Mammo Muchie was born in 1950 into a middle-class family in Gondar, Ethiopia. He received his primary and secondary education in Gondar. He topped the World Youth Forum Competition and was invited to USA in 1968, where he completed his high school education. He pursued a diploma program at the MENDELEV Institute of Measurement Science, Russia in Measurement Science. Mammo then continued higher studies at Columbia University, New York and Sussex University, England. He did Mphil (in Economic development, passed with a triple first) and DPhil (in S&T Policy) from the Science Policy Research Unit of University of Sussex.
Professor Mammo started his teaching career as a part-time lecturer in Physics/Mathematics at Columbia University Extension Program, New York in 1974. After a short stint as a Mathematics Lecturer at Medgar Evers College, City University, New York and as a Research Assistant, at Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Berkeley, USA, in 1976 he joined Ethiopian Standards Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as Standards Engineer. He then spent a couple of years as Research Associate at Trans-National Institute, Amsterdam, Holland, and as Lecturer, in the M.Phil. Program at Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex and as part-time Lecturer (B.Sc. Society & Technology) at Middlesex University, UK. In 1987, he became Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations and International Law (Vakgroep Internationale Betrekkingen en Volkenrecht), University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Subsequently, he served as a lecturer, at University of Middlesex, UK and as a Visiting Professor, Carleton College, North Field, Minnesota, UK. During this phase, he took up a variety of teaching assignments at Free University, Holland, TNO-Delft, MERIT, Business and Economic Faculty at Limburg University, Maastricht, Holland and for one year as a full-time Lecturer at Middlesex University, UK. He also served as a Visiting Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, Sussex.
Prof Mammo became a Principal lecturer and Head of the Unit of Science and Technology Policy, Middlesex University, UK in 1991. From 1994 to 1997 he served as the Director of the International Policy Research Centre (IPRI), and Head of the MSc. Division in Science, Technology & Policy. Back in Africa later, he served a term each as Senior Research Fellow/ Director of Research, African Centre for Technology Studies, Nairobi, and as acting Dean of the College of Scholars, ACTS, Nairobi, Kenya, before joining as a Lecturer, at the Judge Institute of Management Studies, Cambridge University, UK. Professor Mammo spent two years as a professor at Aalborg University, Denmark and Jiaxing University, China. In 2004, he became Director of Research Program on Civil Society and African Integration, Centre of Civil Society & School of Development Studies, University of Kwa Zulu Natal, Durban, South Africa. He then joined Aalborg Universitet, Fibigerstræde, Denmark. Currently, he is NRF/DST Research Professor, South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI), Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa.
Professor Mammo taught over 400 doctoral candidates in doctoral academies across the world in the Globelics, Africalics, Cicalics, Indialics networks. He has taken major initiatives for running Doctoral and Masters Academy in various universities in Africa and all over the world. One such academy was recently organized by the Association of Common Wealth Universities. Also, he has been invited to give keynote addresses and lectures in Africa and world-wide. He is the founder of the Africa Post-Graduate Academy that has been training masters and doctoral students drawn from different discipline backgrounds applying the unity of knowledge approach to upgrade quality supervision.
Prof Mammo is currently the chairman of the advisory board of African Talent hub of the Community Interest Company. He has been appointed as special distinguished advisor to the Africa Union’s Student Council, and a mentor for the African Entrepreneurship award. He has initiated the African Unity for Renaissance and Knowledge Exchange series of conferences since the last seven years. He is a founding scientific advisor to the African Solar network, founding chairman of the Network of Ethiopian Scholars.
Since 1985, Prof Mammo has produced about 430 publications, including books, chapters in books, and articles in internationally accredited journals and entries in institutional publications. He was one of the founding members of the Globelics Initiative, which initiated the new relationship between Northern and Southern researchers. Ever since he has been serving as a scientific Board member of Globelics and the Globelics Academy. He is part of and the founding scientific board member of the network that connects North Africa, with the Middle East and southern Europe (MedaLics). In 2009, he founded the African Journal on Science, Technology, Innovation and Development (AJSTID), and serves as its editor-in-chief. He is also an editor of the Globelics Journal of Innovation and Development.
Prof Mammo is also a founding scientific advisor to the African Scholar network, chairman of the Network of Ethiopian Scholars (www.nesglobal.org), chief editor of the open access electronic journal The Ethiopian Electronic Journal for Research & Innovation Foresight (Ee-JRIF). He is founding editor of the new journal of creativity, innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (JCISE), and the Journal of Agriculture and Economic Development, Associate Editor of the Journal of Economics and Institutions, University of Malaysia, Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies, Taylor and Francis; Financial Innovation, Springer; Social Epistemology, A Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Policy, Taylor and Francis.
Prof. Mammo is also a co-founding member of the Nano Technology Institute in Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) leading the innovation side of the research. He has been appointed as a scientific and academic advisor to the local e-Governance research that involved ten African countries on ICT4D funded by IDRC, and managed by CAFRAD. He has been appointed as a consultant on UNESCO’s higher education, Research and Knowledge forum. He has served as a post-doctoral mentor in the NRF national postdoctoral Forum.
His foremost and seminal contribution to the discipline of innovation as applicable to the African continent and towards bringing the global south in general and the African continent in particular to the forefront of innovation research has been: refining, contextualizing and popularizing the research and policy framework of National, Regional and Sectoral systems of innovation, by way of co-founding and developing the Globelics platform and its innovation research network. Through the foundation of AfricaLics Prof. Mammo played pivotal role in organizing 5 PhD academies (held in Nairobi, Algiers, Mombasa, Hammemet, Ile-Ife) and training 144 students towards writing their PhD dissertations in Innovation and S&T policy. One of his key achievements was developing free open access teaching and learning material. This resulted in: 19 university teachers from 17 African countries have developed action plans to create one or more courses or programs, Full MSc course in Innovation and Development being pursued by: University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Adama Science and Technology University (Ethiopia), The I&D course or parts of it are being used at seven universities in Tanzania, South Africa, Canada, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya . Prof. Mammo was instrumental in organizing PhD supervision training under the banner of AfricaLics, which resulted in 3 experience sharing sessions held with a total of 41 PhD supervisors, publication of a handbook on PhD supervision for both students and supervisors. This was made available on website and sent to all PhD students and supervisors in the AfricaLics network. Yet another milestone was the organization of PhD visiting fellowship program under which 11 African students were trained. Seven now completed their PhDs. One has completed a joint degree with Aalborg University (Denmark) and Adama University of Science and Technology (Ethiopia). Apart from these two research conferences in innovation were organized (Mozambique, 2013 and Kigali, 2015) which helped in setting up eight research networks in the African continent in innovation discipline drawing together 220 scholarly participants presenting 57 papers and 28 foremost scholars of innovation. Yet another significant output of his work with AfricaLics has been promoting collaborative research and research networking innovation. Seed funding of research / book-writing projects funded with between US$10,000 to US$ 35,000 resulting in: 3 follow up research proposals submitted and 2 subsequently funded, 12 papers have been published, 9 papers accepted for publications, 3 papers undergoing review and 1 book in pipeline. He organized one national conference mobilizing support from Algerian Ministry of Infrastructure (on engineering and design as a direct consequence of the engineering and design research findings). As an impact of his work with AfricaLics a very strong and vast network of innovation researchers has been established, who continue to work with each other.
Prof. Mammo took up the mammoth task of producing an impressive body of research on the innovation systems in various African countries. In this respect, he has published at least 57 original research articles (in high impact journals), 20 books, 58 book-chapters, 15 refereed/peer reviewed conference papers and 10 popular articles, produced in collaboration with leading innovation researchers. He has delivered more than 100 key-note lectures across the globe talking about innovation and innovation systems and its challenges in the African context.
Questions from P2P e-Health Newsletter and Answers of MM
- What drew you to the science of innovation?
Innovation is the creation of something original, novel and also useful. I was inspired by my supervisor the late Robin Murray, who later became the chief economic advisor to Ken Livingston, the mayor of London. He used ideas to create a new way of payment to the staff by arranging accommodations and through a variety of ways returning for their services. My post-graduate and my lecturing experience in science, technology and innovation is why I was drawn to the science of innovation.
- What is your opinion about the status of science in the South (developing countries) versus in the North (developed countries)?
The best achievement we have made to re-link the science disparity between the North and the South is the Global Network on the Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence building Systems. I was one of the co-founders of regional networks, such as the African Network on Innovation, Learning and Competence Building Systems. I have also founded through the support of the Department of Science and Innovation and the National Research Foundation at Tshwane University of Technology an African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development (AJSTID) that has opened opportunity over the last ten years to many African emerging scholars. I have also founded a Journal for Creativity, Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (JCISE) to provide more opportunities for African scholars. The best way to deal with the knowledge, learning, research, publication and patent chasm between the North and South is by creating networks to value their contributions to the South, and also to create knowledge resources to create equal opportunities to Southern researchers. have been these networks.
- You are heavily involved in supervising and advising a score of doctoral students in Africa. How productive do you think these students will be when they join the work force?
The students have done tech-venture start-ups. I have also tried to found a Pan African Talent Imitative (www.pati-global.com) to make African graduates not only certificate earners and job seekers, but those that become African job creators to develop an innovative ecosystem to support them by creating seed funding and awards. The idea was to bring all the triple helices universities, industry and government to collaborate and invest. We had the Africa entrepreneurship award that I served as a mentor and supported both Ethiopian and South African students to acquire seed funding for their venture start-ups.
- In addition to what you have already been doing, what will be your future involvement in Ethiopia in the field of innovation?
There was the African Innovation Week that the Innovation Business Incubation Accelerator together with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and the Africa Union ran together, and 200 innovators mostly from Ethiopia but also from the rest of Africa competed. 50 of them won prizes and I was appointed as one of the judges. I am also supporting the Ministry of Technology and Innovation, with the hope of creating an Ethiopian national system of innovation. I have given lectures in the Ministry of Innovation and Technology on emerging technologies, and innovation system. I am also a board member of the Innovation Business Incubator Accelerator organization.
- Tell us a little bit about how innovation can affect the medical sciences and healthcare.
The role I did play on innovation is to learn so much from our dearest brother Dr. Fekadu Fullas when we were generating research papers on traditional medicine and indigenous knowledge in Ee-JRIF that is now being run with Bahir Dar University. There is a vast knowledge that we do not know about and it is very important that we learn this knowledge in every sphere of science, technology and innovation. The work on traditional medicine must be included in the curriculum and how great it will be to harvest this knowledge and make human and nature health a successful and much welcome achievement.
- Give us your overall take on p2p activities
I would like very much to improve people to people relations. We need to remove military industrial complex and create the humanity one family as one relation at a universal and global level. All the differences humans have should not be a liability, they should appreciate our differences and celebrate our one humanity.
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
I walk daily, go to the gym and swim. Whenever I go to Ethiopia, I like to hear cultural shows and listen to traditional poetry. I never drink alcohol and never smoked throughout my life. I try to live a healthy life as much as possible doing hard work as joy and fun.