Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), have set up the Centre for Scientific Equipment Maintenance (CeSEM). Situated within the Engineering Workshop’s Innovation and Prototyping Integrated Centre (iPIC) Building, the purpose of the Centre is to carry out maintenance and to ensure optimal performance of all scientific equipment in the University.
Equipment maintenance is one important aspect of quality assurance in academic and research work. Accuracy of results and research outputs depend partly on error-free machines and scientific equipment. Laboratory equipment and machines are also costly items and therefore proper care and continuous performance monitoring and maintenance ensure long-term benefits. Daily routine procedures in maintenance can help to increase the life span of the equipment thereby preventing unnecessary burdens on University finances. While faulty equipment implies lost teaching and research opportunities, these can also be unsafe for users.
Mr. David Kanja servicing an LCD projector
Guided by the national values and principles of governance set out under article 10 of the Constitution of Kenya, Universities are expected to ensure sustainability and adoption of best practices in management and institutionalization of systems such as scientific equipment maintenance. This initiative is Therefore geared towards transforming the teaching and research landscape at JKUAT and to realign it with the National Goals of Universities Education, and to the JKUAT’s 2018 – 2022 Strategic Plan.
Departments that have received services from CeSEM include Horticulture; Food Science; Biochemistry; Engineering Workshops; Soil, Water and Environmental Engineering; Geomatic and Geospatial Information Systems; and JKUAT Hospital. Equipment serviced and restored include an Autoclave, Spectrophotometer, Spot welding Machine, water distiller, LCD Projectors and a mechanical shaker for grading sand particles.
On 19th July 2019, Dr. Shohei Aoki (AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project) and Mr. Daniel Omondi (CeSEM) through the College of Engineering and Technology Principal invited six departments for sensitization and pilot-launch of CeSEM activities at the Exhibition Hall of the iPIC building. The aim of the launch was to create awareness on CeSEM’s activities and related web-based information management system, which would make the process of on-line requisition of equipment repair and maintenance services easy. Participants were Chief Technologists from Mechanical Engineering; Geomatic and Geospatial Information Systems; Soil, Water and Environmental Engineering; and Telecommunication and Information Engineering departments. After the pilot phase, the rest of the University departments will be included in CeSEM activities.
Group Photo of facilitators and Participants after the sensitization and pilot-launch of CeSEM
( L-R Mr. D. Macharia, Mr. F. Mulefu, Mr. D. Omondi, Ms. R. Mukua, Dr. S. Aoki, and Mr. P. Waribu,)
Current milestones achieved since establishment of the Centre include provision of basic infrastructure and operationalization of activities, presentation of Draft Scientific Equipment Maintenance Policy for approval by the University Management, and compilation of a database of scientific equipment within the University.