The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is set to establish a state-of-the-art University Innovation Hub dabbed the Copperbelt University Innovation Pod (UniPod) aimed at propelling scientific inquiry, advancing discovery and expediting local solutions for global problems.

The Copperbelt UniPod will be established through UNDP’s Timbuktoo initiative, at a cost of US$ 500,000 to support innovation among students from Ideation, Design, Fabrication, and Collaboration.

Speaking during the meeting held at the Copperbelt University, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Zambia Roland Seri said the partnership with CBU is anchored on five strategic areas aimed at exposing students to the concept design thinking and product realization, provide software for design thinking and the equipment and materials to enable prototyping; enhance skills of engineering in digital fabrication and enable faculty members to work closely on design projects with their students and encourage the production of prototypes that have a high chance of being developed into commercially viable products.

Mr Seri added that the University Innovation Pod will provide University Students with: Maker-Spaces that accord service to both engineering as well as creative design projects, with a standard set of equipment; a Design Lab that offers a host of programs in design thinking.

‘The hub will support students to apply design principles toward solving any problem they are tackling; Collaborative working Spaces to enable students create business ideas and host product demos, training events, speaker talks, other community and collaboration building events,’ Mr. Seri added.

And Copperbelt University Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr Josephat Kalezhi said the partnership is a clear promotion of the University’s effort in supporting innovation and critical expertise for economic development.

He added that the innovation hub will enable the university take a leading role in facilitating the transformation of research to commercial projects.

‘The innovation hub will help us incubate the ideas developed by our students to ensure that they form companies that will create jobs for the many students we graduate every year,’ he said.

The UNDP Accelerator lab Team including Head of Solution Mapping Salome Nakazwe, Head of Exploration, Roselyn Mwila and Head of Experimentation Nampaka Nkumbula led by the Deputy Resident Representative, Roland Seri also witnessed an exhibition and presentations of projects by students at the Copperbelt University.

UNDP has established eight (8) Innovation hubs in 8 countries and 10 UniPods in ten (10) other countries in Africa.

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