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The 15-month Innovation Scholars Program (ISP) will serve faculty and administrators from Malawi University of Science and Technology, as well as members of the Malawi National Engineering Ecosystem Network, a convening body. Participants will develop techniques to create science-driven innovations to address local economic, environmental, and social challenges. 

Program Overview

Through workshops, applied research, and partnerships, scholars learn how to use design thinking and systems thinking to better understand and address specific problems. Outside the workshops, they practice what they learn by working with a group to identify a solution to a real-world challenge. Scholars choose a research topic relevant to their field, select a solution design team made of public and private representatives, and then connect with end-users to discuss the proposed solution before implementation.

Workshop Topics

Each single ISP workshop is comprised of three half-days of training and community engagement. The first half-day introduces the workshop topic, a campus forum on the topic is held on the second half-day, and on the third half-day scholars reflect on the topic and prepare for the next phase of their ISP research project.

The community forum engages non-ISP scholars in the topic, brings members of the private sector and other stakeholders to campus, and is an opportunity to highlight gender specific aspects of the workshop topic. ISP workshops take place on the campus of MUST and are led by members of the facilitation team, composed of faculty and staff from MSU and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR). Additional support comes from scholars and experts of regional universities. Learn more about the role of LUANAR in the ISP.


1. Design Thinking

2. Systems Thinking

3. Community and User Engagement

4. Teaching for Innovation

5. Cross-disciplinary Seminar

6. *Regional Excursion (weekend trip to a regional innovation ecosystem)

7. Communicating for Impact

8. *Innovation System Symposium (scholars present research findings and recommendations)


* off-campus activity 

Gender-responsive Approach

The facilitation team for the ISP takes active measures to recruit a balance of male and female scholars, and will incorporate gender content into workshops and trainings. For example, in the leadership track, we anticipate developing workshop content which addresses gender sensitive/gender-aware administrative approaches and processes that support and equitable environment at all institution levels. 

To identify problems and design and implement effective innovative solutions, it is essential that researchers and partners in other sectors understand and account for gender and other social dynamics. Workshops incorporate methods for socially inclusive/participatory approaches and for integrating gender/social analysis into the innovation process. 




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