Multimedia University of Kenya has been urged to build capacity that supports research and development of quality proposals that can secure grants for the institution.
Speaking during a workshop on writing a grant winning proposal at MMU, Prof. Kabiru Kinyanjui said Africa has research and funding opportunities that can only be exploited by building capacity of university researchers to produce grant winning proposals.
“To sustain research in this country, we need to build capacity for preparation of winning proposals and capacity to undertake quality research and management of data and research funds,” said Kinyanjui.
He said that Kenya still ranks very low in research productivity in terms of publications due to lack of capacity building and meager allocation of research funds by the State and universities themselves.
“The major problems for lack of quality research in this country is absence of national policy and strategy on postgraduate training. Scarcity of funding for postgraduate research, grants and scholarships time allocation for graduate seminars, lack of vibrant intellectual communities, networking opportunities and publication channels,” said Kinyanjui.
He therefore called upon the government and universities to allocate more scholarships time for graduate seminars to build capacity of researchers and also increase funding to support more research work.
In his remarks, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, Research and Innovation Prof. Paul Mbatia said the Council and Management have resolved to boost the grant portfolio of the university to support and increase research output.
“The Council and Management have resolved to boost the grant portfolio of the university. This shall entail identification of leading scholars at the institution and supporting them to engage in proposal writing,” said Prof. Mbatia.
“It would also require us to set annual targets for the grant portfolio. I would suggest a working figure of 150 million to start with,” added Prof Mbatia.
The DVC said that the university has a demonstrated capacity in proposal writing, citing the Ksh. 66 million grant won by the institution from the National Research Fund (NRF) in 2017 to set up a national centre for Laser Training and Research at MMU.
“In 2017, one of our scholars in the Department of Physics –Prof. Geoffrey Kihara won a prestigious grant with the NRF amounting to Ksh. 66 million. This confirms that there is a potential for more,” he said.