A delegation from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) led by the Chief Representative, Mr. Hajime Iwama visited JKUAT as part of their efforts to promote the JICA Program for Japanese Studies, May 19, 2020.
“In order to expand the opportunities of studies in partner countries, JICA started the JICA Program for Japanese Studies with leading universities in partner countries,” said Mr. Iwama.
While lauding JKUAT’s prowess especially in Agriculture, Technology and Information Communication Technology, Mr. Iwama said the program will feature short intensive lectures in thematic areas based on Japan’s development experiences conducted by Japanese lecturers.
“JICA will provide reference materials for Japanese studies, research and education opportunities to young researchers and faculty members,” elucidated Mr. Iwama.
Referring to the long collaborative relationship between JKUAT and Japan, through JICA, the Chief Representative noted that Japan is still committed to supporting various teaching and research functions through scholarships, the establishment of modern infrastructure and linkages with other universities across the globe.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi appreciated the delegation for the visit saying the development of JKUAT over the years has taken place in the backdrop of strong support from the Government of Japan through JICA.
“The linkages and collaborations between our researchers and those in Japanese universities has made it possible for JKUAT to emerge as a regional research and innovation powerhouse offering quality programmes in the fields of agriculture, engineering, technology, health sciences, enterprises development, built environment and other applied sciences,” said Prof. Ngumi.
This, she said, has enabled JKUAT to produce competent and most sought after graduates by the industry.
Prof. Ngumi further informed the delegation that the University stresses on a multidisciplinary approach to research where researchers, both old and young, from different colleges and disciplines collaborate to come up with novel research outputs and innovations that are beneficial to the society.
“As we endeavor to become a research university, we encourage our researchers to engage in multidisciplinary research. A good example is the number of innovations produced by the University as our effort towards combating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic,” said Prof. Ngumi.
She said the innovations epitomized JKUAT’s prowess in innovation and research and were a significant contribution by the University aimed at supporting government strategies in combating the Coronavirus.
The meeting also highlighted the human resource and infrastructure development, linkages and collaborations accorded by the Japanese government through AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project.
Key infrastructural outputs that JICA has facilitated through AFRICA-ai-JAPAN include; an innovation Prototyping and Invention Centre (iPIC); a facility that is equipped with an array of tools to promote prototyping, invention and manufacturing in Kenya and the region; the Small Animal Facility for Research and Innovation (SAFARI) that offers accessible quality training and research in the use of small animals in order to produce innovations in the field of human and animal health sciences and other applied sciences to improve health, productivity and overall wellbeing.
The most recent infrastructural output by JICA is the modernized Agricultural Laboratory Building (ALB) aimed at responding to emerging training, research and technology transfer needs of Kenya and Africa at large.
The project has also equipped labs with modern equipment in the university and supported over 50 postgraduate students with seed money to conduct research.