UoN signs agreement with French companies to enhance skills, innovations

From Left to Right: Prof. Margaret Hutchinson, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research ,Innovation and Enterprise UoN ), Mr. Brian Ouma, UoN Chief Operations Officer, Arnaud Suquet ( French Ambassador to Kenya and Republic of Somalia), Cyprian Kabbis- District Chief Executive for Eastern Africa), Christine Mbaya ( Human Resource Assistant of Bureau Veritas), after jointly inaugurating the implementation of the Tripartite Partnership Agreement (TPA), for the highly anticipated Engineering and Science Complex (ESC) on Monday. [Edward Cheruiyot, Standard]

The University of Nairobi has signed an agreement with four French universities and local companies to enhance skills and innovation in Science and Engineering.

The nine universities schools under the ParisTech network (France) include AgroParisTech, Chimie ParisTech - PSL, École des Ponts ParisTech and MinesParis - PSL and CentraleSupélec - University Paris-Saclay.

Local industry partners will include Bureu Veritas, Total Energies, Schneider Electric, Saint Gobain and Elgon Kenya among others.

They jointly inaugurated the implementation of the Tripartite Partnership Agreement (TPA) for the highly anticipated Engineering and Science Complex (ESC).

University vice-chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama, highlighted the profound significance of the TPA in promoting capacity building and facilitating the exchange of best practices between the partner institutions in France and Kenya.

Prof Kiama also emphasized the pivotal role that the TPA would play a pivotal tin elevating the Engineering and Science Complex to an iconic hub, where the realms of academia and the economic world seamlessly intersect.

“The TPA, that I signed myself in Paris on May 11 with my French peers, directors of the partner institutions, is a framework enabling capacity building and good practices sharing between us. Thanks to this cooperation, we will learn from each other and will grow, France and Kenya,” said Prof Kiama.

Mr Arnaud Suquet, Ambassador of France to Kenya and Somalia, emphasised the transformative role of the TPA in elevating the ESC to an iconic space where academia converges with the economic world.

“This partnership is transformative because it’s about science and Innovation. We want to create employment while addressing global issues such as climate change and food security,’’ he said.

Mr Willocquet Betrand, Director of the French Development Agency (AFD), expressed pleasure in supporting this flagship partnership over the next four years.

The ESC, with its strong commitment to environmental sustainability, aims to achieve LEED certification, showcasing the dedication of both Kenya and France to the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

‘‘The collaboration between French and Kenyan universities will facilitate the exchange of knowledge, benefiting both sides and laying the foundation for training a new generation of skilled engineers and scientists in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The partnership is expected to have a transformative impact on education,’’ said Betrand.

Brian Ouma, Chief Operations Officer and Director of University Advancement and Institutional Development said the collaboration will see the academia, industry partners, and international institutions work together.

He said the initiative will foster innovation, bridge the gap between academia and industry, drive knowledge exchange and increase innovations and commercialisation.

The industry partners were represented by Dr. Bimal Kantaria, Eng Kudakwashe Kawanzaruwa and Mr. Cyprian Kabis of Elgon Kenya, Saint Gobain and Bureau Veritas respectively.

They deliberated on the need to align the ESC with industry needs and trends.

The partners highlighted the importance of industry-academia collaboration in nurturing a future workforce equipped with the skills and knowledge demanded by the market.

Ouma said that the involvement of industry partners in the ESC ensures that the curriculum remains relevant, enabling graduates to seamlessly transition into the professional world.

The signing of the TPA for the ESC signifies a new chapter in international collaboration, academic excellence, and innovation.

By bringing together leading institutions, industry partners, and governments, Ouma said that the ESC paves the way for groundbreaking research, technological advancements, and socioeconomic development.

“This partnership sets a shining example of what can be achieved when nations unite to address common goals, inspiring future generations and creating a better world through education and research,” said Ouma.

He said the ESC represents a significant milestone in Kenya's pursuit of academic excellence and technological advancement.

“The complex aims to equip students with the skills and expertise needed to thrive in a rapidly evolving landscape of engineering, science, and technology,” Ouma said.

By fostering collaboration between the partner institutions, the ESC will provide a platform for cross-cultural learning, cutting-edge research, and the development of innovative solutions to address global challenges.

The inauguration ceremony was held at the University of Nairobi and it showcased the shared commitment and vision of the partner institutions.