The Programme is designed in the University of Rwanda’s endeavour to enhance the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UR-CIE) capacity to support UR staff and students to manage their own innovation projects and to increase the use of research outputs responding to socio-economic development needs. In addition, the Programme supports the Government of Rwanda efforts of using Science, Technology and Innovation as key drivers of socio-economic transformation, industrial development and competitiveness. It is implemented by the University of Rwanda in collaboration with Södertörn University and Lund University both from Sweden.
The Programme comes as a vital boost for UR to overcome the challenge to link scientific research to users in society, in the private and public sectors as well as in civil society. The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UR already has a wide approach to innovations, including new technologies as well as new forms of social organization. Cooperation with partners in society is at the core of the centre’s activities, responding to articulated demands from partners as well as providing ideas from researchers and students to possible partners and beneficiaries in society. Where partnerships can be established, cooperation is manifested in innovation projects that can apply for seed funding from the Centre, a funding mechanism that might be established and funded through the project.
Among its core activities, the Programme ensures proper management of UR innovations and intellectual property through, for example setting-up innovation management tools, i.e a database collecting innovation data from colleges, support to IP management and technology transfer. Besides, it funds collaborative innovation projects based on ideas from UR staff and students or from their partners in society while strengthening university industry linkage. With regard to industry linkage, the Programme plans to provide innovation support to clusters of SMEs, partnerships with local incubators to increase opportunities for students to develop ideas and get academic and entrepreneurial mentorship, and support national and international outreach activities, as well as disseminating innovation initiatives taking place at UR to the University stakeholders and end users.