By Sharon Atieno

Recognizing the role of science, technology and innovation (ST&I) in socio-economic transformation of countries, the national body in charge of steering scientific advancement and technological development in Kenya, launched its Strategic Plan.

Kenya seeks to transform into a middle-income country providing high quality of life to its citizens in a clean and secure environment by 2030. The country’s Vision 2030, identifies ST&I as one of the enablers of achieving this milestone.

The Strategic Plan, the third of its kind, is a five-year plan focusing on: regulation of research; advisory services for research; knowledge management and institutional capacity.The initiatives in these four key areas will be implemented through annual work plans, and a performance management system put in place to ensure accountability of results.

The plan is derived from global and regional goals such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We don’t live in isolation, we live in a small corner of the world and we have to work together and learn the best practices from other parts of the world,” said the chief guest, Prof. Collette Suda , Chief Administrative Secretary and Principal Secretary, University Education and Research at the Ministry of Education, during the launch.

“Actually, we think globally but when we are acting, we have to act locally to develop our country, economy and sector.”

Notably, the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) projects resource requirements for implementation of the plan at kshs. 2.5 billion.

While Prof. Suda recognized that research requires heavy investment, she called on scientists not to rely on the exchequer so much but to mobilize resources around various research activities.

Realizing the need for collaboration, she said: “we need to pull our resources both human and financial for impact.”

“Resources are limited, there is need to maximize based on the economy of scale,” she added.

Besides the launch of the Strategic Plan, NACOSTI also unveiled National Research Priorities 2018-2022.

“Recognizing the resources to support research are finite, the government has set research priorities that address the most immediate needs of the nation and respond to the national development aspirations,” the foreword by Prof. George Magoha , Cabinet Secretary for Education reads.

It further notes that the implementation of these priorities is expected to result in increased research and development investment in areas critical to national development.

The National Research Priorities document is also a five year plan focusing on food and nutrition security; manufacturing; universal health coverage; academic research and development ; as well as affordable housing. It aligns itself with the country’s big four action plan which is supposed to be achieved by 2022.

“The overall goal is to increase productivity, achieve sustainable economic growth, create employment, promote equity and improve the national well-being,” the document states.

These priorities calls upon stakeholders to mainstream appropriate financing models, environmental sustainability, climate smart initiative, national values and devolution considerations.

Moreover, the priorities will be subjected to a midterm and end-term review.