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Prof Kuma Giving his Keynote Address
Prof Kuma Giving his Keynote Address

The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa has held its 5th Innovation and Career Fair, a flagship programme of the University in Tarkwa. The Innovation and Career Fair is organised to provide a platform and an impetus for students to transform what they study in UMaT into feasible and scalable projects that would impact positively on our communities and the country at large. In addition, it is to unearth the entrepreneurial potential among the students. The Fair brought together engineers, researchers, students, consultants, business executives, service providers and all those who were interested in innovation in Mining, Petroleum and related disciplines.

In his Key Note Address, the Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma indicated that the Innovation and Career Fair has become one of the flagship programmes for which reason the University together with her sponsors always devote time, energy and resources to prepare the students for the ever-changing world of work.  “This fair also showcases the brilliant ideas our students have developed to make the world a better place and more sustainable by providing a platform for them to transform what they study into feasible and scalable projects. Our students are thus given the opportunity to bring to light the entrepreneurial potentials that would impact positively in our communities and the world at large” Prof Kuma emphasised.

Prof Kuma further reiterated the need to support these students with the needed skills and training because, according him, they are the future leaders and that national development should hinge on creativity and innovation. He added that it is the only way to make His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s policy of a Ghana beyond Aid feasible.

Hon Rev John Ntim Fordjour Addressing the Audience
Hon Rev John Ntim Fordjour Addressing the Audience

The Guest Speaker for the 5th Innovation and Career Fair was Hon Rev John Ntim Fordjour, the Member of Parliament for Assin South and a distinguished Alumnus of UMaT. He spoke on the theme: ‘Think Smart, Be Innovative’. Rev Fordjour challenged the students to devise creative and innovative solutions for the many problems and challenges which confront our society, which according to him were evident in the areas of health, education, agriculture, industry and environmental sectors and by so doing, create opportunities of commercial values in pursuit of the Ghana beyond Aid Agenda declared by his Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo. He also called on the government, corporate bodies and donor partners to support the proposed UMaT Incubation Hub and provide the needed funding to convert the brilliant innovations and inventions into commercially viable products and services.

Out of 10 Projects that were exhibited and competed for at the Fair, a project titled CocoaNet won the competition. According to the group leader, Miss Jewel Ami De-Quist Sosu, a Final Year Electrical and Electronic Engineering Student, they developed an image classification model that is able to detect and classify cocoa diseases from images of cocoa plants. An application has been developed that will use the model to identify infections and also educate farmers on how they could fight against the infections. According to her, this will not only put an end to the wrong application of insecticides and save money, but would also lead to an increase in crop yields. Data collected with the application will also be used to inform government policies and increase cocoa production.

The other Projects showcased at the fair included Enva-Clean Briket - an alternative for wood fuel using after-harvest-waste, specifically plant waste to generate clean fuel; Tuyochat Drone Control Chatbot - a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users. The objective of the project is to build a chatbot and an Autonomous drone control system to enable one to control drones using natural language and a conversation with the aid of Natural Language Processing system; Logdominus Biometric ID Management System - a fingerprint biometric internet of things (IOT) device designed and engineered to meet the unique needs of schools. The device works with the schools’ existing software, portal or website to provide an ID platform that works with a user friendly desktop application anywhere in the school. It is unique because it adds speed and control to any area of operation that uses student ID.

The others are Adepa Eco-Cook Kit, which is known as Adepa Eco gel. It is a smokeless fuel for cooking used in specially designed user-friendly enamel coated aluminum stove of high quality.  It is more efficient as it burns 3 times longer than the traditional cooking fuel; a 3D Representation and Visualisation of various Instruments - a project that seeks to design a simulation program to aid engineering students to learn about various field related techniques as well as the operation of various instruments and tools they use in their field of study. The features of this project are Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and design and implementation of Geo-emergency software. It is Real time software comprising a web application and mobile application designed to address emergency needs of individuals. Geo-emergency does this by creating an intimate relationship between users and various emergency units.

Jewel Ami De Quist Sosu Receiving Her Awrd from Rev Hon Ntim Fordjour
Jewel Ami De Quist Sosu Receiving Her Awrd from Rev Hon Ntim Fordjour

This year’s cash awards were significantly enhanced to motivate the students to do more. The winners took home GH¢5,000.00, a Certificate of Participation and a Plague. They were also promised a Mine Tour by Newmont Ghana Limited. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions took home GH¢3,000.00, GH¢2,250.00 and GH¢1,000.00 respectively in addition to a certificate and a plague. The rest took home consolation prizes of GH¢750.00 each.

As part of the event, Hon Rev John Ntim Fordjour donated 9 laptops and 20 units of LED streetlights to the University. The laptops were to be used to start the UMaT Incubation Hub whilst the street lights were to help illuminate some parts on Campus and the residences of staff. This gesture, according to him, was his widow’s mite as an Alumnus of the University. As an entrepreneur himself, he declared his support for the University’s plan to establish the Incubation Hub which will help nurture and train brilliant and groundbreaking innovations and inventions of students of the University. Hon Rev Ntim Fordjour is so far the first and only alumnus of UMaT to have been voted into Ghana’s Parliament. Rev Ntim Fordjour was full of praise for his alma mater which he proudly touted as the best publicly-funded university in Ghana and indicated that it was most gratifying for him to give back, within his modest means, to a great institution which imparted him with unique values of excellence, the fear of God, and selfless leadership.

Expressing his appreciation for the gesture, Prof Kuma who received the donation on behalf of the University thanked Hon Rev Ntim Fordjour for the gesture and commended him for the advocacy he has taken to rally support for the financing of the ultimate UMaT Master Development Plan in the new site which is estimated to cost $600 million. He assured the Honourable Member of Parliament that the laptops would be used to start the Incubation Hub and the LED Street Lights would also help to provide illumination and improve security on campus and the residential areas.

Source: Paul Y. A. Yeboah, Head, University Relations Office