Over 40 participants converged at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for a three-day workshop which aimed at helping researchers in East Africa develop high quality research proposals. The forum which was organized under the auspices of the East African Network of Learning of Administrators (EANLA), also aimed at streamlining working relationship between researchers and their respective university research fund managers.
In a keynote presentation on research experience, JKUAT prolific researcher, Professor Daniel Sila informed the participants that: excellence, integrity and proven track record, were essential ingredients for proposal funding applicants.
Professor Sila nudged the researchers to carefully select partners, and always aim at addressing key concerns of not just the funding agencies but also the needs of governments and citizens.
“You must include a unique value proposition or innovation; that is usually lacking in many proposals,” professor Sila exhorted.
Sila also challenged young researchers to work with experienced colleagues for mentorship in order to effectively navigate the perils that often consume otherwise good proposals.
While opening the workshop on Monday November 20, 2017, Director of Research at JKUAT, Dr. Patrick Mbindyo said the forum was uniquely suited to answer key issues affecting research proposal writing in the region.
He added that research funding was one way through which varsities could mobilize resources to support operations and build new infrastructure.
“Good research projects leads to quality publications and innovations that work in concert to raise profile and ranking of our universities,” Dr. Mbindyo said.
The workshop coordinator, Professor Christopher Kanali said many researchers in the region faced challenges in writing high quality interdisciplinary research proposals that could easily attract funding.
The forum, according to Kanali, was therefore primed to equip participants with writing skills as well as forge useful networks that could be leveraged in the enterprise of research.
On the relations between researchers and the fund managers, Makerere University’s Peter Mbiru asked participants to familiarize themselves with both legal and procedural provisions guiding respective universities in managing research funds.
Mbiru who is a senior assistant bursar in charge of grants at the Kampala based University added that many times, researchers feel frustrated by varsity procedures; and urged participants to familiarize themselves with relevant procurement and accounting provisions.
The workshop which drew participation from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, was supported by the DAAD through the International Centre of Development and Decent Work; under the Dialogue on Innovating Higher Education Strategies programme.