Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) has unveiled a modern molecular and microbiology laboratory to boost scientific research in the region.
The laboratory equipped at a cost of Sh33 million through the National Research Fund (NRF) infrastructure support, will boost research in fresh water, human health and molecular microbiology.
The modern technology equipment in the lab will also enable researchers and students undertake advanced cell research on plants and animals through DNA and RNA tests.
Speaking during the commissioning of the laboratory, State Department for University Education Principal Secretary Amb Simon Nabukwesi said the laboratory is a testimony of commitment by the government in supporting priority areas of science, technology and innovation.
Amb Nabukwesi observed that cell research is vital for society that wants to advance adding that it is from such research infrastructure that innovations that contribute to the economic and social development of the country emerge.
He said the laboratory will support research excellence by providing students and scientists with cutting edge research skills and knowledge that can continuously be applied to avoid skill loss.
“A good number of you (academic staff) are educated in foreign countries where the laboratories are equipped with sophisticated equipment. When you come back and you are unable to practice the same, the knowledge acquired is lost overtime and that’s why we are suffering as a country,” Nabukwesi said.
The PS commended JOOUST under the stewardship of Prof Stephen Agong for their commitment and efforts in ensuring that the university laboratories are equipped through partnership with the NRF and acknowledged the role played by the university management in achieving the milestone.
He said that the government is committed to improve productivity of research funding by encouraging enhanced migration of science from laboratories to the market place, improving how it strategically aids investments in public good science that underpins the economy, directly boosts economic growth through market driven research and to simplify the entire research system.
NRF CEO Dr Jemmimah Onsare revealed that NRF funded twenty other institutions in the country with infrastructure development funds to boost research in the country.
Dr Onsare further disclosed that JOOUST had initially applied for Sh100 million funding but because other institutions in the region namely Eldoret University and Bukura Agricultural Institute qualified for equipment funding on similar thematic areas, the funding was cut to Sh33 million to avoid duplication.
She encouraged JOOUST to partner with such institutions which benefited from the equipment funding to maximise on research resources available within universities in the region.
Dr Onsare said the newly commissioned laboratory is a National facility open to all researchers in the country and directed the JOOUST management to come up with mechanism to ensure researchers have access to the facility.
The NRF CEO called on JOOUST to utilise the facility to undertake research on highland rice and sorghum production to boost food security in the region and at the same time assured public institutions in the country that applied for research funds on desert locust that the government will release the funds starting July.
The occasion was attended by Siaya deputy governor Dr James Okumbe, officials from Ministry of Education, and CEO’s of NACOSTI and the, Kenya National Innovation Agency.
By Brian Ondeng’