AHEAD project

"African Higher Education Leadership in Advancing Inclusive Innovation for Development / AHEAD" is a Capacity Building project, starting on October 15, 2017 and ending on October 14, 2021. The project consortium consists of 15 organizations, including:

  • 4 Universities from Europe:
    • University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Sciences and Technology of Tîrgu Mures, Romania
    • Birmingham City University, the United Kingdom
    • University of Molise, Italy
    • University of Social Sciences, Poland

joined by the consultancy company European Center for Quality, Bulgaria

  • 2 Universities from Tanzania:
    • Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology
    • The State University of Zanzibar
  • 3 Universities from Uganda:
    • Kyambogo University
    • Lira University
    • Makerere University
  • 5 Universities from Kenya:
    • Kenyatta University
    • Kibabii University
    • Kisii University
    • Mount Kenya University
    • The Catholic University of Eastern Africa

The project aims to enhance capacities of PC HEIs to implement the knowledge triangle and better integrate their research, education and innovation functions in support of innovation for sustainable development and inclusive growth.

The implementation of the AHEAD project has allowed PC HEIs to review and reform their institutional structures and agendas, build the vital human capital and strengthen the managerial expertise needed to lead and manage innovation partnerships with a variety of stakeholders. The most significant achievements of the project include:

1) The analysis of the national innovation systems in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as the analysis of institutional research and innovation capacities of PC HEIs was implemented and summarized in the reports. This analysis provided a background knowledge of the context, in which PC HEIs operate and allowed for understanding of the factors influencing PC HEIs’ plans for implementing knowledge triangle practices.

2) Open educational resources in the fields of Innovation Management in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (8 lectures), Inclusive & Grassroots Innovation (6 lectures), Entrepreneurship & Social Entrepreneurship education (1 resource pack) were developed. The OERs on Innovation Management and Inclusive Innovation are accompanied by 2 Trainers’ toolkits offering a pick-and-choose menu of options for embedding the developed learning material in HEIs’ curricula.

3) 245 staff members and students were trained in the fields covered by the OERs. The participants in the “train the trainer workshops” have become multiplier agents who disseminate further the knowledge gained from the AHEAD learning resources and tools.

4) A Virtual Knowledge Gateway – an online platform for structured cooperation between African partners universities and key stakeholders was created. More than 300 stakeholders – university staff and students, policy makers, representatives of business, and community members – have already joined the platform.

5) Ten Innovation Hubs (inclusive stakeholder-oriented university-led structures) were created in all African partner universities. These Hubs are promoting innovation and entrepreneurship for sustainable development and inclusive growth in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. PC HEIs have attracted more than 150 alumni to support the activities of the Hubs and help starting entrepreneurs to develop innovations.

6) Pilot student start-up competitions were held in the newly established Hubs. 85 innovation ideas related to inclusive innovation or social entrepreneurship were pitched; many of them are being incubated in the AHEAD Hubs.

7) More than 1000 stakeholders took part in the project events and final conferences. The AHEAD project results were endorsed by the policy makers at highest level, incl. Uganda Minister of Science and Technology and CEO of Kenia National Innovation Agency.