, networking and partnership among researchers, innovators and other stakeholders
• Facilitate evidence-based policy decision making
• Promote knowledge exchange and transfer.

The conference will be hybrid in nature with some participants taking part in person while others will attend virtually.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chairperson of NCST Prof Emmanuel Kaunda said the gesture by MBS in assisting NCST is true evidence of partnership to be embraced between partners.

The donation will go a long way towards easing the financial challenges being experienced towards the organization of the conference.

3RD NATIONAL RESEARCH DISSEMINATION CONFERENCE (NRDC)

 18th – 20th November 2020

                                                              Venue: Sunbird Nkopola Hotel, Mangochi

Preamble

The National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) wishes to inform all stakeholders and invited researchers that the Third National Research and Dissemination Conference, whose theme is entitled “Research, innovation and entrepreneurship towards a productive and resilient nation” will now be held from 18th -20th November, 2020 at Sunbird Nkopola Hotel in Mangochi following its postponement from April 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

The 3rd NRDC objectives are to:

  • Promote uptake of research results
  • Provide a platform for researchers and innovators to showcase their work
  • Promote collaboration, networking and partnerships among researchers, innovators and other stakeholders
  • Facilitate evidence based policy decision making
  • Promote knowledge exchange and transfer

Thematic Areas of Focus  

The NRDC shall fall under the following thematic areas which are also in-line with the Medium Term Development Strategy – MGDS III with a view to promote Research, Science and Technology as a key enabler of Vision 2063:

  • Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security
  • Water, Environment, Waste Management, Climate Change and Natural Resources
  • Education, Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Health and Population
  • Energy, Transport and Engineering
  • ICT and Knowledge Management
  • Intellectual Property (IP), Entrepreneurship and Industry
  • Tourism
  • Financial Technology (Fin-tech)

Requirements

Presenters are being advised to submit full papers failing which they will not be allowed to present at the conference.

Furthermore, all participants and researchers shall be required to pay a registration fee of MK75,000.00 or 110 (US Dollars) while participating students shall pay MK40,000.00 which will cover the cost of lunch, refreshments, and venue to the following account.

Account Name             :           SE & T

Account Number          :           3337715

Bank                            :           National Bank of Malawi

Branch                         :           Capital City

SWIFT Code                :           NBMAMWMW 008

If you are paying in foreign currency, the deposit should be paid into the following Foreign Currency Domination Account:

Account Name             :           NCST FCDA

Account Number          :           1000413198

Bank                            :           National Bank of Malawi

Branch                         :           Capital City

SWIFT CODE              :           NBMAMWMW 008

Please remember to send your scanned participation fee deposit slip to nrdc@ncst.mw

Presenters and participants will be required to finance own accommodation, transport and subsistence allowances.

For confirmation and inquiries please write to gkadzamira@ncst.mw or call on +265 999 510 544 and Mr. Gausi email: hgausi@ncst.mw or call on +265 999 370 676

Please note that all COVID 19 precautionary measures will be adhered to.

Malawi government        nche      NBSIHIMwAPATA

MBS