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About two dozen faculty and administrators of Malawi's Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) participated in the LUANAR ISP from 2016-2017. The program was tailored to support the university's mission to equip graduates with the skills and mindset to solve the region’s agricultural and natural resource challenges.


Over the course of multiple working meetings, the Innovation Scholars Program was collaboratively created between MSU and LUANAR,  

GCFSI listened to what the university community needed, and a strong relationship was established. Together, the group discussed the program application and selection process, overall curriculum content, and scholar expectations.

As a result of the co-design process it was decided to add an academic leadership track to develop the type of institutional environment that supports a culture of innovation.

LUANAR launches Innovation Scholars Program, LUANAR News, July 2016

Invitation to explore your innovative side, become an innovative scholar, LUANAR News, April 2016


Read more about the workshops

  • Design Thinking
  • Community Engagement
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Leadership Development
  • Communicating for Impact
  • Celebrate Innovation Symposium

Learning Excursion

Buzzing around in a coffee-colored bus in March of 2017, the Innovation Scholars traveled to a variety innovation sites during a three day learning excursion in Nairobi, Kenya. LUANAR faculty and administrators visited student hubs, start-up launch pads, and research-for-development institutions.

Sites included the University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Catholic University of Eastern Africa, United States International University, International Potato Center, International Livestock Research Institute, and local tech incubators Nailab and iHub.

Part of the year-long capacity building program, the field study allowed Scholars to see innovation systems in action, gain understanding of how the centers functioned, and brainstorm how they might incorporate novel ideas into the context of LUANAR and the broader Malawian food system.

Careers, love potions, and grilled meat: Adventures in structures and functions, a dispatch from Nairobi, MSU Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, May 2017

MSU-LUANAR Innovation Scholars visit Kenya on Study Tour, LUANAR News, April 2017 

Field study inspires Malawian faculty, administrators, GCFSI Wire, Spring 2017


scholars on the wall on excurison.jpgScholars listen at an innovation site visit in Nairobi, Kenya.  

 Innovation Scholars Program Facilitators

ISP Lead Team

Kurt Richter, Deputy Director, GCFSI

John Bonnell, Faculty Track Lead

John Medendorp, Leadership Track Lead

Bill Heinrich, Director of Assessment, MSU Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology

LUANAR Lead Team

Professor Emmanuel Kaunda, former LUANAR Deputy Vice Chancellor

Andy Safalaoh, ISP Coordinator for LUANAR

Wageningen University & Research Lead Team

Domenico Dentoni, Organizational Change, WUR

Renate Wesselink, Strategic Change Management, WUR 

Larissa Shnayder, Organizational Change, WUR

Content Experts


David Poulson, MSU College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Knight Center for Environmental Journalism 

Amol Pavangadkar, MSU College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Sandbox Studios

Candice Bailey, The Conversation, Africa

Teaching for Innovation & Nairobi Innovation Ecosystem

Bethwell Owour, Catholic University of Eastern Africa

Community Engagement

Paul Kibwika, Makerere University 




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