An overview of the 3rd International Interdisciplinary Conference (IIC3-2016)

The Inter-University Research Consortium idea was mooted in 2013 when Rev. Sr. Prof. Felicia Opara from the then Anambra State University (now Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University – COOU) was on sabbatical leave in University of Eldoret (UOE) at the School of Education. The partnership was originally between COOU and UOE. They actualized the partnership by organizing the 1st International Interdisciplinary Conference (IIC) in September 2013 held at UOE. The 2nd IIC was hosted by COOU in Igbarium in Nigeria in September 2015. The 3rd International Interdisciplinary Conference was held on 7-9th September 2016 at the UOE at the School of Education Complex.

Our University of Eldoret team, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Teresa Akenga, Prof Ole Kiyiapi, Prof Ochuodho and Prof Khanna visited Mizzou, as it is fondly known, with the main aim of signing an agreement to build up the potential of our School of Engineering on both training and research fronts.

During the visit, the team toured the College of Engineering, specifically the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Civil, Thermodynamics and Hydraulic Controls and Computer Engineering where they saw both the teaching and research sections. The discussions with the Dean, College of Engineering, Dr. Elizabeth Loboa and Dr. James Scott focused on:

  • MU Engineering;
  • University of Eldoret (UoE) opportunities of collaboration: Students and Staff exchange, mentoring of faculty, visit by Dean and team;
  • Student exchange could that take the shape of either 2+2 or 3+2. The former is preferred as the student spends 2 years at home university and last 2 years at MU. The latter would be good for staff development of identified excellent students, who spend 3 years at home and 1 year finalizing BSc and then proceed to 1 year MSc;

The team also had a chance to visit the Agricultural Systems management program (Agricultural Engineering) and met with Prof. Leon Schmacher. The department focuses on precision agriculture and research that answers current questions in industry and lifestyles. Other stops made during the Missou visit were:

  • Mizzou Arena for the Engineering career fair that hosted 185 companies through the US which were discussing employment and internship opportunitie,
  • The MU Power Plant that supplies the university community with electric power, heats the rooms and provides drinking water,
  • The building company that builds quality energy efficient houses (homes or businesses),
  • The health care section which was divided into 3 key areas:
  1. The orthopedic hospital,
  2. The health professions – teaching and research with experiential learning approach,
  3. Nursing – teaching enhanced through the use of electronic simulations,
  • The International Nuclear Science and Techonology program at the Research Reactor center. The reactor is used for research, producing isotopes used to develop mainly medical (detection and treatment of cancer) and agriculture research materials.
  • The morning of Friday, September 16th, 2016, 9.00 a.m and the MoU was signed. The main objective of the MoU is to negotiate and enter into project specific agreements which relate to:

    • Training of university staff for master’s and doctorate through teaching and research in innovative technological development, commercialisation and marketing in the areas of engineering with emphasis on mechanical engineering and any other areas of the two organisation’s mandate.
    • Providing an instrument for establishing various collaborative initiatives for the growth and mutual benefit of the two institutions.
    • Enhancing professional skills of staff in both institutions through training, research, interactions and exchange of experiences and information.
    • Enhancing/promoting quality research in fields of mutual interest.
    The potential benefits of the collaboration to University of Eldoret
    • Great faculty at MU,
    • Collaboration in cutting edge training and research in all fields,
    • Experiential learning in all teaching aspects coupled with some entrepreneurship alongside education,
    • Eagerness of MU to embrace diversity,
    • Diversity of colleges/schools to work with,
    • Potential for faculty and student exchange,
    • Long history of MU, great capacity and experience could provide mentorship to UoE, among other things.
    Way Forward
    • Visit of MU Chancellor and his team to University of Eldoret,
    • UoE to develop an implementation process and schedule of activities,
    • UoE to engage MU to agree on the quick wins and an action plan.

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