Researchers decry underfunding as curtailing progress

researchers
National Research Fund Chief Executive Officer Dickson Andala flanked by Chair Ratemo Michieka (In brown pair of trousers) and other researchers during a presser.

Researchers in the country have decried inadequate funding for research, a situation they say has suffocated the progress of research and innovation and subsequently the country’s economy.

Addressing the press on the sidelines of a Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) Annual Forum and Global Research Council Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Meeting in Mombasa, chairman of the National Research Fund Professor Ratemo Michieka said the current allocation to research is too little for the country to make reasonable progress.

He said proper funding in research could help turn around the economy of the country and propel it to levels of developed countries like South Africa, which have invested heavily in research.

“South Africa’s funding in research is a bit higher, that is why they are actually developed… if you look at all those countries which have developed and interrogate the amount they allocate to research, you will realize that Kenya is way behind,” Prof Michieka explained at a press briefing in Mombasa.

The Chair said if the country successfully pursues a single line of research, there is a possibility of creating vast employment opportunities and bringing poverty and unemployment to an end.

“If we successfully invest in research and set up one industry, we can employ all the youth who are jobless. If we had succeeded in manufacturing the Nyayo Car which we were pushing some time back and we continued with research, today nobody could be leaving the country for Europe or Saudi Arabia in search of jobs because we could have an industry that creates opportunities,” he said, noting that the conference will deliberate on how to source for more funding from foreign donors and how to increase the budget to up to two per cent of the gross domestic spending.

Gross domestic spending on R&D (research and development) is defined as the total expenditure on R&D carried out by all resident companies, research institutes, universities and government laboratories, among others, in a country. It includes research funded from abroad.

For instance, while the Kenya Medical Research Institute has an annual budget of about Ksh7 billion, it only gets about Ksh1 billion from the Treasury and gets the rest from foreign donors.

The biggest spender on research in Africa is South Africa, which spends 0.85 per cent of its GDP on research and development, followed by Kenya at 0.8 per cent.

By Hilton Mwabili

Get more stories from our website: Education News 

To write to us or offer feedback, you can reach us at: editor@educationnews.co.ke

You can also follow our social media pages on Twitter: Education News KE  and Facebook: Education News Newspaper for timely updates.

>>> Click here to stay up-to-date with trending regional stories

Sharing is caring!

Don`t copy text!