By Roy Hezron
Universities, middle-level colleges and research organizations which are commissioned to run the various facets of research and innovation have been challenged to consider developing quality outputs by placing emphasis on their mandates.
Principal Secretary in the State Department for University Education and Research Ambassador Simon Nabukwesi told the institutions to place more emphasis on their human resource capacity building, empowering innovation and strengthening resources.
Speaking at Chuka University during the commissioning of the University’s Academic and Research Excellence Centre (AREC) and the Gas Chromatography-Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrophotometer and Spectrometer (GC-ICP-MS/MS) – an Infrastructure Grant Project – funded by the National Research Fund (NRF) on 29th June, Amb. Nabukwesi stated that well-trained scientists, effective engineers and technologists are necessary ingredients for research development.
He observed that research development must be a national effort which the necessary expenditures should be considered not as a cost but as an investment in the future.
“There is increasing evidence that our progress in producing scientists, engineers and technologists is not yet satisfactory. We, therefore, need a number of interventions to strengthen the transformation of our Science and Technology capabilities to achieve an increased workforce in key fields through specialized training in order to manage modern economies,” said Amb. Nabukwesi.
The PS further stated that the strength of any innovation is determined by its weakest links hence urging the institutions to strengthen their innovations, affirming that the Ministry of Education will continue to develop and strengthen a strategic view of all actors, stakeholders and participants of the National System of Innovation.
According to Nabukwesi, this will allow for better governance, more effective resource allocation and better outcomes in the short, medium and long term.
“It is also important for us to remember that a more effective innovation system is a partnership developed between all institutions involved in creating new knowledge, producing innovations and diffusing them to the benefit of the people of Kenya and our region,” he said.
He also urged the institutions to place more efforts in sourcing for funds to carry out research since it requires capital to set up, competent human resources to write proposals, equipment, laboratories and time; which all need a colossal amount of money.
“We can only succeed if we are able to devote the necessary resources to scientific and technological research and development, including biotechnology. We must further encourage innovation among our people and ensure that we introduce new developments into our productive activities,” he added.
The state-of-the-art equipment at Chuka University has the capability to evaluate food deterioration by multivariate analysis, conduct pesticide residue analysis, determine contents in agricultural products, food quality evaluation, analyze toxicological substances in blood and nuclear radioactivity to minute levels.