Professor: private sector needs to do more
A noted professor has accused the private sector of not doing as much as it can to breed a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Immediate past Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technolgy at the University of the West Indies, Professor Sean Carrington, said this is one of the issues crippling science and technology in the Caribbean.
He has therefore called for greater communication between scientific institutions and the manufacturing sector.
“We need people to realize that development comes with investing. Investing creates opportunities . . . but I think there is also an element to it that we haven’t quite moved to – the stage of entrepreneurship where a science student leaving university, like Bill Gates, [can] set up a company. We are not at that level yet but that is clearly where we need to go. Give people who are doing science opportunities to go off and set up a company and create jobs,” he told the media during the second Sustainable Bi-regional Multi-stakeholder Policy Dialogue On Science And Technology at the UWI Cave Hill Campus.
Addressing a near 60-member audience participating in the dialogue which is one of the activities of the European Union-funded project EUCARINET, head of the EU delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Mikael Barford, also called for the private sector to play a more critical role in the development of the region’s economies.
He said that since coming to the Caribbean almost two years ago he had challenged each country to contribute a significant portion of its annual budget to human resource development, yet the region continues to suffer from human capacity constraints in several potential growth areas.
Barfod said there is also still a poorly developed research culture, especially in science and technology and there appears to be significant disconnect between scholarship and practice.
He noted, however, that the 11th European Development Fund programme was being finalized and, for the first time, the EU will be providing one billion Euros in the development of the region and this should assist.
The support will be focused in three areas – regional integration, climate change and crime and security – which Barfod said provide several prospects for the science, technology and innovation community.
“I believe that the outputs from EUCARINET programme has provided an appropriate foundation on which this message may be actualized. The formulation of the Final Policy Brief And Strategic Plan For Sustainability is an extremely useful product for establishing the research, development, and cooperation agenda,” he said.
“. . . With a single message, leaders in the region must identify sustainable, strategic, scalable solutions for translating investments in education and research into policy imperative and innovative enterprises. Similarly, we as development partners must create flexible and easily accessible funding options that facilitate the transition from thought to enterprise,” he added.