The relatively younger, and “future science of the developing world”- Nanotechnology, inspired the first master class policy discussion that was held recently from 11-13, August 2015, in the African continent, University of Gondar, Ethiopia. This is due to its huge potentials for development opportunities, and expected challenges it poses. The African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), University of Gondar, and National commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSIT) (Kenya) were the organizers of this conference of its first kind, entitled:”Nanotechnology for Development (Nano4D) policy Master class”. This international conference showcased that Africa and the rest of the developing world are moving one step ahead of the past in the area science and technology.
This policy master class on Nanotechnology aimed to bring together researchers, academics, policy and law makers across the globe to examine and discuss on the: potential applications of Nanotechnology for sustainable development in Africa, foundation concepts of Nanotechnology, policy and regulation issues pertaining to: its opportunities and challenges in Africa, uncertainties and its risk governance ,its application for the green economy to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs), its commercialization, its ethical considerations, marketing and financing .
Unlike many of the usual scientific conferences, this summer school policy master class on Nano Technology had many features making it unique, and more productive. It was a multidisciplinary conference that has brought together multinationals from various corners of the world: Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Europe and Latin America-Mexico, i.e., influential policy makers, lawyers, scientists, academia and researchers the countries mentioned have attended the conference.
Dr. Kasirim Nwuke, Chief Technologies and new Innovation, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, H.E. Ambassador Wuletaw Mebratie, Amhara regional state secretariat lead, Ethiopian agricultural transformation agency, representative of the chief science secretary of Kenian National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation Mr. Harrison Macharia , and President of University of Gondar, Prof. Mengesha Admassu, Senior Research fellow from ACTS, organizer and conductor of the event, Dr. Hailemichael T. Demissie were among the prominent dignitaries who have passed their key messages during the occasion.
In his extended welcoming address, Prof. Mengesha Admassu, president of UoG stated that the Nanotechnology summer school being held in the manifestation and intensification of partnership areas that the relentless efforts of his institution, its main ally ACTS, and others are seeking to realize. ACTS, a pioneering and leading African based international policy research organization has signed an official MoU agreement with UoG a year ago. This conference is part and parcel of the same initiative of both parties.
The three-day Nano technology summer school had panel presentations of seven sessions. As some of the participants of the conference underscored, this Nanotechnology master class was very fruitful in many respects, and has served as a platform to interact and discuss innovations, infrastructure, governance, economic, development, financial and many other issues pertaining to Nanotechnology. At the same time, the obstacles to such innovations, from existing political arrangements, interests, and poorly adapted theories and models have been raised and thorough discussion was made. Generally, such important issues as establishing the need and nature of future research requirements, challenges confronting policymakers and practitioners were addressed.
Dr. Birhanu Tulu, Director of the Nanotechnology Research Center in UoG and one of the responsible organizers of the event and his counterpart and , senior Research fellow of ACTS, Dr. Hailemichael T. Demissie mentioned that the conference was industrious and successful in many respects much more than they have expected.
According to Dr. Birhanu, the idea of the establishment of the Nanotechnology center in UoG that he is leading has emanated from the personal initiative of business men from London, Mr Abiy, Mr. Derment, Ambassador Mebratie, and Prof. Mengesha Admassu, for which they have to be credited and acknowledged.
Both coordinators of the event have also stated that a similar second international conference on Nanotechnology will be hosted in Kenya by next year, which proves the continuity of the present effort.thus, this first nanotechnology policy masterclass initiative of both institutions ACTS, and UoG, and the upcoming conference to be held in Kenya will have a prospect of advancing the Nanotechnology research, innovation and policy related efforts of the continent on step ahead.
In line with this, in his closing remark, the vice president of Research, UoG, Dr. Takele Tadesse confirmed during the occasion to the participants that his institution is dedicated to advance similar efforts in the future and to support any kind of investment it demands.
Finally, the three-days Nanotechnology Policy Masterclass event was concluded with certification of the participants with at the closing dinner ceremony held at Goha Kotel in Gondar city.
Dr Desalegn Mengesha, the Acadmic vice president of UoG, and Dr, Takele Tadesse, Vice president of Research, UoG, handed over the certificates to the participants and organizing bodies of the event. During the occasion, both vice presidents acknowledged the successes of the event, and thanked the organizing bodies, and showed their institutions commitment in the future on similar attempts of Nanotechnology.
By Elias Menbere