Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies is partners in Malawi and Tanzania to improve healthcare through invention by replicating the success of Rice's award-winning, engineering education programs for global health and by promoting shared innovation between students across our campuses.
With support from the Lemelson Foundation, Rice 360° is collaborating with biomedical engineering degree program colleagues at the University of Malawi Polytechnic (The Poly), the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), and the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), along with long-standing Rice 360° clinical partners at the University of Malawi College of Medicine and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre.
Our goal is to improve health care through invention by building and sustaining an international cadre of innovation leaders. We aim to make a sustained impact on the health in the developing world by training engineers who can identify practical new technological challenges, infuse engineering skills with entrepreneurial thinking, and work across geographic and disciplinary boundaries with clinical, engineering and business partners.
The bioengineering degree programs at The Poly, MUST and DIT have engaged with Rice 360° to replicate some of the best features of Rice's award-winning global health program. For example, Rice offers formal design courses that allow undergraduates to work on client-sponsored design projects related to global health. And those courses are supported by Rice's Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, a unique undergraduate design studio with the necessary equipment and supplies to create and evaluate technical prototypes.
As part of this collaboration, faculty from these institutions participate in workshops for curriculum and project-based course development. Moreover, Rice 360° has supported the establishment of engineering design studios at each The Poly, MUST and DIT. Clinical partners, such as QECH, have long partnered with Rice 360º to evaluate dozens of Rice's student developed healthcare technologies. They now also partner with the engineering design studios to offer similar opportunities for Poly, MUST and DIT students.
The Rice-Malawi-Tanzania partnership also fosters an innovation ecosystem through a multi-lateral exchange program that brings together students in Houston, Blantyre and Dar es Salaam . Students from across these institutions work collaboratively to develop technology prototypes that respond to challenges in providing hospital-based care. Throughout the design process, students are mentored by clinicians, professional engineers, industrial designers and business leaders. This hands-on approach fosters entrepreneurial thinking and helps students make the leap from a promising prototype to a sustainable product that can directly impact lives.
Rice 360° will continue to engage faculty within Malawi and Tanzania through faculty workshops and exchanges both with the US and within Africa. Our plan is to increase network building among faculty across Africa to share invention education guidelines, challenges and successes. We will continue to expand the student exchange program and promote invention education by engaging more recent graduates to become entrepreneurs through access to designs studio, partner innovation hubs, and exposure to local investors and other successful regional entrepreneurs