Exchanges, Training, and Hands-on Workshops: Pablo, TUM SEED Doctoral Researcher, and prof. Disse at Olderkesi Living Lab in Kenya

The research partnership and collaboration between the TUM SEED Center and its partner universities continue to evolve as many TUM members make their first field research trips to our living labs, around the Global South. This past month, Pablo Sarmiento, SEED doctoral researcher at the TUM’s School of Engineering and Design, and his supervisor prof. Markus Disse visited our Living Lab, in rural Olderkesi, Narok-Kenya.


The Living Lab already has solar panels installed and running, giving the community access to energy and to entrepreneurial opportunities that come with it. But beyond energy supply, Pablo shared with members of the community some knowledge gathered through his research, via two hands-on pieces of training: The first concerned with techniques for a more efficient soil and water management for agriculture production and soil conservation, and the second with the effective treatment and storage of water to avoid water-borne diseases.

In addition to the direct benefits for the communities, the Living Labs constitute an instrumental research ground for scientists and experts, and a real-life setting for knowledge dissemination and valorization. 



Michelle in Peru: A Visit to our PUCP Partners & Living Lab in Cusco

In December 2021, Michelle Zombory, project coordinator at our TUM SEED Center, visited our SEED team in Peru, Lima at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. After a visit to the campus and a meeting with professor Eduardo Ismodes, scientific director of PUCP SEED Center, Michelle t, together with Sandra Vergara, local SEED coordinator, and Adriana Lombardi, project assistant, headed to Cusco, where our living lab is located. 

On the ground, they met local producers associations and NGOs and conducted interviews, as well as workshops to understand the needs of the local community, and capture areas of potential collaboration. These include, for example, a possible location for the implementation of renewable energy systems, to help boost local production of goods and entrepreneurial activities. 

One instance of local production requiring renewable energy is the solar drying process of fruits, directed for commercialization. Michelle, together with Sandra and Adrianna, could enjoy a hands-on experience with local experts from the "Association of agricultural and agro-industrial producers of Huayopata", on solar drying.

The LIVING LAB HUYRO located in the Huayopata Valley, La Convention province, Cusco is a physical space that promotes the creation of an innovation ecosystem for sustainable development using renewable energies. A unique place in the world, with multiple ecological levels, vast biodiversity, and only hours from Machupicchu.

The project began in July 2020 with a diagnosis of energy needs in the area. Subsequently, different technologies have been implemented such as solar dryers, biodigesters, photovoltaic systems, hydraulic wheels, among others; for active members of the community to develop enterprises focused on productive uses at the community level. 

Learn more about the project on our partners’ website here.

Living Labs' Cooperation : Dhirendra, TUM SEED Researcher, in Western India

A fundamental focus of our SEED program is research collaboration with living labs. Our doctoral researchers, together with our partners, both contribute to and employ our existing living labs to advance their research topics. 

Dhirendra Mishra, our doctoral candidate specialised in frugal innovation and additive technology had the opportunity to visit Vigyan Ashram, a 30 years old living lab, operating in the village of Pabel, in Western India, together with our IITB (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay) SEED’s scientific director, prof. Rangan Banergee and the project coordinator, Danish and Kumal.

Years after its establishment, the living lab expanded its core activities to education through small projected, implemented with local schools. All the projects directly cater to teh needs of local residents and include the development of electric Rikchas (airy three wheeler vehicles popular in India), biogas facilities, drip irrigation experiments, water conservation initiatives and the maintenance of a FABLAB (Fabrication Lab), with 3D printers and laser cutter machinery for creating and testing small-scale prototypes.

Our doctoral researchers will be visiting and working with different living labs and innovation institutes as part of the SEED research program and will be traveling to various countries in the Global South for collaborative work. 

Stakeholders' Engagement: The KNUST SEED Team Meeting the Yeboakrom Local Community

The KNUST SEED team in Ghana kicked off their local Living Lab implementation with a stakeholders' involvement workshop, where the community was formally introduced to the SSED project.

Stakeholders were drawn from the Municipal Assembly, Local Business Operators, Agro Industry Players, Traditional council, Electricity Company and other institutions. The Living Labs concept was formally presented to the stakeholders by the Coordinators. This was followed by discussion and inputs by the stakeholder groups towards the successful implementation and sustainability of the Living Labs.

The people of Juaben Municipality and Yeboakrom and all other users and stakeholders are engaged in a co-creation process to explore constructive and innovative ideas to establish a solar mini-grid that will serve as a catalyst for circular community development using Agro-Tourism as a fulcrum of decentralised Energy-Water-Food nexus.

The project is expected to create and upgrade 20 small scale to medium local enterprises and create up to 1000 jobs to the community members. 

Watch this video to learn more about the project and the community.

20KW Solar Power Plant For !KHAROXAS Community in Namibia

In early August 2021, NUST staff commissioned a 20-kilowatt power plant as part of the Sustainable Energies, Entrepreneurship and Development (SEED) Project Solar Living Lab. The power plant is located in !Kharoxas, about 60KM outside of Windhoek and will benefit the members of the !Khomanin San community. The NUST representatives included Prof James Katende, Professor of Renewable Energy Systems in the Faculty of Engineering, Ms Helvi Ileka, Acting Director of the Namibia Energy Institute, and postgraduate students. Representatives from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Namibia Engineering Corporation (NEC), the !Khomanin Traditional Authority, NamPol and several media outlets attended the commissioning.

Funded by the DAAD until 2024 and implemented in partnership with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Germany, the Living Lab will serve as a lighthouse project for the next two decades for teaching and research related to energy transition, rural electrification, and the entrepreneurial productive use of electricity. The Living Lab’s 20-killowatt solar panel was designed and specified by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (DECE) team and installed by NEC.

Learn more by visiting the NUST's original article here.

Kenya: The SEED center at JKUAT Breaks Ground for Mini-Grid Installation in Olderkesi

After several months of consultations and co-creation with the Olderkesi community members, Narok County government and other stakeholders, the Sustainable Energies, Entrepreneurship and Development (SEED) Project has finally broken ground. 

This gives a green light for the installation of a 12 Kwp mini-grid plant, that will see the community members, who are otherwise currently off-grid, access to renewable energy and consequently entrepreneurial opportunities. The ground-breaking event commenced with the transfer of various mini-grid technologies and equipment from the University Main Campus in Juja, to Olderkesi Trading Centre in Narok West Constituency.

Read more on our partners' website here.

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10 August 2020

Conducting field research in methodologically challenging settings virtual workshop

An opportunity for researchers to reflect on their data gathering and analysis practices. 

Over the past two decades the interest of management research toward developing countries and other challenging low-income settings has proliferated. The methodological foundations of management research however originate from developed countries, and arguably have limited relevance in underdeveloped regions. In such contexts, significant methodological difficulties related to data collection and analysis may rise from, for example, language and cultural barriers, questionnaire interpretation, unreliable statistical data, corruption and lack of freedom of speech. In practice, the work of a researcher is challenging due to safety issues, gaining access to interesting cases and the necessity of working with gatekeeper organizations.

On October 1-2, 2020 will take place an online workshop on conducting field research in methodologically challenging settings. The workshop will explore the methodological constraints common in impoverished regions, which are typically ignored, trivialized, misrepresented or deemed methodologically weak by mainstream management journals. The theme of this workshop is to develop rigorous methodologies in challenging settings for publication in leading journals. It will be a half day workshop on both days to accommodate for the different time zones the best way possible. The workshop will include keynote presentations from journal editors, round tables on methodological issues and paper development working sessions. The keynote speakers are Professor Charla Griffy-Brown (Editor-in-Chief, Technology in Society), Professor Wim Vanhaverbeke (Co-Editor-in-Chief, Technovation) and Professor Pablo Munoz, (Associate Editor, Journal of Business Venturing Insights). Participants can join as authors of a paper or as regular attendees. You can find more information here. The registration is open until August 20, 2020 here

23 June 2020

A Partnership for Innovation and Sustainable Development: KNUST and TUM together in scientific, technological, and entrepreneurial excellence

Picture: TUM – KNUST partnership brochure

Together with other nine projects, the SEED Center is featured in the new partnership brochure of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The wide range of collaborative projects are specially future-oriented in the areas of water and energy research, environment, mobility and global health. You can find the latest version of the brochure here.

09 APR 2020

Research Publication: Economic Development of Rural Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa through Decentralized Energy-Water-Food Systems

Picture: NEXUS The Water, Energy & Food Security Resource Platform

In the recently published book “Regional development in Africa” you can discover a chapter about our idea of the 4th generation of mini-grids written by our Master Programs Coordinator Johannes Winklmaier. And now an executive summary can be found on the Nexus Homepage.

The Nexus platform is a GIZ's nexus resource platform dedicated to the topic of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus and co-financed by the European Union and the Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation.