The programmatic lead for the African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA), Dr Kevin Kochersberger from Virginia Tech, recently visited the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) campus in Thyolo for some familiarization and discussions.
As such, he met the MUST team that is supporting the implementation of the ADDA, including the Deputy University Registrar, Ms Martha Sambani.
Dr Kochersberger also met Executive Dean of Malawi Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr Davies Mweta, ADDA national instructor Emmanuel Chimkaka, Academy accountant Daniel Singini and MUST ADDA activity manager, Dr David Mkwambisi, who is also Director of the Centre for Innovation and Industrial Research (CIIR).
During the meeting, the team discussed several issues including programming for the next three cohorts of the Certificate course, and introduction of Master’s degree programme in Drone Innovation, Operations and Information Science (MDIOIS). The degree will be offered by MUST “in affiliation with” Virginia Tech.
The ADDA, which was officially launched on January 13, 2020, will see MUST working with Virginia Tech to deliver a quality educational program in drone related technologies and innovations.
The ADDA will allow students to investigate and experiment with mechatronic and unmanned systems that effectively guides them towards entrepreneurship.
The CIIR will also perform a similar mission and it is expected that the ADDA will be able to support the MUST innovation programs with aircraft and expertise.
In return, MUST will develop students’ interest in drones through campus activities that are complemented by ADDA student and instructor visits.
MUST will also encourage club activities and competitions centered on drone-related technologies that include mechatronics, computer programming, hardware interfacing, computer aided design and additive manufacturing.
The drone program is being implemented with funding from UNICEF Malawi and expects to see 150 graduate students completing its maiden certificate course by December, 2020.