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Researchers, innovators team up to fight climate change

An exhibitor shows some of the products at the Research Innovation and Digital Agri-Expo at Mount Kenya University

Researchers in the country have teamed up to find a lasting solution to the effects of climate change and the declining food security.

In Kiambu County, over 40 partners have come together in a Research, Innovation and Digital Agri-Expo at the Mount Kenya University (MKU) in an event that was graced by Director General, Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) and the Universities Funding Board aiming to chart the way forward in minimizing the adversities of a changing environment.

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Speaking Thursday, MKU Vice-Chancellor Prof Deogratius Jaganyi said the academia and industry is vital in enhancing innovations, commercialization of scientific or research outcomes for socio-economic growth, knowledge transfer and a mutual value-addition.

Mount Kenya University Vice-Chancellor Prof Deogratius Jaganyi (left) with KIRDI Director General Dr Calvin Onyango and University Funding Board CEO Geoffrey Monari (third right) listen to a student explaining the operations of a water dispenser operated through Mpesa payment

He said MKU has taken the initiative to grow medicinal plants in its botanical garden at the Green valley estate Campus in Thika and an initial research has yielded the production of bathing soap using aloe vera and bamboo extracts.

Noting that research and innovation are the drivers of economic development; the VC said there must be a strong synergy between academia and industry to foster the much needed socio-economic development.

“The banks, the schools, the hotels, the construction sites, small scale and large-scale farmers, hospitals, engineers,  boda-boda transporters and the entire transport sector, the ICT sector, and so on are the industry players and partners in this endeavor,” said the VC.

At the same time, Prof Jaganyi made an appeal for more funding towards research and innovation from the government, noting that currently the kitty stands at 2 per cent.

“We know the government has many things to do including financing research and innovation, but when more funds become available it will go a long way towards realizing our goals,” said the scholar.

Dr. Onyango said KIRDI has embarked on a program of partnering with universities to share information and create linkages between young innovators and the industrial market.

“We are offering incubation services where students come and use our facilities and gain the confidence to go out into the market for them to grow and create jobs,” said Onyango.

Monari said the Funding Board has partnered with donors to support innovators on issues of climate change, food security and health.

“Over the years innovators have not been supported financially and that is what we are now focusing on. We also want universities to become more entrepreneurial,” the official added.

The Expo ends on Friday, November 24th.

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