Monday, July 3, 2023, a crucial milestone was reached with the signing of the Tripartite Partnership Agreement (TPA) for the highly awaited Engineering and Science Complex (ESC). The agreement marks the beginning of a new era of collaboration between the University of Nairobi and its French partners and paves the way for the construction of the ESC, a state-of-the-art facility that will be a hub for innovation and learning in engineering and science. This event kicked off a series of collaborative workshops to design a roadmap for the implementation of the Engineering and Science Complex (ESC) project. The workshops will run from Monday 3rd – Wednesday 5th July 2023 with an aim to align the ESC with industry needs and trends, identify potential partnership opportunities, and develop joint research initiatives.
During the event, Prof. Ayub Gitau, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, delivered a comprehensive presentation highlighting the critical role the Engineering and Science Complex will play. He expressed that the complex would serve as a beacon of knowledge, creativity, and progress for future generations. “For the Faculty of Engineering, this ambitious endeavor represents the creation of a world-class center for scientific research, innovation, networking, linkages, collaboration, and student engagement. The complex aims to position the University of Nairobi as a hub of scientific excellence, contributing to the advancement of knowledge, technology, and society as a whole.” Prof. Gitau said. The Faculty envisions the complex as a platform for designing and developing teaching and learning modules and centers of excellence while fostering linkages and partnerships.
The Ambassador of France to Kenya and Somalia, H.E Arnaud Suquet, spoke about Kenya's importance within France's new vision for its relationship with the continent and expressed the belief that the ESC would become a hub in East Africa for cooperation and mobility between Kenyan and international actors, “This partnership is transformative because it’s about science and Innovation. We want to create employment while addressing global issues such as Climate change food security,” he concluded.
Prof. Stephen Kiama, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Nairobi, underscored the importance of the Tripartite Partnership Agreement in fostering capacity building and the sharing of best practices between the partner institutions in France and Kenya. He emphasized the transformative impact the TPA would have on the Engineering and Science Complex, turning it into an iconic place where academia meets the economic world, education meets people, and research and innovation meet society. “The TPA, that I signed myself in Paris on May 11 with my French peers, and 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,”
Prof. Fethi Bedioui, the Director of International Relations at Chimie ParisTech, highlighted the importance of fruitful partnerships in achieving the goals of the Engineering and Science Complex. He emphasized the need for collaborations between academia, business, industry, and policymakers to address global challenges, contribute to economic growth, and jointly tackle societal issues. Prof. Bedioui also stressed the opportunities for international exchanges, collaborations, and joint research projects that the ESC would provide.
Mr. Brian Ouma, the Chief Operations Officer and Director of University Advancement and Institutional Development emphasized the belief in research, education, and innovation as the foundation of the partnership between France and Kenya. He highlighted the partnership's focus on research, curriculum development, and innovation to address complex global challenges and push the boundaries of knowledge. Mr. Ouma also emphasized the importance of industry-academia engagement, curriculum enhancement, and internationalization for modernizing education. “Our partnership between France and Kenya is a shining example of what can be achieved when nations come together to address common goals, let us harness the power of this partnership to inspire future generations, drive innovation, and create a better world through education and Research,” Mr. Ouma said.
The ceremony was attended by esteemed guests, including industry leaders, government officials, renowned researchers, and representatives from leading academic institutions in France. An interactive question and answer session allowed participants to deliberate on aligning the Engineering and Science Complex with industry needs and trends. Furthermore, attendees engaged in discussions regarding potential partnership opportunities, joint research initiatives, and student engagement programs.
Representatives from partnering organizations, including Bureau Veritas, Elgon Kenya, TotalEnergies, Schneider Electric, and Saint Gobain, were also present during the event, highlighting the collaborative efforts across sectors to drive innovation and progress.
The implementation of the Tripartite Partnership Agreement marks an exciting new chapter in the University of Nairobi's pursuit of academic excellence and its commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration. With the support of esteemed French higher education institutions and the guidance of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Engineering and Science Complex (ESC) will serve as a transformative center for scientific research, interdisciplinary collaboration, and student engagement.
As the roadmap for the implementation of the Engineering and Science Complex takes shape, the University of Nairobi and its French partners look forward to further strengthening their collaboration, fostering meaningful exchanges, and creating a vibrant hub of knowledge, innovation, and excellence. The ESC is poised to become a beacon of inspiration and a driving force for transformative change in engineering, science, and technology education in Kenya and beyond.