Scattering the seed of Research and Innovation

The breakfast meeting by Research Innovation Incubation Commercialization and Extension (RICE) directorate held at the university’s innovation center boardroom brought together key stakeholders of the University; the university management and members of the teaching staff. The primary agenda of the breakfast meeting was to discuss research, innovation, incubation, and how to effectively transfer research outcomes to the community. Every year, the directorate of RICE together with the University management organizes a breakfast meeting for the dons as a way of fostering the spirit of research and innovation in the University. The meeting also provides a platform to share the challenges dons have faced for the year and the successes thereof.

Prof Romanus During Breakfast Meeting

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo giving his remarks to close the breakfast research meetings.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, encouraged the members of staff to double their effort in research matters. He asked the senior members of staff to mentor junior members and foster the spirit of collaboration within the University. In the same breath, members were encouraged to devoting daily some time to research and listening to the community to get to know their problems.

Prof Omamo During Breakfast Meeting

Prof. Amos Omamo, The Director Research Innovation Incubation Commercialization and Extension (RICE) making his presentation.

Central in the discussion was postgraduate studies that often form the bedrock of research in most institutions of higher learning. The director Board of postgraduate studies noted that there has been a challenge when it comes to the number of postgraduates who graduate. Dr. Cynthia Mugo encouraged the deans to set aside some time every week for the students to share their progress. By the end of the year, she projected that 84 post graduate students are expected to graduate, however, the progress displayed is not in tandem. This prompted the call to action to ensure all the postgraduates are encouraged to complete their course work in order to graduate in time.

Director BPS, Dr. Cynthia Mugo making her presentation

Part of the requirements for postgraduates to graduate is publications. Those supervising the postgraduates were advised to take advantage and use the students they are supervising to write more proposals that they can use to apply for grants.

Members of the staff during research meeting

A glimpse of how keen the members were to the speakers

The DVC, Academics and Student Affairs, Prof. Simon Thuranira, then proceeded to give the members present their publication reports for the year. The number of articles published by every member were compiled by the senior librarian, Ms. Ruth Gibendi. Members who had a Google Scholar and an ORCID account were the only ones whose papers were listed. Those members of staff whose ORCID accounts read different universities were encouraged to change their affiliation to Meru University of Science and Technology. Those without Google Scholar accounts were asked to seek help from the Library.

DVC, ASA giving publication reports

DVC, ASA giving publication reports

While the meeting was about research, the DVC, AFP, Prof. Charity Gichuki, took advantage of the gathering to sensitize the members present about the intention to harvest some of the mature trees once they get their permit from NEMA. She said, some trees are posing danger. This came up when the registrar Administration and Planning, Dr. Elijah Walubuka mentioned that every member of staff was expected to plant at least 30 trees each year as part of the performance contract (PC). The deans were admonished to cascade PC signing to their CoDs and CoDs to their members of staff.

Prof. Charity Gichuki, DVC Administration Finance and Planning sensitizing the congregants.

Prof. Charity Gichuki, DVC Administration Finance and Planning sensitizing the congregants.

Members listening to a presentation.

Key Discussions at the Meeting

During the breakfast meeting, various important topics were discussed to enhance research commercialization and extension efforts. Some of the key discussions included:

  1. Research Collaboration: The importance of fostering collaboration between academia, industry, and government bodies to drive innovation and commercialization of research findings. Meru University of Science and Technology has partnered with other universities, local and international to foster the spirit of research.
  2. Innovation Ecosystem: Creating a conducive environment within the university for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship among students and faculty members. Dons were encouraged to go beyond publications, and think of innovations, which in turn can be turned into IPs and startups.
  3. Incubation Support: Providing necessary support structures such as funding, mentorship, and access to resources for incubating research projects with commercial potential. There have been incubation services in the University for some time now. Dons were encouraged to take advantage of the incubation centre to nurture their innovations to full startups.
  4. Community Engagement: Strategies for engaging with the local community to understand their needs and preferences, thereby aligning research efforts with societal requirements. Through going to the community to be able to understand the challenges people are facing, provides a pool of research problems that can boost reach activities.
  5. Knowledge Transfer: Developing mechanisms for effectively transferring knowledge generated through research activities into practical applications that benefit society. A TISC office is in the pipeline to help streamline this pathway.
  6. Impact Assessment: Implementing frameworks to assess the impact of research initiatives on the community in terms of economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Ensuring Maximum Impact in the Community

To ensure that research activities in the university have maximum impact in the community, several strategies can be implemented:

  1. Stakeholder Engagement: Engage with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds including industry partners, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community members to understand their perspectives and needs.
  2. Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers from different departments or fields of study to address complex societal challenges comprehensively.
  3. Capacity Building: Provide training programs and workshops for researchers on entrepreneurship skills, intellectual property rights management, and industry engagement to enhance their capacity for translating research into real-world applications.
  4. Public Outreach Programs: Organize outreach programs such as seminars, workshops, and public lectures to disseminate research findings to a wider audience and gather feedback from the community.
Group Photo During Research Meeting

Final group photo of the breakfast meetings.

By implementing these strategies effectively, MUST can ensure that its research activities not only contribute significantly to academic knowledge but also create tangible benefits for society at large.

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