By Duncan Mboyah

Kenya has allocated $20 million for the infrastructural development of research institutions, according to Jemimah Onsare, acting chief executive officer of the National Research Fund (NRF). The grants will be availed to universities, public and private research institutions in the next half of the financial year for renovation and purchase of appropriate research equipment.

“We intend to have in place institutions with latest equipment to speed up research work by availing relevant results in meeting our domestic and international development goals,” Onsare says during the awarding ceremony.

She says that the grants will promote multi-disciplinary collaboration and sharing of research information and knowledge among universities, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and research institutions.

Onsare also announced that 57 research institutions received grants ranging from 5,000 and 20,000 dollars respectively during the ongoing financial year to enable researchers from the academia conduct research at Masters and Philosophy Degree (PhD) level.

She blames Kenya’s low uptake of research, science, technology and innovation low funding for and inadequate technical human resource in some national priority areas especially in the new emerging areas in of science.

“We intend to increase the expenditure on research and development funding from 0.48 percent to 2 percent from the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as recommended in the NRF Science, Technology and Innovation Act 2013 to help promote productivity of new knowledge and technologies in the national innovation system,’ she adds.

She says that NRF is committed to providing adequate resources in strengthening research capacity and ensuring that research results are translated into useful products and services for enhanced economic growth.

“We will strengthen human capital, physical infrastructure in research institutions and purchase modern research equipment,” she notes.

According to Kenya’s Vision 20130 science, technology and innovation are given prominence as a key foundation whose integration can raise productivity and efficiency across all sectors of the economy.

The funds strategic plan for the year 2017– 2022 that puts emphasis on multi-disciplinary and multi-institution collaboration in generating new knowledge through research was also launched.

It is aimed at creating sustainable economic growth and realization of the country’s priority development goals.