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Egerton Sign Partnership With US University Aimed at Deepening Agriculture Research

Egerton Sign Partnership With US University Aimed at Deepening Agriculture Research

Professor Isaac Kibwage, Vice-Chancellor of Egerton University, has stated that research holds the key to unlocking the country’s potential while urging training institutions to embrace innovation in order to boost skill development.

He stated that higher education institutions bear a significant responsibility as a catalyst for socioeconomic development through the generation of new knowledge, research and innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship, and the eventual commercialization of the outcomes of these initiatives.

Professor Kibwage stated that it is critical and urgent for Kenyan institutions to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in students in order to not only prepare them for the job market but also to catalyze a paradigm shift from seeking formal employment to being job creators and employers through the use of their creative and innovative abilities.

On his return from Washington DC (USA), where Egerton University participated in the 2022 launch of the Global Agricultural Productivity (GAP) Report on October 4th this year, the Vice Chancellor revealed that his institution had signed an academic partnership with Virginia Tech University of the United States of America aimed at deepening research and capacity building collaboration with a focus on joint fundraising.

Professor Kibwage also gave a keynote address at Virginia Tech University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Symposium on October 6, 2018. The Symposium’s theme was Extension and Community Engaged Higher Education: Lessons from Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, and the United States.

Virginia Tech University, founded in 1872, manages a research portfolio worth $522 million (Sh63.12 billion), ranking it among the top 50 universities in the United States in terms of total research expenditures.

Virginia Tech, also known as a public land-grant research university, has 34,400 students and offers 280 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

While acknowledging that Science, Technology, and Innovation are major drivers and enablers of social and economic transformation, the Vice Chancellor emphasized that applying knowledge and innovation is required to achieve sustainable economic growth and competitiveness in the face of emerging challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative effects on the country’s social and economic fabric, as well as the negative impact of climate change.

He emphasized the importance of global research collaborations because they provided excellent cross-learning opportunities for researchers to learn and engage.

“It is time research takes the center-stage in every university,” said Professor Kibwage

Though African universities are a critical catalyst in advancing the continent’s innovation efforts due to their wealth of intellectual capital and ability to generate and attract talent, underfunding has been a major impediment to achieving these goals.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, Kenya’s creative industries contribute more than 5% of the country’s GDP.

Kenya ranks third in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of research expenditure. In June of this year, the National Treasury advised higher education institutions to seek alternative funding sources rather than relying solely on the Exchequer to fund their operations. They received Sh76.3 billion in the fiscal year 2021/2022 but later requested additional funding.

A variety of reasons have been advanced to explain these institutions’ dire financial situation. The first is dwindling Treasury allocations, and the second is declining student enrollment.

While noting that research accelerates innovation, the Vice Chancellor noted that countries that embrace it have positioned themselves favorably in a knowledge-intensive, globally competitive marketplace.

Egerton Sign Partnership With US University Aimed at Deepening Agriculture Research
Professor Isaac Kibwage, Vice-Chancellor of Egerton University

Experts advise that innovative technologies developed in research labs and businesses focus on key sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, tourism, ICT, and manufacturing.

Professor Kibwage urged scholars and researchers to form strong partnerships with the business sector in order to translate research findings into industries that generate wealth and jobs. To that end, he believes African universities should serve as launching pads for the continent’s economic development.

Kenyan universities, he added, still need to play a more active role in supporting an innovation ecosystem, particularly through the recognition of patentable innovations.

Silicon Valley is a global nerve center that owes its evolution and development to Stanford University’s research and technology.

According to don, Kenya’s Vision 2030 recognizes the critical role that science, technology, and innovation will play in driving development, social transformation, and international competitiveness. Furthermore, Sustainable Development Goals can only be met through the diligent application of scientific knowledge to problem-solving.

Egerton Sign Partnership With US University Aimed at Deepening Agriculture Research

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