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Kigali Innovation City (KIC) is gearing up to welcome the University of Rwanda’s regional center of excellence in biomedical engineering and e-Health.
This milestone marks the establishment of the third higher learning facility hosted in KIC, following the African Leadership University (ALU) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). The Innovation City is located within the environs of the Kigali Special Economic Zone in the Gasabo District.
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.
The facility, as stated by RDB, 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 center providers, local technology companies, and biotechnology developers to establish their presence within the community,” RDB added.
Well-informed sources confirmed that the University of Rwanda has commissioned MASS to design the center. The facility is expected to serve as a hub for introducing leading clinicians and technicians to Rwanda’s healthcare sector.
“The center 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 imaging 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.
“The objective of the project is to contribute to the development of a skilled and competitive workforce in biomedical sciences and e-health to fulfill the immediate labor market needs of East Africa. The project 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.
According to Justin Hirwa, a biotechnology engineer, there is a lack of a dedicated department or program in biomedical engineering and e-health at the University of Rwanda, which requires students interested in the field to travel abroad.
“It (the center) brings the expertise and resources of international universities right to our doorstep, enabling us to receive a world-class education in our chosen field.”
Hirwa emphasized that the center represents a significant commitment by the University of Rwanda and its partners to promote advancements in biomedical engineering and e-health within the region. 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.
Beyond students, Hirwa highlighted that this initiative also holds the potential to positively impact healthcare systems and patient care in the region.
“One crucial area of research that can be advanced through this center is tissue and stem cell engineering. Scientists will have the opportunity to explore and develop methods for engineering new organs to address the critical issue of organ shortages for transplantation,” he said