Innovation has not left its mark as Kigali Innovation City (KIC) plans to welcome the University of Rwanda’s regional centre of excellence in biomedical engineering and e-Health, located within the environs of Kigali Special Economic Zone in Gasabo District.
The objective of the project is to accelerate the development of a skilled and competitive workforce in biomedical sciences and e-health to fulfill the immediate labor market needs of East Africa. It also aims to bolster the East African regional integration strategy in science, technology, service delivery, and labor market expansion, reads part of a document from RDB. The development has been welcomed by practitioners.
This will mark a great milestone in the establishment of the third higher learning facility hosted in KIC, following the African Leadership University (ALU) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).
According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB), KIC finalized the designs and assessments of the facility in 2022, and subsequently initiated the contractor acquisition process to pave the way for construction groundbreaking in 2023.
As stated by RDB, the faculty will consist of a new building that integrates offices and incubators through a partnership with Africa50 and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA).
KIC has also garnered significant interest from data centre providers, local technology companies, and biotechnology developers to establish their presence within the community, RDB added. The facility is expected to serve as a hub for introducing leading clinicians and technicians to Rwanda’s healthcare sector. The centre aspires to become a benchmark for biomedical innovation and engineering throughout Africa.
The innovative and distinctive facade of the seven-story building draws inspiration from the local craft tradition of Imigongo and the historical King’s Crown, incorporating their patterns and designs. In terms of energy efficiency, the building’s plans and programming incorporate passive principles such as daylighting and natural ventilation, enabling airflow and temperature control.
According to Justin Hirwa, a biotechnology engineer, there is lack of a dedicated department or programme in biomedical engineering and e-health at the University of Rwanda, which requires students interested in the field to travel abroad. By investing in specialized education and research facilities, the university is creating a supportive environment for students and faculty to explore innovative solutions, conduct cutting-edge research, and contribute to the improvement of healthcare technologies.
He also sees the initiative as a potential need to positively impact healthcare systems and patient care in the region whereby Scientists will have the opportunity to explore and develop methods for engineering new organs to address the critical issue of organ shortages for transplantation.