Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) has unveiled a state –of-the -art laboratory to boost scientific research in the region.
The National Research Fund (NRF) infrastructure support, has equipped the laboratory at a tune of Sh 33 million. The facility will boost research in fresh water, human health and molecular microbiology.
The modern technology equipment in the lab will also enable researchers and students undertake advanced cell research on plants and animals through DNA and RNA tests.
State Department for University Education Principal Secretary Amb Simon Nabukwesi was speaking during the commissioning of the laboratory where he said that the facility is a testimony of the commitment by the government in supporting priority areas of science, technology and innovation.
Amb Nabukwesi observed that cell research is necessary for society that wants to advance adding that it is from such research infrastructure that innovations that contribute to the economic and social development of the country can be realized.
The PS said, the laboratory will boost research excellence by equipping students and scientists with cutting edge research expertise and knowledge that can continuously be applied to avoid skill loss.
“Majority of you (academic staff) are educated in foreign countries where the laboratories are well equipped with sophisticated equipment. When you come back and you are unable to practice the same, the knowledge acquired is lost overtime and that’s why we are suffering as a country,” Nabukwesi said.
The PS applauded JOOUST under the leadership of Prof Stephen Agong for their zeal in ensuring that the university laboratories are equipped through partnership with the NRF and acknowledged the role played by the university management in achieving the milestone.
He said that the government is committed to improve productivity of research funding by encouraging enhanced migration of science from laboratories to the market place, improving how it strategically aids investments in public good science that underpins the economy, directly boosts economic growth through market driven research and to simplify the entire research system.
NRF CEO Dr Jemmimah Onsare revealed that NRF has also funded twenty other institutions in the country with infrastructure development funds to elevate research in the country.
Dr Onsare further disclosed that JOOUST had initially applied for Sh100 million funding but because other institutions in the region like Eldoret University and Bukura Agricultural Institute qualified for equipment funding on similar thematic areas, the funding was cut to Sh33 million to avoid duplication.
She encouraged JOOUST to partner with such institutions which benefited from the equipment funding to maximise on research resources available within universities in the region.
Dr Onsare said the newly commissioned laboratory is a National facility accessible to all researchers in the country and directed the JOOUST management to come up with mechanism to ensure researchers have access to the facility.
The NRF CEO called on JOOUST to make proper use of the facility to undertake research on highland rice and sorghum production to boost food security in the region and at the same time assured public institutions in the country that applied for research funds on desert locust that the government will release the funds starting July.
The occasion was attended by Siaya deputy governor Dr James Okumbe, officials from Ministry of Education, and CEO’s of NACOSTI and the, Kenya National Innovation Agency.