JKUAT Scientific Conference Goes Virtual

JKUAT researcher hard at work

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology is set to host the 15th JKUAT Scientific Technological and Industrialization Conference, March 25-26, 2021.

The conference, organized by the Research, Production and Extension Division, is being held virtually, in strict observance of the COVID – 19 containment measures, and is expected to attract stakeholders from academia, government and private sector to discuss a wide range of issues aimed at refocusing research, innovation and entrepreneurship for excellence in higher education in the era of COVID -19.

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.

Furthermore, the conference affords various stakeholders an opportunity to interact and build on ideas that can be leveraged to boost the social-economic sectors of the country.

The conference deliberations are deliberately geared towards provoking government, industry and policy makers to appreciate the urgent need for substantial and long-term investments in scientific research, innovation and industrialization, as espoused in the country’s development blueprint, Kenya Vision 2030.

This year’s conference also makes available, a canvass upon which mapping actions and strategies that will be used to constantly improve the academia’s approach to development-oriented scientific research as it brings research peers from local and international institutions to discuss, share and publish their research findings.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Deputy Vice Chancellor in Charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa, said, the 15th JKUAT Scientific, Technological and Industrial Conference is very unique, the first virtual conference despite successfully organizing 14 other scientific conferences that were face to face.

This virtual conference will enable the University reach a significantly wider audience at a relatively lower cost, and there is a lesson for all participants regardless of geographical position, discipline, economic, educational, professional or occupational status, adds Prof. Abukutsa.

JKUAT Allan Mwangi demonstrates to Vice Chancellor, Prof.  Victoria Wambui Ngumi (2nd left) and Prof. Abukutsa (left) how the Capillary Wick Based Landless Garden/File Photo

The conference will give participants an opportunity to interact with researchers, innovators and students from JKUAT and other parts of the world and learn from each other through presentation of key note and thematic papers and exhibitions of developed technologies and innovations, Prof. Abukutsa explained.

This will be a rare opportunity for researchers and innovators to interact with industry, the private sector, investors and government agencies in an effort to commercialize developed and patented innovations.

Many of the research outputs and technologies in our research institutions do not translate into commercializable products and services and fall into the valley of death as it were. This conference will therefore give researchers and innovators an opportunity to market themselves to potential development partners and investors.

Prof. Abukutsa contends that 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 opportunity for partnerships and collaborations.

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. For Science and research to make impact there must be Synergy between basic, applied, economic and social sciences to help leverage the developed technologies.

According to Prof. Abukutsa, universities and research institutions develop a lot of technologies and most of them are not effectively communicated to the wider public and this conference is a forum to communicate and disseminate research outputs to the end users including the general public, private sector, government and the scientific community at large.

The virtual exhibition will showcase only a snapshot of the over 50 JKUAT developed and patented innovations and technologies that can contribute to the Big 4 Agenda of the Kenyan government, Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA) 2024 and UN Sustainable Development goals.

Pramilla Mwibanda, a horticulture student, explains to open day participants how seedling are propagated/File Photo

Director of Research, Dr. John Kinyuru, noted that the conference anticipates to attract over 300 researchers and scholars, going by the feedback received from the invitations.

“The conference provides an avenue for dissemination of research ideas and findings, enhance the linkage between researchers and industry, as well as provide a multi-disciplinary approach to science,” said Dr. Kinyuru.

According to the Director, the conference offers participants opportunities to establish viable networks and a chance for upcoming scientists to nurture themselves in their areas of specialization.

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