Strategic Initiatives

Introduction

In 2014, Bindura University of Science Education launched a Research and Innovation Strategic Plan (RISP) to guide research activities for the next 5 five years. The RISP articulates the guiding philosophy and approaches to support a deliberate drift towards the delivery of high quality, relevant and globally significant world class research and innovation. As proclaimed in the University’s mission statement, the University seeks to contribute to the advancement of knowledge and its practical application to social, economical, technological, cultural and scientific challenges. This mission is pursued with a vision to propel the University to become a hub of knowledge and a beacon of excellence in research. The University believes that a commitment to world changing research will inspire teaching and learning as well as dissemination of best practices. Since research and teaching are synergistic, globally significant research will enlighten teaching thereby inculcating a stimulating learning experience for the students. It is also the aspiration of the University to distinguish and promote, sustain and incentivise outstanding research performance and on the other hand discourage research inactivity for academic staff members. Principally, the University target is to address fundamental and strategically important questions and to proffer socio-economic and cultural solutions to societal challenges through national, regional and international collaborations. Since research and innovation are fundamental to the character and the standing of the University, this document, therefore, is intended to form a reference point to provide the basis for increasing research focus, intensity, relevance and impact on local socio-economic challenges and beyond.

Research, Innovation, Consultancy and Entrepreneurship

The RISP describes the measures which have been put in place to stimulate and sustain a culture of innovation administered through the Research and Postgraduate Centre (RPGC) and the Research Board. The BUSE Innovation Forum (BIF) has been launched specifically to spearhead the innovation drive. The University has defined innovation as a “novel or new solution that addresses society’s problems”. To this end, the University has identified priority research themes which are aligned to the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) and the National Research Priorities (NRPs). The thrust to support relevant research is effected through annual targeted funding initiatives such as the Business Development, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund (BDIEF), Vice Chancellor’s Innovation and Creativity Grant for Students, and the Competitive Research Grants. Contract research and technical advisory services guided by the Consultancy Policy provide opportunity to staff and the University to get involved in the analyses of national and institutional development issues and problems thereby becoming relevant to national development.

Research Integrity

To ensure that research at Bindura University of Science Education is conducted with integrity, the University shall ensure adherence to relevant policies, including the Research Ethics, Plagiarism, and the Publications policies.

Key goals
Bindura University of Science Education research strategic plan shall be guided by the following key results areas which seek to:

  • increase knowledge transfer and dissemination of research
  • increase the volume and impact of research publications
  • increase the level of external grants and resources attracted by the institution
  • attract research income earned from commercialization of research.

The University research agenda focuses on the following priority areas in line with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) and the National Research Priority Areas (NRPAs) including the Institution’s Niche areas.

Education for Transformation and Development
Research on the theme has implications for quality, the design and practice of science teacher training and professional development, and national policy on education. Sub-themes include: enhancing curriculum delivery through ICTs; Inclusive education; Curriculum review for national development; education for poverty eradication; quality assurance in education; gender and diversity in education; innovative methods of teaching; dealing with large classes; under-resourced teaching and learning environments; assessment and evaluation.

Agriculture, Natural Product Development and Market Intelligent Opportunities
The theme seeks to create a more successful and profitable agri-business in Zimbabwe. It focuses on the strategy for encouraging and managing Market Intelligence and Opportunities with an emphasis on developing products, improvements in overall productivity, value chains, profitability, innovation, as well as sustainability. Sub-themes include: optimizing agricultural production for socio-economic transformation; innovative agricultural financing for socio-economic development; and promoting agricultural niche markets for socio-economic transformation.

Climate change Sustainable use of Natural Resources
This theme recognizes that poor communities in developing countries are significantly affected by climate change and by global policies to mitigate effects in the near future. Temperature increases and altered patterns of rainfall, as well as extreme events, will have an influence on livelihoods, the sustainable use of natural resources and management strategies. At the same time, increasing access to energy in both cost effective and climate friendly ways is a major challenge for many developing countries. Sub-themes include: responding to Climate Change and Variability; sustainable use of Zimbabwe’s Ecosystems including forests and biodiversity; water as a critical resource (availability and utilization).

Economic growth and employment
Understanding the economic performance in many developing countries requires more knowledge about the role of the state and the private sector, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in fostering sustained pro-poor growth and development as well as improving capabilities of policy-making and implementation. Research under this theme seeks to identify the drivers of private sector development and the growth models that are appropriate in different contexts; what drives entrepreneurs and how their shift from the informal to the formal sector can be supported; the specific constraints faced by SMEs with regards to property rights and access to the financial sector; issues around tax evasion; how government can facilitate a better business environment, including regulatory services, property rights, commercial law and a stable and predictable investment climate; how government can promote access to financial services, skills development, appropriate technology and local and international markets; research into development and adoption of production and market strategies to increase the financial revenue of small holders in the private sector in order to improve their livelihood, strategies to improve economic participation-informal or formal to curb unemployment, and risk management strategies for small scale farmers or subsistence farmers; public-private partnerships; ICTs for socio-economic transformation; indigenization and empowerment.

Promoting and Maintaining Good Health
The theme on the strategies for increasing access, utilization and health outcomes. Focus areas include: improving health sector efficiency; measuring, adoption, diffusion of health technologies and their distribution effects; preventive health care, communicable and non-communicable diseases; sport and health research- physical exercise, physical health, sport medicine.

Science, Engineering and Technology
Sub-themes include: value addition and beneficiation; information technologies; green technologies; food product development; mining and metallurgy; material sciences and engineering; biotechnology; nano-technology; development of software applications.

Social Sciences
The theme seeks to address issues on gender and socio-economic transformation; youth and empowerment; gender based violence; child abuse and child protection; African leadership Systems; African leadership behaviour and management; Migration and Development; Governance in Post-Colonial Africa; Social Justice; Gender in Governance and Leadership; Crime and Society; Public Sector Accountability and Transparency.

Biomining/Bioleaching research project with Trojan Nickel Mine
The project is being done collaboratively by the Chemistry, Biological Sciences Department and Trojan Nickel Mine. It seeks to find out how microbial populations can be used to recover precious metals from low-grade ores and mining wastes. Bacteria which naturally occur in mining wastes has the potential to leach out valuable metal ions. If successful, the project may have dual outcomes: recovering value for mining wastes and reducing environmental pollution.
Principal Investigators
Professor Courtie Mahamadi cmahamadi@buse.ac.zw courtiema@icloud.com
Professor Wilson Parawira wparawira@buse.ac.zw
Dr Mathew Mupa mathewmupa@daad-alumni.de


Bindura University of Science Education and University of Udine collaboration on Energy, Health, Agricultural and Environmental benefits from Biochar use
The research project seeks to establish technologies for affordable, efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly utilization of biomass. The project is being led by researchers in the Physics and Mathematics Department at BUSE in collaboration with partners at University of Udine and is funded by the European Union.

Project coordinator: Professor A. Peressoti, University of Udine
BUSE coordinator: C. Shonhiwa


Plasma Diagnostics research with University of Zimbabwe
This project is a result of collaborative efforts between the Chemistry Department at Bindura University of Science Education and the Department of Chemistry at University of Zimbabwe. In this project, Inductively-coupled plasma (ICP), Microwave-Induced plasma (MIP) and flame atomic absorption (FAA) spectrometric techniques are being used together with kinetic modelling, to understand analyte excitation mechanisms in a bid to eliminate interference effects from Easily Ionizable Elements (EIEs).

Principal Investigators
Professor Mark. F. Zaranyika (UZ)- zaranyika@science.ac.zw
Professor Courtie Mahamadi (BUSE)- cmahamadi@buse.ac.zw; courtiema@yahoo.com

BUSE collaboration with Stellenbosch University on effects of climate change on human-vector interactions
Among other aims, the project seeks to investigate the availability of tsetse in various seasons and climatic situations with a view to assessing how climate change might threaten to increase the level and location of the risk of human trypanosomiasis in selected regions of Zimbabwe. It is anticipated that data will be generated on aspects of climate change and tsetse biology and on the effect of man-fly contact in Zimbabwe. The project is funded by the World Health Organization (the WHO) and administered through Stellenbosch University and Bindura University of Science Education.
Principal investigator: Professor John Hargrove jhargrove@sun.ac.za
BUSE Researcher: Mr C. Mangwiro mangwiroclement@gmail.com

Drug Discovery research with University of Botswana
The work on Drug Discovery seeks to find a sustainable low-cost antidote for the treatment of snakebites, particularly due to Bitis arietans. In this project the Chemistry Department at Bindura University of Science Education is collaborating with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). The research group has already registered three patents on “Methods to treat snakebite,” with the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Organisation (ZIPO). Current methods of snakebite treatment are both dangerous and extremely expensive and hence findings from this research group will contribute to knowledge in this critical domain. The project is funded by The World Academy of Science (TWAS).
Principal Investigators
Professor Courtie Mahamadi (BUSE) cmahamadi@buse.ac.zw; courtiema@yahoo.com
Professor Eddie Mwenje (BUSE) edmwenje@gmail.com

Climate Change research
Bindura University of Science Education is collaborating with International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy, and Research Institute for Global Change, JAMSTEC, Yokohama, Japan on climate change research. The main trust is on modelling the effects of climate change on rainfall patterns and predicting how the variability will impact food security.

Principal Investigators
Dr. D. Manatsa (BUSE) dmanatsa@gmail.com
Swadhin K. Behera (University of Tokyo, Tokyo, and Research Institute for Global Change, JAMSTEC, Yokohama, Japan)

Alternative metal adsorption technologies
On-going research is through collaboration between the Chemistry Department at Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) and the Chemistry Department at University of Cape Town (UCT). Major activities seek to unlock value in agricultural wastes such as peach stones, macadamia nut shells and the vastly abundant, and otherwise troublesome water hyacinth weed, by finding practical ways of converting the biomass into materials of excellent physico-chemical properties. In developing countries, such as Zimbabwe, the cleaning up of water contaminated by mining activities is necessary, but may be not be economically viable unless novel methods are developed that are more sympathetic to the needs and drivers in the country. If successful, this project will have dual outcomes: reduced environmental pollution and value addition to agricultural wastes.
Principal Researchers
Professor Courtie Mahamadi cmahamadi@buse.ac.zw; courtiema@yahoo.com
Professor Graham Jackson (UCT)