Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Government has released $900 000 to the National University of Science and Technology’s (Nust) DNA lab which is involved in national projects including profiling of Cyclone Idai victims.
The Government roped in Nust’s Applied Genetic Testing Centre (AGTC) to conduct DNA profiles following Cyclone Idai disaster which left more than 300 dead and scores missing.
The lab has previously been contracted to conduct DNA profiling on other national projects.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira revealed this at Nust last week where he challenged the Bulawayo based university to rise to the occasion and not trivialise its national importance.
“I’m also aware of the inter-disciplinary participation that Nust has been involved in such as on Cyclone Idai. Last week (two weeks ago) we released $900 000 to make sure the team works efficiently. Money is always there believe me. But people do not have ideas so money goes back to Treasury,” said Prof Murwira.
He said the involvement of Nust in national projects has prevented outsourcing, saving the country substantial amounts of money.
“AGTC is already reducing outflow of forex in this country and we want to support them. Recently, there were bus disasters that Nust was involved in and I can tell you that when I’m in Cabinet I say we can do this and when I say we can do this I mean you.
“When there is a major programme in Bulawayo I expect Nust, Lupane and Gwanda (state universities) to be leading and we will support you,” he said.
Prof Murwira said Government has no money for extravagance but will continue releasing funds to support projects that are of national importance.
He said universities should start spinning off new industries through prototypes at innovation hubs which can be developed in industrial hubs.
“We have started to build industrial parks, one at the University of Zimbabwe and another at Chinhoyi University of Technology. Anyone else who is ready tell us and we will give you the money.
“We might not have enough money but we have money for useful things. We are about to complete the first phase of the innovation hubs and in these hubs we are looking at good ideas which are checked by experts protected by lawyers and marketed by marketing people and leads to the spinoff of industry,” Prof Murwira said.
The Ministry has started setting up innovation hubs at Nust, Midlands State University, University of Zimbabwe, Chinhoyi University of Science and Technology, Harare Institute of Technology and the Zimbabwe Defence University. – @nqotshili