University Education and Research, Principal Secretary Amb. Simon Nabukwesi has commissioned a sh67 million national research Centre at Chuka University to promote research in science, technology and innovation.
The project which is a collaboration between the University, Ministry of Education and National Research Fund (NRF) will provide modern scientific equipment at the Centre dubbed “Academic and Research Excellence Centre” (AREC) that will promote learning and extensive research.
This will also promote innovations that will foster sustainable development nationwide.
The equipment, which is the 3rd of its kind in Africa, will enhance research in a laboratory at the Centre that will seek to enhance innovations mostly in environment conservation and renewable energy.
Addressing a group of experts from learning and research institutions, the PS said that the Centre will facilitate research and innovation while teaching students to become innovators in the near future.
Amb. Nabukwesi acknowledged NRF for granting the university funds to build the Centre and purchasing the equipment noting that the government will continue to support research, innovation and science technology in universities to encourage scientific research students to become innovators.
“The government is in support of research, innovation and science technology in university education system and is encouraging science students to invest in research to become innovators who are globally competitive to improve socio-economic development of the country,” he said.
He added that the government recognizes the role played by science, technology and innovation in promoting the economic development of a country.
Nabukwesi expressed satisfaction in the work done by Nation Research Fund to ensure development of research capacity in Kenya through programs directed towards the higher education sector to promote research in environment and renewable energy studies.
While at it, he urged universities to comply with the government’s requirements for grants and to ensure good management of funds to ensure successful projects.
On her part, National Research Fund Acting CEO Jemimah Onsare said that the Centre will now focus on environmental studies such as climate change, mining and genomics with continuous research carried out.
Ms. Onsare disclosed that it will be a national Centre that can be accessed by environmental and energy researchers from across the country.
The CEO revealed that one of the key roles of NRF is to provide financial support to universities and research institutions to facilitate research programs.
“Our role is to fund research projects in universities and we are happy that we have previously funded projects with Chuka University and they have been successful,” she said.
She expressed that they expect the project to enhance extensive research in the university that will create products and solutions which will promote innovation in the country.
The government is setting aside funds to facilitate research in universities and push the agenda to have more young innovators, she noted, adding they will continue to provide grants to support competitive research programs in the higher learning institutions.
More so, she revealed that they are working on having a centralized database platform where all research conducted across the country will be found.
Chuka University Acting Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof. Dorcas Isutsa who was also in attendance said that two projects funded by the institution are already being carried out using the equipment.
The acting VC disclosed that the national research Centre has the capability to execute variety of analysis including pesticide residue, contents in agricultural products, food quality, planting breeding among other things.
She said that the university will be available for collaboration with other researchers to analyze their samples using the equipment.
Ms. Isustsa thanked the government, NRF for their support to complete the project and said they will put it into good use.
By Sharon Gitau