That's interesting. What are other opportunities Kenyans can take advantage of?
We have come up with a product called incentive for publications. We want to contribute to knowledge.
The annual Global Competitiveness Report was released this month. How does
When you look at the current Global Competitiveness Index,
What are some of the forums that you have supported?
We have had various forums including the science, technology and innovation week in May. This year we had over 2,000 people visiting the stands. We also have science congress in schools. We have Tivet (Technical, Industrial,Vocational, Entrepreneurship Training) institutions and colleges displaying innovations. We've had forums for universities and also science writers discussing how science can be promoted.
I think only little serious research comes from our public universities nowadays, and that's probably why they are lowly ranked in global surveys. How much do they spend on research?
It depends but I must say it's very negligible because universities are given one line item on the budget and some of the universities spent 70 to 75 per cent to pay salaries. I know one university that spends Sh30 million on research from a budget of Sh2 billion. So it's really negligible. We would want to strengthen our fellowships here and budget so they can also benefit. Under the
Is the recent conversion of many technical colleges into universities a good thing?
I do not support converting middle level colleges into universities. We must strengthen middle level colleges and tertiary institutions because universities provide managers but hands on people come from Tivets. The Jubilee manifesto says they want to ensure one technical institute in every constituency and our ministry is doing that. That's very important. If we have to have a university for every county, we should build them afresh.
I understand you are developing new regulations to govern research activities in
We are today meeting here at Utalii (hotel) to discuss the last component of this law (the Technology and Innovation Act 2012) which is the regulatory aspect. We are discussing how to regulate research by Kenyans and non-Kenyans. It's prudent that research is done ethically and that it has positive impact in the society. We are also looking at quality assurance of research. It must be relevant, timely and we need to get value for our money. We also need to get accreditation for our research institutions.
That means all research institutions will need to apply afresh to be accredited
Yes, any research institution that wants to get accredited will have to make an application. This is a validation workshop and we have vice chancellors of various universities, CEOs of research institutions and NGOs. We'll get the regulations validated so we can get them gazetted by the Cabinet Secretary.
The other thing is we have put in place monitoring and evaluation tools. We want to assess impacts of projects that we have funded and identify some of those projects to do scaling up. The other thing we have is to partner with relevant institutions like
Talking of regulating research, this means there must have been some unethical practices going on
It's important to license research. We have natural resources here and if they are not guarded they can be misused or stolen. We have had cases of biopiracy in
Are you working with county governments as well?
I've had meetings with a few county governors and I believe if any county is to prosper they must embrace science, technology and innovation. We are ready to work with them and advise them accordingly so that they can identify thematic areas. We can do partnerships with them and see how science and technology can harness resources they have in their areas.
As a way of enhancing capacity, I always advocate the President requires an an advisor on technology and Nacosti can be able to facilitate that. County governments also require science advisers and we can work closely with them.
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