The government has allocated Sh749 million to support research and innovation in the current financial year.
Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu said funds were meant to spur research, science, technology, and innovation in institutions of higher learning and other national research institutes.
The CS made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by the Higher Education and Research PS Dr. Beatrice Inyangala during the official opening ceremony of the Murang’a University International Conference,
Machogu said the government aims to seek solutions to the innumerable challenges facing the nation and the world at large through research and innovation.
“The significance of science, technology, and Innovation for the social and economic growth of any nation cannot be gainsaid,” he said.
The 3-day event, under the theme, of leveraging on Science, Technology, and Innovation for Economic Transformation, offers a platform for scholars in this nation and their international counterparts to engage in the necessary networking, communication, and knowledge exchange across a range of fields.
“The theme of this conference perfectly captures the government’s vision 2030, which seeks to make Kenya an industrialized middle-income nation that will guarantee a high standard of living and a secure environment for all its citizens,” he said.
The CS said recently industrialized nations like Brazil, China, Malaysia and Singapore, attribute their success to significant investments in research and innovation.
“This is a clear indication that for any government to develop and reduce poverty, investment in research and innovation must play an essential role geared towards economic turnaround and inclusive growth,” he said.
Machogu further said local universities must, therefore, stand up and be counted as key players in the supply of both the human capital and tools necessary for the application of research findings, innovations, and discoveries to bring about the much-needed development to improve human welfare.
On his part, the University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Dickson Nyariki said that substantial investments have been made to nurture an environment, where students and the university’s faculty can explore new frontiers of research and innovation.
“Every year, we sponsor vetted innovations and research for development and we showcase in various platforms,” said Nyariki, adding that encouragingly, these investments have borne fruit, with numerous innovative projects on the verge of formalization.
The VC said that Innovation is a dynamic process, and technology is at its core and that participants will be brought up to speed on the latest innovative ventures in their areas of interest.
“We have prepared this conference to offer a comprehensive view of the latest technological advancements,” he said, adding that the event will provide a platform for knowledge sharing on topical issues, such as big data, artificial Intelligence (AI), climate change, and many others.
The VC further said that the conference represents a clarion call for collective reflection on harnessing the potency of research and innovation to shape a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous Kenya and the world.
By Anita Omwenga and Purity Mugo