An African Microelectronics Institute – How We Can Make It Sustainable

We proposed the formation of Microelectronics Training and Research Institute (MTRI) across African regions. It was contained in a proposal which we have sent to some government bodies in Africa. In this piece, we look at how we can make that institute a profit center so that it can stand on itself after establishment. Enjoy this section culled out of the proposal.

 

Students and other citizens in this program(MTRI progrm) are likely to come from a broad range of disciplines, such as engineering, computer science, physics and mathematics. We expect that a significant number of students will come initially from Africa. We believe that Africa’s first microelectronics institute will help progress the reputation of the continent. We are optimistic that MTRI program will elevate our status of the continent and its commitment to science.

 

As the ICT sector improves and expands, we are seeing markets for creating the infrastructure from bottom-up. This will involve supporting emerging technology applications in digital signal processing (DSP), printed circuit board (PCB) technology, microcontroller programming, developing hardware drivers, etc.

 

Even the government research institutes across Africa will likely send their employees while many small and medium enterprises (SME) will patronize our programs to learn cutting edge skills to become competitive. Thus, the program is strategically oriented to serve the needs of current and future industrial and government sectors of Africa.

 

MTRI program will be consistent with any African university’s goals for equitable representation of various student groups- men and women. We will vigorously work to ensure women are attracted and supported.  This program has also developed a technique to use the flavors of high-tech to recruit more students into the university.

 

Our model has avenues to enable students from high and secondary schools do internships or summer programs in our Institute. This technique, undoubtedly, will enable them have easy access to our professors, students, researchers and possibly stimulate the student’s interests in S&T.

 

AFRIT’s model will help raise female students’ matriculation and graduation by 40% within the next five years. Furthermore, offering first-rate courses in microelectronics will provide us high pool of postgraduate students who will attend our programs. We estimate 100% increase in enrollment in engineering postgraduate programs, just for access to MTRI.

 

Because we anticipate a strong industrial and business support for the program, we are sure to attract and prepare a continuous pool of applicants from and for the industries and businesses. Aggressive recruitment strategies will be implemented to attract other potential students. Such strategies, especially for our graduate component, will include:

 

  • Maintaining a frequently updated web page that informs the public on the organization, opportunities, accomplishments, and excitement of the program.
  • Faculty presentations about the program at technical meetings (and trade associations) that are devoted to S&T education.
  • Faculty visits to other institutions with potential sources of students.
  • Mass mailings and e-mailings of flyers and other publicity materials about the program.
  • Contact with alumni and other potential benefactors via mail and open houses.
  • Governments will be challenged to offer fellowships through National Science Foundation to enable top deserving African students pursue postgraduate careers in science and technology. AFRIT is developing a program for NEPAD through which all African nations will be required to award a minimum of four years postgraduate fellowships to 1000 students with bigger countries like Nigeria and South Africa 2000 students.

 

Grant Graduation Path

 

MTRI is designed to survive post-grant graduation, i.e., operate when the grants have been exhausted. The following operations or techniques have been identified in that regards:

  • MTRI will organize workshops, seminars and conferences as revenue sources
  • MTRI  will introduce products in the market within the first 4 years
  • Seek more sources of funding, such as grants, endowments, etc
  • Generate income from patents and spin-offs
  • Through university BITTU, develop consulting relationships with firms and bring products to market.

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