SPECIAL REPORT Building an Entrepreneurial University
The Bmobile-UWI Innovation Laboratory Powered by Huawei A world-class Innovation Laboratory at St. Augustine, the result of a tripartite agreement between The UWI St. Augustine Campus, Bmobile, and Huawei, brings Trinidad and Tobago closer to the country’s strategic goal as the centre of innovation in the Caribbean. Evidence has shown that there is a direct correlation between ICT development, including high speed broadband penetration, and economic growth. A first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, the laboratory will receive cutting edge telecommunications technology from Huawei and so deepen collaboration between the University, Enterprise, and Industry for research and development in new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud Computing, assisting in accelerating Trinidad and Tobago’s digital transformation. The equipment will be configured to replicate the Bmobile network, thereby providing fertile ground research in areas such as mobile and fixed networks, Optical Transmission, IP networks, Core and IT. Based in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at the St. Augustine Campus, the world class laboratory will be a training ground for students and ICT professionals across the Caribbean, propel academic research, and facilitate testing and development of new and innovative tech -based products and services whose unique IP could be commercialised. Plastic Cement and Primer Cement and Primer built for extreme conditions were the marvel at a St. Augustine Campus Innovation Conference three years ago. The suite of coatings included indoor and exterior paints, red oxide primer, marine coating, 4-in-1 coating and plastic cement. On June 11, 2019, St. Augustine turned that innovative research into its first spin-off company. Local raw materials are used in the development of the products —UWI Plastic Cement and UWI Primer—which are designed to withstand the heat, salt water, and rust of the Caribbean’s extreme conditions. This means the attractively priced products are even more effective in temperate climates and competitive enough for the export trade. In signing a licence agreement with Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago to bring UWI Plastic Cement and UWI Primer to market, St. Augustine demonstrated an entrepreneurial university turning its IP into revenue.
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal at The UWI St. Augustine, Professor Brian Copeland (centre) with Dr Ronald Walcott, CEO of TSTT (left) and Jeff Jin, CEO of Huawei (right) inspect a model of the innovation laboratory.
Among the coating products on display at the Innovation Conference were a primer, marine coatings and plastic cement, some asphalt-based and all with short drying times, and lower costs than comparable items.
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