Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology marked the 16th JKUAT Scientific, Technological and Industrialisation Conference and Exhibition, March 24, 2022.
This is the second time, the conference, organized by the Research, Production and Extension Division, was held virtually, in strict observance of the COVID-19 containment measures. Unlike last year where the conference was exclusively virtual, this year saw the conference take a hybrid approach and showcased a physical exhibition for the various researchers and innovators.
Themed, Refocusing Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Excellence in Higher Education in the Era of COVID-19, the conference attracted stakeholders from academia, government and private sector to discuss a wide range of issues in various thematic areas.
Epitomizing the theme, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, said, the conference, held annually, has become a vibrant forum for academia, researchers and industry players to showcase and share research outputs as well as innovative contributions to society.
The conference deliberations are geared towards invoking government, industry and policymakers to appreciate the urgent need for substantial and long-term investments in scientific research, innovation and industrialization.
“This conference is an important event in our academic calendar and it serves as a rich opportunity for researchers and scholars to share their findings with peers and other stakeholders, both nationally and internationally,” said Prof. Ngumi in a speech read by the Principal, College of Pure and Applied Sciences, Prof. George Thiong’o.
She further said, she was confident that the solutions provided in the papers will play a key role in enhancing the socio-economic development agenda of not only the country but the globe at large.
“The papers provide possible solutions to various challenges afflicting society including; food insecurity and poor nutrition; climate change; health burdens; processing and manufacturing technologies; policy and governance; applications of information and communication technologies among others,” opined Prof. Ngumi.
Dr. John Waithaka, who was the Chief Guest lauded JKUAT for staging the conference, saying it is a clear testimony of JKUAT’s commitment to create and disseminate knowledge, a key mandate of the institution.
“JKUAT has, for many years, been a pace setter in churning out competent graduates who are equipped with innovative and enterprising skills that are contributing to meeting the demands of a dynamic world,” said Dr. Waithaka.
He encouraged the researchers to collaborate and partner with both the government and industry sector to achieve sustainable development.
“For research findings to achieve the desired outcomes, they must be acted upon by the intended end users. Researchers must, therefore, ensure they work very closely with the relevant public and private sector players so that their findings can be taken up by the government to inform policy aimed at taking our country’s socio-economic development forward,” said Dr. Waithaka, a Career Conservationist Biologist.
In the same breadth, he urged the government to provide a conducive, efficient and equitable environment for researchers and innovators to thrive and create opportunities for commercialization of research.
On her part, Deputy Vice Chancellor in Charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa said the conference should contribute to the translation of some of the patented innovations into marketable products, to move them from the valley of death to the mountain of life and thrive by providing the opportunity for partnerships and collaborations.
While acknowledging the diversity of the conference, with regards to the various discipline represented, the Chair of the Conference, Dr. Rehema Ndeda believes that the diversity will greatly enhance the research activities of the University.
In line with current global emphasis on multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research programs by development partners, the conference has seven subthemes in the areas of Basic, Applied, Agricultural, Health and Social Sciences, ICT and engineering technologies.
Director of Research, Dr. John Kinyuru, noted that the conference has attracted over 300 participants and provides them with opportunities to establish viable networks and a chance for upcoming scientists to nurture themselves in their areas of specialization.