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NIRDA to support young innovators in cow value chain

The National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) has launched “Innovate for Cow Biohackathon”, an initiative to support young innovators in the cattle livestock value chain.

“Our Innovate for Cow Biohackathon for young innovators seeks to unlock the potential for innovation for cow and cow by-products; especially in leather, medicinal, cosmetic, fertilizer, animal feeds and creative arts,” said Dr. Christian Sekomo Birame, NIRDA Director General.

NIRDA is a Government of Rwanda’s institution that enables a generation of industrial innovators to become competitive through technology monitoring, acquisition, development, transfer and applied research.

The agency, through the Applied Research and Development Foresight Incubation (ARDFI)department, is ready to collaborate with young innovators in order to improve competitiveness and productivity around the cow value chain.

This, the agency says, will be done by supporting innovation through cash prizes to upgrade their projects, products and benefit from cost-free 3 month- incubation, which will yield growth of selected projects- improving production and management.

The initiative will also help to train successful teams on the appropriate technology, product development, business development and intellectual property management skills.

Those to apply must match with the theme and purpose of the Bio hackathon whereby life science products such as food, feed and fertilizer and STEM products such as smart hardware responding to cow value chain challenges are encouraged.

As criteria, the applicants must be a student, graduate, university staff or other innovators working in life sciences and STEM with cow product and by-products related innovations and with an interest in technology in the cow value chain.

The innovators , who should not be above 35 years old, are encouraged to apply in a team of  two or three members with at least one female and two out of three team members should be enrolled in university or university graduates.

“We want young innovators, especially University and IPRC students or those working from Higher Learning Institutions and are below 35 years old to leverage technology and play a role in the production of cow by products,” Sekomo noted.

Experts say that over 100 cow by-products can be obtained from different parts of the cow and NIRDA wants to support the young innovators to leverage ICT to contribute to the Cow value chain. 

 “There is a lot we can get from cows and we expect more innovative ideas from the selected applicants which will be incubated by NIRDA and we are expecting to come up with quality products for industrial production and commercialization,” Sekomo added.

Deadline and how to apply  

NIRDA says that the selection is a competitive process through which only the best pitches will be selected.

A two steps selection process through which applicants will, for step one, fill the application form found only on NIRDA website: www.nirda.gov.rw

If this is approved, the applicant will be invited to present their pitch to a selection committee and NIRDA staff shall provide necessary support upon request

Deadline for Applications is set on   March 20, 2022.

Applicants upbeat 

Teams from the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) are touring Universities and IPRCs in an awareness campaign for in-depth explanations and more details to young innovators who would love to apply for the upcoming #Innovate4CowBiohackathon.

Rebecca Nyirahirwa, 23, final-year student in Food biotechnology at INES Ruhengeri said, “It is very interesting and exciting because there are some opportunities we will gain from the project. I have a project and my idea is promising. I thought it was only about cow products but I am glad that by products have also been included.”

She said that she has just realized that the initiative is like a bridge for her to benefit herself and the country in general.

“Once selected, my project will be able to be turned into a beneficial product, it is a benefit for us to be able to contribute to the national development,” she added.

The applicants who need more information are urged to Visit: www.nirda.gov.rw or talk to NIRDA anytime at Kigali City Tower 13th Floor or Huye Research Centre.

Those in need of help while applying can also E-mail NIRDA

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