Professor Robert Hinson of the University of Ghana served as a panelist on a special session dedicated sharing experiences of developing post - graduate studies at the 2017 AfricaLics conference at the University of Oran 2, Oran, Algeria. The AfricaLics (African network of researchers in learning, innovation and competence building systems Conference is a biennial Conference that seeks to promote learning, innovation and competence building systems approaches. The network includes scholars from various Africa countries including Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Algeria, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, among others. AfricaLics is a regional member of the Global network of researchers in Learning of Economics, Innovation and Competence Building Systems (GlOBELICS). There are other regional networks such as the AsiaLics (Asian), IndiaLics (India), EuroLics (Europe) and LaLics (Latin America). The network is envisioned to It was envisioned that the AfricaLics network could become a strong source for capacity building in the specific field of innovation and economic development, both at the individual, institutional and country levels. This can allow African countries to design policies suitable and responsive to their own needs, and instigate corrective measures to ensure the smooth production, dissemination and use of knowledge for economic development, including poverty alleviation.
The Network has various activities being rolled out every year and the biennial conference is one of them. The 2017 AfricaLics conference was hosted by the University of Oran 2 in Oran, Algeria from 27th -29th November, 2017. The 3-day conference on the theme, “Emerging Innovation Systems for Sustainable Industrial Development in Africa” brought together about 150 PhD students, early careers and established researchers and scholars from different disciplines with the overall aim of enhancing the quality of innovation studies in relation to development and growth in Africa. Other programmes include PhD fellowships for African students, post-doctoral fellowship. It is a glaring fact that the network is dedicated to improving the quality of doctoral students being produced in African Universities and hence create opportunities such as the fellowships for these students. During the 2017 AfricaLics Conference, the first and the second day was dedicated to key note speeches, presentation of research papers in parallel tracks, panel discussions and plenary lectures. The third day on the other hand was dedicated to interacting with PhD students participating in the conference in the form of a Doctoral Workshop of which Prof Robert Hinson from the University of Ghana Business School served as a resource person.
Speaking on the theme, “Building Stronger Universities”, Prof Robert Hinson shared the success stories and lessons learnt of the University of Ghana as a higher institution dedicated to building capacity of staff and students. He stated that to build stronger universities require the capacity building of not only the university staff but the students as well. This he said when done ensures a continuity and proper succession of terminal university staff. He shared the story of the University of Ghana using the case of a regional programme dubbed “Building Stronger Universities” (BSUs). Through the BSU programme at the University of Ghana Prof Hinson attested that the capacity of post graduate students (masters and doctoral) and staff have been built strongly and students who benefited from the programme completed their PhD thesis before time and publishing in top journals that takes years for academics to penetrate. He foresees these beneficiary students becoming greater than their mentors under the programme and that he said is a good sign that the BSU programme is receiving value for money. Staff who also benefited from the programme were more encouraged and had good reasons to ensure quality and timely completion of their students’ thesis. In concluding his contribution, he urged PhD students to take advantage of the networks that these opportunities (BSU programme and Conferences) present and also build on the network of their mentors and supervisors since they are the first stepping grounds to their career development after school.
Other Ghanaian participants present at the Conference were Mrs. Justina Adwoa Onumah, a PhD (Development Studies) student at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana; and Mrs. Monica Addison, also a PhD (Agricultural Economics) student from the Agricultural Economics Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Prior to pursuing the PhD programme, Mrs. Onumah has been a Research Scientist at the CSIR-Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), conducting research in STI policy, with specific interest in agricultural issues and evidence-to-policy actions. Her current research is on agricultural innovation systems and rural poverty in Ghana. Mrs. Onumah at the Conference served as a panelist on the plenary session on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and her presentation was on “Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy - Issues of Relevance and Impact from Africa in relation to SDGs”. Mrs. Addison also doubles as a student and a Research Fellow at the Bureau of Integrated Rural Development (BIRD), a research institute at the KNUST. She is involved in conducting research as well as mentoring, teaching and supervising student thesis. Mrs. Addison’s current research is in the area of gender and technological innovations in rice sector of Ghana. At the conference, she presented on “Gender analysis of the introduction of technological innovations in the rice sector of Ghana”. The conference was a successful one and plans to continue in building capacity and competence of innovation scholars on the Africa continent. The next AfricaLics conference is scheduled to take place in Tanzania in 2019.
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