Based on the foregoing analysis, the essence of the University’s strategy is that as Botswana’s only international science, engineering and technology University, it must drive the economic and social development of Botswana and have an international outlook; it must exceed the performance and results of its peers; must have strong leadership, a competitive academia, supported by integrated and aligned management capabilities; a sound financial base and entrepreneurship culture which recognises staff as its main asset.
SEVEN STRATEGIC THEMES
A key focus of the University’s endeavours will be on its core academic mandate of ‘providing higher education and training,’ and ‘to advance and disseminate knowledge and skills through teaching, learning and practical skills.’ (BIUST Act 3(a) and (c)).
This will find form in synergies between departments, well developed physical and virtual infrastructure, as well as Industry partnerships in teaching and learning through flexible entry points for industry expertise and specialization and not just academic qualification like PhD as a requirement for teaching.
Equally important is to ensure the university’s academic programmes are internationally acclaimed and aligned to the needs of the national economy, though differentiated from those other institutions, and improve graduate employability. Internationalization should be priority with a view to contribute to the Country’s competitiveness through the preparation of globally competitive graduates and the development and dissemination of intellectual capital and research that has a global impact. Recent reports on Botswana’s international competitiveness paint a gloomy picture with human capital development and research and innovation consistently being identified as the two key national weaknesses.
A review of teaching loads guidelines will be necessary to enhance research and to implement problem-based learning.
The second key focus of the University’s endeavours will be its research mission ‘to undertake, promote and facilitate research and scholarly investigations.’ (BIUST Act 3(b)), as well as ‘to contribute to national and international scientific and technological development,’- ‘to support and contribute to the realizations of national economic and social development,’ ‘to contribute to the cultural and social life of the community,’ and ‘to advance the intellectual and human resource capacity of the international community.’(BIUST Act 3(d) – (g)).
The recognition of the University as an ‘engine of development’ and as a ‘Flagship’ science, engineering and technology university of international repute will ultimately Strategic Theme 2: Research and Innovation Excellence depend on its success in undertaking high quality research that can be transformed into tangible applications and products of importance to society. This requires the University to ensure research is institutionalized as a strategic priority, with strong industry linkages, and supported by a sustainable research staffing and infrastructure, research funding and a properly managed and coordinated research management capacity.
Linked to research is innovation and commercialization through identifying entrepreneurs and establish an entrepreneurship Centre (local entrepreneurship development given the resources that we have). Of importance is also to develop a “go to market” for our existing products. A notable milestone during this plan is to establish a BIUST commercialization strategy to ensure that there is high conversion of research and other projects into business.
BIUST will identify and run with the existing projects and convert to third-stream income (crystalize the low-hanging fruits) through an entrepreneurship Centre.
A new future focus – should be defined by the close of NDP11 for implementation during NDP12. This model will be a proper International University focused, specialized and high value sustainable business model.
Choices include an international franchise, research based, Masters, PhD, entrepreneurial etc. The ethos of the new proposals should enable the organization to thrive in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world, being a public university with a mind-set of a private university, one that is International, and Industry-led.
Partnership and stakeholder/industry engagement will be developed through readiness assessment or attractiveness strategies that will enable BIUST to partner with like-minded institutions and industry. There is mutual benefit in building linkages with industry. For the University, such linkages will ensure relevance for its academic programme; opportunities for its students to obtain industry-ready skills and to promote the application of its research in a ‘real and live’ industry setting. For industry it will provide a partner in its quest for new ideas, innovation, and competitive advantage.
The ability of BIUST to have international impact both nationally and globally will depend on the strength of the international partnerships it has in place and the backward linkages of those partnerships to support the national agenda. The building of strong relationships with the community is one of mutual benefit, as BIUST has an essential role to play in contributing to the development of the economic, social and employment opportunities within the local community at local and national level.
BIUST will prioritize green field projects and partner with trainers from the industry to facilitate conversions to drive commercialization agenda. The list includes:
• Equipment and lab access by the industry
• Mentorship programmes
• Start-up accelerators
• BIUST in-house industry matchmaker
Deliberate efforts to build the reputation of BIUST will be undertaken as part of the strategy for internationalization (student, industry “investor” attractiveness). A great driver of brand will be academic and research excellence, Students have a legitimate expectation that their qualifications have ‘currency’ and will be recognized and held in high esteem in Botswana and internationally. However a deliberate branding strategy will be developed to drive actions that will build BIUST brand value.
Naturally, the preceding strategic themes need to be underpinned by strong institutional capabilities and for the University to function as a high performance organisation. Culture is set from the top and leadership should be engaging. A deliberate and intensive engagement plan that addresses culture, taking into consideration students, society, stakeholders who expect accountability of performance by the leadership will be put in place. Leadership should be seen to be living the core values.
The University seeks to establish strong governance, risks, and control measures to ensure operational excellence and compliance to the SDG through environmental risk management. Management will ensure that the essential operational building blocks are in place and well-functioning to enable Council to provide strategic oversight rather than being operational. Relevant governance systems, policies and internal processes and procedures will be developed and adhered to for managing a good reputation.