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Student Innovators in a Group Photograph with the Pro VC and Panel of Judges
Student Innovators in a Group Photograph with the Pro VC and Panel of Judges
The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa has organised its 3rd innovation and career fair on the theme “Think smart; Be innovative”. This year’s fair which took place on the 7th April, 2017, was aimed at exploring and harnessing the talents of students to bring about improvements in technology. The 3rd fair also had the career segment which sort to coach and motivate students on how to start up a business and grow it.
The 3rd UMaT Innovation and career fair, showcased a total of Ten (10) student projects in the areas of 3D printing with electronic waste, computer-aided designs, artificial platelets for tyres, electronic voting system, detection of mobile phone theft using a mobile application, mobile application to the concept of smart tourism destinations, low cost network booster strategising to improve academic work, information dissemination on campus and conversion of waste sachet water plastics into diesel fuel.
In a keynote address, the Vice Chancellor, Professor J. S.Y. Kuma said the innovation and career fair was instituted to provide students with an avenue to showcase their talents and creativity through science and technology driven projects and applications, in order to strengthen the research capabilities of the University. He further said that the purpose of the innovation and career fair was to outline the tenets of the University’s vision and mission which are to become a Centre of Excellence in Ghana and Africa for producing world-class professionals in the fields of mining, petroleum, technology and related disciplines.
He further stated that UMaT as a well-known brand was committed to academic and research excellence and as such the Career and Innovation Fair was instituted to help unearth the entrepreneurial potential in the students and also to provide a platform for them to transform what they study into feasible and scalable projects that would positively impact our communities and the country at large.  He said “the Fair is also aimed at bringing together engineers, researchers, students, consultants, business executives, service providers and all those who are interested in innovation in mining, petroleum and related disciplines”.
Prof Kuma stressed that the theme for the fair “Think smart, be innovative”, was particularly relevant because the current global economy was largely characterised by constant innovation, product improvement and competition. 
The Guest Speaker for the occasion, Dr Kofi Osei-Kusi, Founder and CEO of the Osei-Kusi Foundation, a foundation dedicated to providing mentoring, coaching, scholarships, leadership and rural outreaches to support the youth population. He is also a social entrepreneur. He has dedicated his life to youth development for many years now. He spoke on the theme of the occasion and stressed that the youth needed to think smart and be innovative since according to him it was the surest way to be successful in life. 
According Dr Osei-Kusi thinking smart meant not just about working hard, but also thinking deeply, intelligently, widely and outside the box. Thinking smart also meant to prepare one’s self, investing in one’s self, challenging the status quo, knowing what others know and to know more than the average person and above all finding ways to adapt successfully to an ever changing world. He also explained that being innovative meant thinking outside the box as if there was no box, focusing on education (not schooling) and breaking the rules, not the law. 
Dr Osei-Kusi advised students to be original, determined, goal oriented and committed to whatever venture they decide to pursue. He said that as young entrepreneurs, students should believe in their goals, start small with the little resources at their disposal and gradually grow their businesses through innovative ideas and creativity. He opined that the youth across Africa must explore business as an alternative to economic and social empowerment.
The 2017 UMaT Innovation and Career Fair was highly competitive. Participating students displayed ingenuity with the projects they presented. At the end of the fair,  Kobina Abakah-Paintsil and his team of four carried the day, winning a cash prize of two thousand five hundred Ghana Cedis GH¢2,500.00.  The winning team excited the judges and the audience with their project “3D printing with electronic waste”. With the advancement of 3D printing technologies, prototyping can now be done at cheaper rates and faster times. With gains already made in using plastic waste as printing materials, it has become expedient to experiment on the use of e-waste to build the 3D printers themselves. Hence, this project investigated the possible deployment of e-waste as 3D printers. Their project was adjudged as the most innovative project of the fair.
The 1st runner up Amponsah-Okyere Kofi  and his colleague took home a cash prize of GH¢2,000.00 with their project on “Encrypted biometric voting system for the Students’ Representative Council of the University of Mines and Technology”.  This encrypted biometric voting system is made up of a Futronic Fingerprint scanner capable of detecting fake fingers, an encrypted database and an interface. The system takes the bio data of all the students, encrypts them and saves them in the database. The system presents a form for authenticated students to vote. It automatically counts the results per vote cast and presents the results after the elections. It has a number of security measures that reduces the risks of tempering.
The second and third runners up were James B. Dankwah and Co and Delali Bainey. They took home cash prizes of GH¢1,500.00 and GH¢1,000.00 respectively. Their projects were on “Detection of potential mobile phone theft using a mobile application”and “Artificial platelets for tyres”.
This year’s Innovation and Career fair received the most sponsorship and endorsement from a host of industry stakeholders including Nexans Kabelmetal Ghana Limited, the Title Sponsors,  AngloGold Iduapriem Mine, Legacy Financial Services, Star Assurance Company Limited, Maxam Mining Services, Intertek Minerals, Graphic Communications Company Limited, Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC), Tomkopack Driving School, Sametro Links Company Limited, the Petroleum Commission and African Underground Mining Services in collaboration African Mining Services.
A host of other Companies also participated in this year’s Fair where they showcased their products and conducted job interviews for potential students who would like to undertake internships and National Service with the Companies. 
Source: Paul Y. A. Yeboah, Assistant Registrar (University Relations Office)