Kenyan Universities have been urged to heavily invest on research as a way of dealing with the countries emerging and persistent problems. Addressing participants and partners at the TUM innovation week and 1st Multidisciplinary conference, TUM Council Chairman Dr. Robert Arunga reiterated that University are yet to explore more opportunities in research and innovation.
“It is very sad that Kenya relies on India for medical services, China for cheap imports that are accessible in the local market. We even import fish from China. Most of our sugar comes from Brazil and maize from Mexico”. The Question is, what are the Universities doing in Kenya?” Dr. Arunga lamented.
Dr. Arunga explained that in early 1990’s many companies in Kenya collapsed, yet scholars were yet to unravel the cause.
“I am urging TUM to research and find out why Cashewnut factory collapsed in Kilifi,” he said.
Dr. Arunga noted that Universities play a key role in socio economic development therefore they should be in frontline to advise the government on policy formulation and create a conducive environment for development and wealth creation.
He called on African governments to increase research funding so that institutions of higher learning can comfortable compete with other countries from the west.
“Most of the African countries only get about 0.5 percent of the GDP for research while in developed countries more than 2.5 percent of the GDP is dedicated to research. It’s high time for our government to factor research seriously and reward innovators to boost their moral.” Dr. Arunga concluded.
Moreover, Vice chancellor Prof. Laila Abubakar observed that this year’s TUM innovation week showcased 50 innovations.
Prof. Abubakar added that among the projects, 12 have been patented while 15 more projects are in the process.
“It is a moment of joy and pride to all those involved in this process, for we know that organizing events is not an exclusive project limited to students and their lecturers, but a collective social enterprise in which virtually everybody is involved, both at individual and at institutional levels.” Prof Abubakar highlighted.
She emphasized that TUM shall actively support Partnerships, Research, Innovations and collaborations with industry, institutions, Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) and government organizations, for the enhancement of social economic wellbeing of local community and Kenya as a whole.
The TUM Multidisciplinary Conference and Innovation Week will be a yearly event which will offer all local and international stakeholders with an opportunity to show case their innovations and research outputs.