The public, academia, Industry, government and the media should work together to create an enabling environment for the flow of technology and information among people, enterprises and institutions, to unlock the innovative process at national level for the realization of the “Big Four Agenda”.
The Chairperson, Kenya National Innovation Agency, Prof. Reuben Marwanga, said this while delivering a keynote address under the theme: Science, Technology and Innovation for National Development at the 2nd Biennial Conference on the State of Higher Education in Kenya organized by Commission for University Education held at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, October 31, 2018.
Prof. Marwanga advised research institutions and universities to allocate adequate budgets to researchers saying it will attract more research while also retaining the best innovators.
He encouraged universities to form linkages with the counties and community, advising that it will promote innovations based on real problems.
He also urged the media to carry out more awareness campaigns attributing the low adoption of agricultural technologies to the collapse of agricultural extensions.
“The media is not doing enough to small holder farmers. Farmers’ reluctance to adopt the new technology is because they are not getting the manuals to innovations. They therefore do not know how to use the readily available innovations,” said Prof. Marwanga.
The Vice Chancellor, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Prof. Victoria Ngumi, urged universities to obtain patent rights for innovations, advising that it will pave the way for proper commercialization of innovations.
“JKUAT has the highest number of innovations patenting according to the official documentation at the Kenya Industrial Property Institute. Universities should take the responsibility of patenting student and staff innovations to pave the way for commercialization while ensuring the right people and institutions receive the appropriate funds,” said Prof. Ngumi
The Vice Chancellor urged universities to take the responsibility of educating the community to improve technological uptake by small holder farmers.
“Universities should take these innovations to the rural areas. JKUAT has an In-country women training programme in the rural areas where women are trained on different aspects of agriculture,” she added.
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research, Production and Extension, JKUAT, Prof. Mary Abukutsa, called for inter-university research collaborations to collectively find solutions to emerging issues in the country.
She underscored the significance of Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences Technology in creating a pathway for research collaborations beyond Kenya. She was speaking during a panel discussion on Doctoral Training, Research and Outreach.