The British Council’s Innovation for African Universities (IAU) programme has brought together the University of Health and Allied Sciences and the University of Cape Coast in Ghana with the University of St Andrews in the UK to help stimulate the bioscience sector in Ghana and across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Bioscience companies apply our understanding of biology to develop solutions to a wide range of societal issues. Bioscientists work in a range of sectors, including diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, energy research and manufacturing.
There is currently a lack of job opportunities for biosciences graduates in Ghana as this industry is not yet well established in Ghana. As a result, many graduates take jobs in hospitals and healthcare, often requiring them to study for other qualifications, rather than putting their course knowledge and expertise into practice in the bioscience industry.
The Bio-enterprise Project aims to upskill Ghanaian bioscience graduates with hands-on business training, including enhancing their knowledge of the market for bioscience products, and lean management skills to enable them to set up their own bio-tech based businesses.
Dr. Kwabena Duedu, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana, commented: “Our hope is through this project we can begin raising a new generation of entrepreneurial bioscientists, so that in the next couple of years we see start-ups coming up, and into the longer term we should see some of them thriving.”
Omane Acheampong, Associate Professor of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, Cape Coast University in Ghana, added: “We believe that by equipping students with the knowledge to translate what they do at school into marketable products will help them get employment, start up something on their own and even employ others.”
The legacy of the programme will provide future graduates across Africa with online training courses and materials as well as an exchange programme with the UK and China providing students with opportunities to experience working in thriving biosciences sectors.
Dr Wilber Sibiti, Senior Research Fellow in Medicine, University of St Andrews, Scotland, said, “We believe through collaboration we can leverage an established bio-tech industry in the UK and other countries around the world to be able to nurture the young bio-tech industry in Ghana.”
The project is part of The British Council’s Innovation for African Universities (IAU) programme, which includes partner universities and enterprise and innovation organisations in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and the UK. The programme comprises 24 project partnerships and aims to grow universities’ capabilities for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, developing the skills graduates require to build sustainable industries, companies, and services.
Christiana Bandoh, spokesperson at The British Council, commented: “Through stronger peer to peer connections and sharing best practices and knowledge between higher education institutions, the programme aims to enhance students’ employability and support economic development across Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa now and into the future.”
To find out more about the British Council IAU programme visit: www.britishcouncil.org/education/he-science/opportunities/innovation-african-universities