There is no doubt that current, global, economic challenges make it imperative that the highest level of any education system must include the inculcation of a culture of innovation. It is also true that universities, worldwide, are engine rooms for game-changing technologies and processes.
Achieving developed country mode of sustainable development requires cutting-edge scientific enquiry, product and process creation, product development, production, and services. It means having a mindset to turn all of these into commercial activity, and – therefore – into revenue.
All of this can only become possible by consciously adopting an aggressively innovative culture, which would strengthen our ability to compete internationally. It would also allow Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as ours, to succeed in international markets.
We at The St. Augustine Campus believe that education should seamlessly allow the creation of brand-new knowledge, ideas, and inventions with market potential. We are therefore determined to inculcate that spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the Campus.
The St. Augustine Campus has established an Office of Research Development and Knowledge Transfer, with a mandate to identify and develop revenue-generating opportunities for funding our enterprise. It is strategically positioned to establish strong partnerships with stakeholders, while engaging with and leveraging the collective expertise of various researchers and subject-matter experts. The team is mandated to guide, identify, and match stakeholders’ needs with The UWI’s research results. They would then either secure funding to further the commercialisation process (through grants), or direct the outputs to an external stakeholder, forging a mutually acceptable relationship with clear terms and conditions.
Coming in the 2017-2019 biennium is a new Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which will match the services offered by the Office of Research Development and Knowledge Transfer. This Centre will improve the alignment of research initiatives to local and regional priority needs, and bring cohesiveness and focus to the innovation imperative as we seek to commercialise our research. Research shows that our chances for success are greatly increased, if we partner with Government and industry so as to create a structure that will make it a lot easier to move ideas to market.
The University of the West Indies is totally committed to creating an innovative and entrepreneurial university – a vital partner to industry and governments in Caribbean development. St. Augustine can and will be a major catalyst in economic diversification through our teaching and outreach programmes.
Here on the St. Augustine Campus are the means to transform Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. Only when Trinidad and Tobago, along with the rest of the Caribbean, uses the products and solutions created here in this country and in this region, to generate wealth, can we truly claim economic independence and sustainable development.