Professor Stefan Palzer, Chief Technology Officer, Nestlé, has underscored the need for industry players to collaborate with academic institutions to harness innovation and advancement in technology.
He said by engaging the academia, companies could have access to the latest technologies to drive business growth and sustainability.
Prof Palzer said this in Accra during a panel discussion held as part of a summit organised by the University of Ghana and Nestlé.
The summit was under the theme: “Valorising Industry-Academia Partnerships for Sustainable and Affordable Nutrition”.
Prof Palzer said solutions to industrial challenges often cut across several disciplines, but because one company did not have such interdisciplinary expertise, it was crucial to collaborate with those in academia.
He said companies also must have talents to survive and thrive, adding that schools offered a great opportunity for companies to recruit excellent talents.
By working in partnership with academia, Prof Palzer pointed out that, industries would be able to develop suitable solutions for the local context.
He explained that a technological solution that worked in one country may not be effective in another country, saying, collaborating with academia, therefore, allowed companies to access local expertise to ensure successful implementation of localised solutions.
“So, we need to grow together with local expertise, otherwise our local solutions will have no validity under the local conditions,” he emphasised.
Professor David Dodoo-Arhin, Director of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology, University of Ghana, highlighted some innovative ways the University had adopted to bridge the industry-academia gap.
He said the University was embarking on project-based learning as a way to encourage entrepreneurship among students.
Prof Dodoo-Arhin said the University had also been keen on fostering industry-academia partnership to help students access the skills and expertise of industry players.
He indicated that the University of Ghana had set up innovation hubs where students could engage in critical thinking and ideation.
There was also the University of Ghana Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme to allow students to engage with entrepreneurs, Prof Dodoo-Arhin noted.
He said the University also frequently engaged industry personnel in the design of curriculum to meet the needs of industry.
“There is the University of Ghana Rebranding of Departments.
This is more relevant to current standards in the industry,” Prof Dodoo-Arhin said.
He added that the University was vigorously pursuing technology and digital literacy as a way of equipping students to meet the demands of the modern world.
Professor Matilda Steiner-Asiedu, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana, urged local food producers to use local resources in their production to cut down cost and make food more affordable.
Mrs Corrine Emonet, Global Head, Research and Development Innovation Acceleration, Nestlé, asked students to eschew fear and believe in themselves so that they could come up with innovative ideas and develop them to solve problems.
Mrs Céline Worth, Research and Development Programme Manager, Nestlé, urged the University of Ghana to build a strong network with other universities to pursue innovations to improve the food value chain.
She encouraged the students to make good use of the partnership between Nestlé and the University.