Industry-academic partnerships move forward

In seeking to deepen the partnerships between industry and academia, The UWI has taken several key steps. Approval has been granted for the establishment of UWI Ventures, which will act as a holding company for UWI startups. A new University-managed fund, the UWISTA Innovation and Technology Transfer Fund, will support projects with commercialisation potential originating from all fields of research.

At the St. Augustine Campus, the former Office for Research, Development and Knowledge Transfer (ORDKT) has been renamed the St. Augustine Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (StACIE). It will allow increased access to external grant funding for research.

The UWI has also established new spin-off companies to effectively market and monetise the products of research and development taking place at the establishment. One of these will produce specialised marine coatings and lubricants developed by the Department of Chemistry. The much-publicised Percussive Harmonic Instrument (PHI) pan, on which The UWI holds the patent, will be commercialised upon completion of a market-ready prototype.

Trinidad & Tobago's Minister of Trade and Industry, Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon (3rd from right) is flanked by UWI leadership during a consultation with Private Sector, State Enterprises and Government, hosted by The UWI.

In 2017, the St. Augustine campus increased the potential for collaboration with industry by becoming a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers' Association and the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

The Mona Office of Research and Innovation has been re-organised and is seeking to forge more links between academia and industry. The Mona Campus continues to increase its self-financing programmes to assist with the shortfall in government funding by commercialising its services. The Caribbean Toxicology Unit provides toxicology and consultancy services to members of the legal profession; CARIGEN offers laboratory services, including DNA testing, to clients; and the Mona School or Engineering provides engineering services.

The Cave Hill Campus is no less engaged. The Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship adds value to agrobusiness in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean while awaiting approval from Town and Country Planning for the Dukes Agribusiness Complex. They have also offered their services to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines regarding their foray into the medical cannabis sector.

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