Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi vision for JKUAT is anchored on research, innovation and entrepreneurship. According to the Professor of Botany, research and innovation is key in the attainment of the four pillars of the government development agenda.
“We have top notch brains in this University to solve problems facing our country and the region specifically in manufacturing, healthcare, food security and housing as stipulated in the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Development plan,” said Prof. Ngumi.
Speaking to staff and students during her inaugural seminar which she used to articulate her blueprint for JKUAT in the next five years, August 14, 2018, Prof. Ngumi underlined the importance of research and innovation, expressing confidence, the duo would further expand JKUAT’s global standing as an entrepreneurial University.
The status Prof. Ngumi attested would be instrumental in enabling JKUAT to attract more innovative graduate students as well as improve the University’s research funding.
The Vice Chancellor said she will introduce a collegiate system within the colleges and campuses to give them more autonomy in the running of their affairs. “I am certain that the colleges and campuses will be empowered to be functional productive units through this system.”
She also encouraged professors to be thematic leaders in their departments and be at the forefront in guiding and coordinating departmental faculty in proposal writing, collaborations; elements she stressed were vital in attracting research funding crucial in aiding JKUAT global prestige. To boost research function of the University, Prof. Ngumi announced her administration would soon establish a research grant office to manage research funds more efficiently.
Her plan for the next five years is to take the University to the people of Kenya and the region through open days, Corporate Social Responsibility and extension services especially in its core mandate mainly in agriculture and technology.
“As a University we are strong in agriculture and it is important to bolster our extension services and build the capacity of the people of this nation particularly our local farmers,” the vice chancellor commented.
With the prevailing cash crunch facing Kenyan universities, the Vice Chancellor announced a raft of cost saving measures that her administration will implement in due course. Freezing recruitment, promotion of paperless communication as well as merging of similar departments and rationalization of JKUAT’s incoming generating units are some of Prof. Ngumi’s cost saving target areas.
The Vice Chancellor acknowledged that JKUAT had over the years posited tremendous progress in the enterprise of innovation but what was lacking was the upscaling commercialization of the novelties. To address the challenge, Prof. Ngumi pledged to establish an innovation and incubation space to incubate, commercialize and roll out innovations produced by faculty and students.
The vision presentation was attended by the Student leadership, University Staff and Management who congratulated the Vice Chancellor on her appointment and promised to accord her full support throughout her tenure. The presentation came after a fortnight from her appointment as Vice Chancellor, JKUAT by Education Cabinet Secretary, Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohammed.