TECH

Jamaica Gleaner - - IN FO­CUS - Martin Henry is a univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tor. Email feed­back to col­umns@glean­erjm.com and med­hen@gmail.com.

Lopez for her pre­sen­ta­tion at the con­fer­ence on poli­cies and mea­sures to sup­port spin-off com­pa­nies in the ex­pe­ri­ence of the Univer­sity of Ali­cante (UA) in Spain, where she is a se­nior project man­ager. UA is the lead part­ner on the two EU-fi­nanced projects that col­lab­o­rated with the SRC in stag­ing the S&T Con­fer­ence.

The IPICA and CAP4INNO projects are con­cerned with build­ing up na­tional ca­pac­i­ties in sys­tems for man­ag­ing in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights and knowl­edge trans­fer from re­search to mar­ket in sev­eral Caribbean states: Ja­maica, the Do­mini­can Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Bar­ba­dos, and, by ex­ten­sion, the coun­tries served by the UWI. The in­sti­tu­tional part­ners in­clude uni­ver­si­ties, in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty of­fices in the par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries, CARI­COM, and the World In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WIPO), our own Min­istry for Sci­ence & Tech­nol­ogy. Our EU-based part­ners are in Spain, Swe­den, and Aus­tria. A great mix.

Per­haps the most im­por­tant thing that our project col­league Noelia told us is that a proper univer­sity en­vi­ron­ment is needed. An “en­tre­pre­neur­ial univer­sity” must be created. UA has a com­pre­hen­sive sup­port struc­ture, with staffing and fi­nanc­ing, for R&D, IP pro­tec­tion, and knowl­edge trans­fer through its com­pa­nies within a clear pol­icy frame­work at both the na­tional and in­sti­tu­tional level.

Mean­while, we con­tinue to ‘dream’ of the Gov­ern­ment’s Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy be­com­ing the MIT of the Caribbean by magic with­out the nec­es­sary sup­port. And we want re­sults from pub­lic re­search or­gan­i­sa­tions with­out re­search fi­nanc­ing. We con­tinue to fid­dle with pol­icy. And to wait for a re­search devel­op­ment fund. Na­tional ST&I lead­ers kept mak­ing the plain­tive point at con­fer­ence that one Jamaican neu­traceu­ti­cal prod­uct on the world mar­ket could set the Jamaican econ­omy.

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