March 8, 2021

Communication between research and businesses or the wider community: a plea to communicate

Dr Otlhapile Dinakenyane

In her highly commended entry to the FLOW “Write a Blog” competition, Dr Otlhapile Dinakenyane highlights the challenge of the ‘first step’ in communication.

The truth is that every university is as relevant as the solutions it brings to the problems of the community it exists in. As it stands, universities exist in isolation from the businesses and the wider community. What a tragedy!

All these entities know that we need each other, but they are just reluctant to make the first call. They exist like two lovers waiting for the other to make the first contact. They know they need each other, but no one is brave enough just to pick up the phone and make that call that they all know will make them both better.

We do know that working together is better for us all, don’t we? Businesses and the wider community are the sources of research problems needed by universities. Universities can never run short of research problems if they engage the businesses and the wider community. Universities are the sources of solutions to the problems that exist in both business and the wider community. Businesses can make more profit out of the results of the research carried-out in the universities. The wider community can become better when the results of research are put in to practice in ways that work for them. All it needs is for someone to make that first call.

I therefore plead with businesses, the wider community and universities to make the call. It doesn’t matter HOW you communicate so long as you DO communicate. The world would be a better place if we all work together. It’s not just lovers who can create beautiful synergies.

Dr Otlhapile Dinakenyane Dr Otlhapile Dinakenyane is a Computer Scientist currently working as a lecturer/researcher at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). Her research interests include mobile computing, cyber security and emerging technologies. Dr Dinakenyane joined BIUST in 2014 after completing her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom (UK). She has served in several committees in BIUST among which includes being chair of the student disciplinary committee. She also assumes the role of the departmental industry liaison which afforded her the opportunity to work closely with the IT industry in Botswana thereby keeping her abreast with the local landscape and trends. Her passion with university-industry engagements has seen her working towards seeing SMEs engaging with BIUST for both entities to have mutual benefit from the relationship. This was fuelled by her involvement in the RECIRCULATE project with the Lancaster University (UK) through their residency program. 

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