Young innovators have raised the red flag over increased cases of intellectual theft of their innovations by multinational companies through contractual gaps, rendering them desperate despite their huge investment in time and resources.
They said the multinationals have been taking advantage of their lack of resources and expertise to make a fortune out of their innovations.
Led by Zetech University Vice Chancellor Prof. Njenga Munene, they said the issue amounted to fraud and thus the need for the government’s coming up with water tight policies to guard them from exploitation.
Speaking during the University’s 4th Sustainable Innovations Conference Program that attracted over 70 exhibitors at their Ruiru Campus Tuesday, the VC said the trend has discouraged many of them leading to the low uptake of research and innovations by students.
“Companies that sponsor the students through an agreement to develop a product take advantage of contractual gaps once the products are fully improvised. They pay them poorly and leave them suffering. Then, they register and introduce the product to the market, making a fortune,” said Prof. Munene.
He opined that innovation should be registered under the names of the primary innovators, not the funders to give the young students bigger license to benefit from them.
“By doing so, cases of rampant innovation theft would be a thing of the past,” he added.
The VC at the same time disclosed that the school has made entrepreneurship and ICT mandatory courses to make the students marketable and enable them to create jobs.
He was flanked by Prof Grace Njoroge, the Deputy Commission Secretary in charge of Accreditation at the Commission for University Education who challenged students to incorporate innovations in their studies to remain relevant in the job market regardless of their area of specialization.
She opined on the need to harness the potential of technology and innovations by investing in the youth, saying it would help address societal challenges.
She said a proposal to have the government fully fund research and technology is ready and awaiting the approval by the new cabinet secretary.
Prof. Njoroge at the same time called on the strengthening of Universities-Industry collaboration in developing innovations saying it would not only help the industries but also market the students.
“Young innovators will be easily identified for job placement by the potential employers. This would also ease the unemployment burden. Currently, the formal sector is absorbing 10 percent of placements and thus the need for technology and innovations to fill the remaining gap,” she said.
Florida Korir (18), a First year Bachelor of Science, Information and Technology student at the university has invented a robot that recently won a silver award in Geneva-Switzerland.
Florida said the robotic and automation innovations are gaining momentum world over and the need to align innovations in such an area.
By Muoki Charles