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Board keen to boost university funding for innovation

The University Funding Board is collaborating with partners to increase funding for higher learning institutions to support research, innovation, and self-sufficiency amid challenging economic times.

Geoffrey Monari, Chief Executive Officer, said the 2% annual funding of universities budget is inadequate given the enormous innovations by students and researchers, adding that they are working on creating linkages with multilateral partners to boost support since many partners have shown interest and called on universities to embrace the opportunities and focus on innovations to make them entrepreneurial.

“We want our universities to transform from old ways of teaching and learning to being entrepreneurial and self-sustaining. This can only be attained through research and innovation. As a board, we shall continue partnering through funding and linkages to partners,” he said.

While noting that the government was keen on educating students on the commercialization of their innovations, Monari said they will also create linkages between universities and industries to have innovations absorbed.

He spoke during an innovation’s expo at Mount Kenya University in Thika yesterday. The occasion was graced by the Director General of the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), Dr. Calvin Onyango, Mount Kenya University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Deogratius Jaganyi, partners, and exhibitors.

Dr. Calvin Onyango announced that KIRDI’s partnership with universities is to foster information exchange and link young innovators with the industrial market, offering incubation services for student growth and job creation.

Prof. Jaganyi noted that research and innovation are the drivers of economic development, adding that there must be a strong synergy between academia and industry to foster much-needed socio-economic development.

He called on the funding board to consider increasing the funds for research and innovation, saying they are expensive ventures.

“We know the government has many things to do, including financing research and innovation, but when more funds become available, it will go a long way towards realising our goals,” said the scholar.

By Muoki Charles

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