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Research and Innovation at Zimbabwe Open University

In Africa, Science and Technology (S and T) have become prime movers of economic development just like in the rest of the global environment. Several initiatives were taken to promote S and T development. The African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology (AMCOST), an Africa Union (AU ) and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) initiative, was among the key ones. The Government of Zimbabwe ratified this initiative through the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. Consequently. The Zimbabwe Tertiary Education system has been expanded from Education 3.0 to Education 5.0 in consonance with NDS1 goals and Vision 2030, to become a middle class income country. This means an education system encompassing teaching, research, community service, innovation and industrialisation with a heritage-based philosophy, which emphasizes industrialisation using innovation and knowledge on Zimbabwe’s natural resources. In line with Education 5.0, Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) has, as part of its mandate, to develop national science and technology capacities that aid in solving pressing national problems in agriculture, engineering, commerce, hospitality, tourism and other spheres of the economy. ZOUalso promotes the development of technologies in the country and produces leading-edge students who are enterprising/entrepreneurial and have practical skills consistent with the techno-scientific environment.

The following are ZOU’s research themes:

  • Food security and sustainable agriculture
  • Climate change, Water and Environmental Management
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Entrepreneurship, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Community Development
  • Health, Science and Innovation
  • Art, Heritage, Culture, Religion and Indigenous Knowledge Systems

The ZOU Research, Innovation and Industrialisation Directorate is in the process of aligning itself with Ordinance 60. The Ordinance’s overall objective is to promote the development of a “University Research-Innovation-Industrialisation Ecosystem” that produces goods and services addressing human needs in Industry, Commerce and Society.