National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) CEO, Prof. Shaukat Abdulrazak has challenged local researchers to take advantage of the government’s 2% of GDP research funding, amounting to Kshs. 63 billion in order to come up with relevant socio-economic innovations.
The CEO added, the fund will strengthen capacity of local institutions and individuals to engage in high level research initiatives informed and driven by the needs of society. Abdulrazak also called on the academia to increasingly publish in high impact journals that will boost visibility of locally generated knowledge.
“Kenya contributes only 6.6% of knowledge generated in Africa while the continent’s share of global knowledge is only 2%,” noted Abdulrazak.
To encourage Kenyan scholars to publish, Abdulrazak has offered between US$ 50 -200 as incentive. However, the publication must be in a globally acclaimed peer refereed journal of high impact. This is in line with NACOSTI’s strategy to ensure Kenya produces 100 PhD scholars annually by the year 2030. Currently, the country produces only 6.2 PhDs per million citizens annually compared to South Africa which produces 27 PhDs.
The Commission has also launched Research Chairs initiative; a multi-sectoral platform bringing together academia and industry with an aim to upscale and commercialize local innovations, capable of transforming livelihoods of Kenyans.
Prof. Abdulrazak was speaking at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology where he presided over the opening of the University’s Scientific Technological and Industrialization Conference on behalf of Prof. Collette Suda, Principal Secretary, Science and Technology.
JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga reported her University had committed a total of Ksh 144 million on 84 research and innovation projects in the last two years, with Ksh 29 Million coming from NACOSTI.
“JKUAT has been active in promoting uptake and fusion of technologies into the various production value chains. We are also currently incubating a total of 11 student projects are being incubated into commercially viable businesses,” said Imbuga.
Prof. Imbuga who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Esther Kahangi reported the conference had attracted 168 research papers in seven sub-themes. Over 25 exhibits of innovation ready for commercialization are also on display at the exhibition stand.
The two day annual conference is part of JKUAT’s strategy to inculcate a culture of research and innovation among faculty and students. Key speakers at the conference included Prof. Phillip Okinda of Maseno University, Prof. Izumi Ushiyama, president of Japan’s Ashikaga Institute of Technology and KinuthiaWamwangi, Chair of the National Transitional Authority.