By Tinaani Nyabereka
GWERU – The Midlands State University‘s (MSU) Department of Food Science and Nutrition (MSU) has introduced a food innovation concept that involves the processing and canning of indigenous foods.
The initiative follows the introduction of education 5.0 by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education which is on a drive to enhance research, innovation and technological transfer with a problem-solving approach.
Speaking at MSU 19th graduation ceremony recently, MSU Vice Chancellor, Professor Victor Muzvidziwa said the development of the concept was focused on the culture-centric problem-solving.
“In the spirit of innovation, our department of Food Science and Nutrition has developed a culture of problem-solving through a concept we call ‘Foonovation’, meaning food innovation.
“The process puts into consideration the processing and caning of indigenous foods that previously no one would have imagined possible. As we seek to excel in research, this priority area has started to grow and has seen the University getting 18 intellectual property disclosures.
“We have registered one patent, filed four utility models with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and three copyrights with the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Organisation (ZIPO). These innovations are ready for incubation in line with the national thrust of industrialisation,” said Muzvidziwa.
He added that MSU had secured competitive domestic and international research grants with 15 being active international grant research projects.
“Our researchers secured competitive research grants and we have a total of 15 active which include future leaders African Independent Research (FLAIR), Global Challenges Research Fund UK, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), GMES and Africa Support, National Institute of Health, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Practical Action, Care International and University Of British Columbia (PRE-EMPT).
“The awarding of these grants by international agencies to our academics is evidence of their intellectual energy and courage which we celebrate
“One of our academic staff Dr Gift Mehlana’s work on a grant-funded project has led to his subsequent selection by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and the International Younger Chemists Network .this is a strong endorsement of the international impact of our research in applied science.
“The name of Dr Mehlana will be etched on the periodic table of young chemists for the next 100 years,” Muzvidziwa said.
Meanwhile, 6977 graduands comprising 3 348 females and 3 629 males graduated from the university; marking the largest graduation gathering in the history of MSU.
A total of 989 students graduated with master’s degrees while three were awarded doctorates. International graduates from Namibia, Bostwana, Swaziland, Sudan and Mozambique totalled 100.