‘Varsity, industry collaboration key to national development’
To manufacture vaccines particularly COVID- 19 products requires huge doses of investment, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), Prof. John Owusu Gyapong, has said.
He has established also the critical relationship between science and vaccine development.
Prof. Gyapong made the argument when he delivered a talk on ‘Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on higher education in Ghana: Threats and Opportunities’ at the just -ended 2021University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) Congress at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT),Tarkwa, in the Western Region.
He said, scientists in the universities needed huge investmnts to conduct researches for products,noting that, the United States of America spent huge dollars in such a venture.
This,he explained involved series of trials in communities to erase all reasonable doubts.
Again, Prof. Gyapong said, there was the need to provide protection to the communities,stressing “it’s about billion of dollars.”
To achieve this goal, he encouraged universities in Ghana to collaborate with one another in their research work in this era of science, in order to make the needed impact in the country.
“Many of us like to work in our small corners but this requires that we work together through consortia across the world and even in this country, there is no reason universities should not work closer”. he said.
Prof.Gyapong stated that the COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake -up call for research capabilities, science, technology and innovation systems, manufacturing capabilities, inter-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration through existing consortia.
He said, “Despite innovations made in some universities the scale of collaboration with the industry that takes headline-making innovation beyond the walls of an institution, is conspicuously missing.
“This can provide an opportunity for further validation and a path to widespread adoption and commercialisation.” he told the delegates.
The UHAS Vice Chancellor explained that “When the pandemic broke in Ghana, we met leaders in the educational sector and they gave us all the promises but when the rubber hit the road, we were found wanting.
“We could have thrown our hands in the air and said, we don’t have it, so that is the end.But as university managers, administrators and academia, we have to do the teaching — to get things going.The digital dividehad been a very key transformational issue when it comes to managing COVID in the educational environment.”
According to Prof.Gyapong”even in the event that the COVID-19 pandemic should end, with the kind of infrastructure that we have developed, it would be very unwise to throw away all the online teaching platforms.This requires very good and effective policy.
“The policies that l have seen are not good enough and we need to collaborate as institutions to ensure that we are on top of the issues. Since we are the knowledge hub we can take advantage of the opportunities that come our way to develop science and make sure that we are on top of issues.”
Funding of research in universities, he believed, should not just be a talk it should be materialised and hoped that national research fund would be operationalised so hat researhers can access monies for research across various disciplines.
“The pandemic has really brought a major challenge to the educational institutions. We need to examine and re- consider how we would manage our digital educational system because it is now becoming part of us”
From Clement Adzei Boye, Tarkwa