By John Majau

The government through the Ministry of Education is keen on enhancing the socio-economic development of the country and its people by supporting research and innovation programmes in institutions of higher learning.

Speaking during the launch of Meru University of Science and Technology’s inaugural International Research and Innovation Conference on 29th June, Principal Secretary for University Education and Research, Amb Simon Nabukwesi said that his department was also working on a policy that will ensure recognition of scholars and researchers as an important resource in the country.

Nabukwesi said they were laying emphasis on the idea of recognising, protecting and encouraging scholars and researchers.

“With such people carrying our research with a lot of zeal and participating in some of these conferences, then you know that Kenya is on the right track,” said Nabukwesi.

The theme of the three-day conference that attracted diverse keynote speakers and participants was ‘Research and Innovation for Sustainable Development”.

The PS lauded the University’s management board for implementing ideas whenever they pop up saying it was the right way to propel the institution towards international standards.

He called on the institution to emphasize the idea of capacity building by the high-flying undergraduate students who excel by taking them into graduate classes to build capacity for the university and churn out the best of the best.

“I am certain that this University is in the right direction and I can assure you I can recommend anybody who wants a good University to come and study here,” he said.

The PS noted that Meru University had partnered with other government parastatals to ensure that research and innovation are made part of their curriculum as well as other Universities in the country.

“The partnerships between Meru University of Science and Technology and National Research Fund has assisted the institution to incubate five innovations that were funded by the National Research Fund,” he said.

The innovations include competence network, E-inclusion and Assistive Technologies, Sanitary pads dispenser and incinerator innovation, chicken brooder, sixth sense device and camel milk research.

“I commend the university chancellor, the council management and staff for holding the conference even as I assure you the government’s commitment to continue supporting research initiatives for the benefit of communities both nationally and globally,” Nabukwesi said.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Romanus Odhiambo said the annual event is a crucial opportunity for National, Regional and global academics, policymakers, and practitioners to gather and examine the latest developments in science technology, innovation, and related research and subsequently explore how scientific advances can be quickly translated into effective development activities.

“Geographically, Meru County is located along the Equator and on the slopes of the famous Mount Kenya. Besides the wonderful weather and centrality, it compliments Kenya’s unique position as an emerging regional hub and a living bridge for knowledge and innovation exchange,” said Professor Odhiambo.

He added that the University was proud to be at the forefront of research, innovation, incubation and IP commercialisation in the region.

“Considering that we are in the knowledge economy, it is refreshing to be able to host such a conference in one of the most strategic cities of the region,” he added.

We are positioning ourselves as a leader in conference tourism based on the features around our university including famous national parks, conservancies, mountains, an international airport and the LAPPSET corridor,” Professor Odhiambo said.

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