State pumps money into Covid-19 research
Only one private university (Mount Kenya University) and six public institutions of higher learning have had their Covid-19 research proposals approved by the Government for funding.
The National Research Fund (NRF) approved research proposals from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), University of Nairobi (UoN), Egerton University, Pwani University, Multimedia University and Kenyatta University (KU).
Among the private universities, only Mount Kenya University (MKU) had its proposal approved as follows:
Research Project Title
Covid-19 Challenge Strategic Call
|1.||Dr. Peter Kirira||Development of Immune Regulatory Supplements from Indigenous Edible Herbs and Vegetables from prevention and management of Covid-19|
Locust Invasion Strategic Call
|2.||Dr. John Kamau||Prediction of Locus Invasions and Impact Using Artificial Intelligence and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones) for control and surveillance|
|3.||Charles Ndege||Designing and Testing of Desert Locust Trapping Methods Based on Green Energy Innovations|
Egerton, JKUAT, KU and the Institute of Primate Research each had two proposals approved. UoN, Multimedia, Pwani, Kemri and MKU each had one research proposal and concept approved.
In total, under Covid-19 research alone, only 13 proposals were approved out of 350 requests.
The NRF said the calls for proposals and concept notes made in April last year were also in response to crises brought about by cancer incidents and the invasion of desert locusts.
By the closing date for entries, a total of 134 responses were submitted towards cancer research and another 83 to address the challenge of desert locusts.
“These calls focused on identified priorities and was responded to by government institutions, institutions of higher learning (private and public) and private non-profit and profit organisations,” the NRF said.
But only 22 research proposals were approved for government funding on cancer and another 16 for desert locusts invasion.
“The proposals and concept notes were subjected to a rigorous peer review process and further evaluated by subject experts,” said NRF.
Overall, under the cancer research category, 10 public universities and one private university–Strathmore–qualified for funding.
These are Chuka University, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST), Kisii University, Multimedia, UoN, Maseno University, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Moi University, Meru University and KU.
Research proposals from Kakamega County health departments and Machakos Level 5 Hospital were also approved.
Nairobi Hospital, Tenwek Hospital, the Institute of Primate Research, Kemri and the National Cancer Institute also had their proposals on cancer approved.
Nine public universities and one private university had their proposals approved for the desert locusts invasion.
They are Mount Kenya University (MKU), Chuka, KU, JOOUST, UoN, Moi, University of Eldoret, South Eastern Kenya University, and JKUAT.
Others are the National Meteorological Centre, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation.
“We take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the researchers who participated in the calls and congratulate the various teams that have been shortlisted. Further communication shall be made to those shortlisted,” the NRF said.
It is expected that Kenyans will take keen interest in specific fields of research under Covid-19 funded by the government.