Nine Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) students have been awarded an additional grant by Kenya Space Agency (KSA) after successfully implementing a previous grant the Agency had awarded them to develop a simple Nanosatellite in September 28, 2020.
Under the grant, KSA tasked JKUAT, University of Nairobi, and Technical University of Kenya to work as consortium to develop a 3U Nanosatellite, an Operational Space Weather System to be launched into orbit by the agency. The consortium jointly received Ksh. 3 million research grant.
The Kenya Space Agency Research Grant stems from the research chair programme and is geared towards catalyzing and promoting research in Space Science and Technology in Kenyan universities.
In a ceremony held on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, JKUAT was further awarded Ksh. 500,000 grant to explore the potential of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in mapping crops under small scale farms.
Commenting on the achievements, College of Engineering and Technology Principal, Dr. Hiram Ndiritu, lauded the students for the tireless work they had invested into the research.
“Most of the work was undertaken during the countrywide lock down where movement was restricted and the students had to work under strict Covid-19 guidelines.”
In the same breadth. Dr. Ndiritu lauded the University staff for the key roles they played in their respective areas saying it equates to quality training and research outputs.
He further noted that the key to the University’s success in research and innovations is inter-disciplinary collaborations such the one shown by the students in the Nanotechnology innovation.
Amos Wanene, one of the team members, said, working under the Covid-19 restrictions was a major challenge explaining that some members were unfortunate to fall prey to the global pandemic.
While reminiscing on his experience while conducting their research, Amos relished another opportunity to work with nanotechnology experts and other students in other universities saying it was an eye opening experience that will enhance his personal profile.
The team of nine included; Kelvin Mwaniki, Sylvia Jebet, Sackey Freshia, Jacob Okomo, Amos Wanene, Kenneth Kimathi, Timothy Ndichu, Paul Mulwa and Allan Otwori all from the College of Engineering and Technology.
The innovators were mentored and supported by Mr. Simon Njeru Manegene, a Lecturer of Electrical Engineering, among other faculty staff that include; Dr. Anthony Muchiri, Dr. Bernard Owiti, Prof. Hunja Waithaka, Dr. Felix Mutua, Dr. Roy Orenge, Dr Rehema Ndeda, Dr Eunice Nduati, Dr. J. Kimotho, Dr. J. Githu, Eng. J. Weru, Dr. S. Aoki (an expert from the Africa-ai-JAPAN project at JKUAT), Dr. H. Ndiritu, Mr B. Maniafu and Mr D. Omondi.