On Tuesday, March 1, researchers gathered at the Strathmore University Auditorium for a day-long summit that culminated in the launch of the Strathmore Academy for International Research Collaboration (SAIRC). SAIRC is borne of the fruit of Prof. John Odhiambo’s sabbatical, who doubles up as the leader of the founding nine-member team. The academy will foster and promote collaborative research that informs and improves policy and practice, and advance the livelihood of people.
SAIRC aims to be the research investment destination of choice for fellow universities, government, industry and civil society. This investment model presupposes that these stakeholders, being aware of the problems that abound in society, shall invest research and innovation identified by any collaboration partner to solve these societal problems. The model shall synergize and maximize on the best of the respective institutions, investors, philanthropists and venture capitalists – to generate multi-faceted knowledge that is not constrained by traditional proposal approach that is linear. This shall lead to access to a large pool of expertise with wide experience globally and ability to solve societal problems that have immediate and higher impact.
The launch was attended by, among others: the Pro Chancellor, Rev. Dr. Silvano; University Council Chair, Mrs. Bernadette Musundi, and Vice Chancellor Designate, Dr. Vincent Ogutu.
The Pro Chancellor reminded those present of the role of a university as envisioned by St. Josemaria Escriva: A university must educate its students to have a sense of service to society, promoting the common good with their professional work and their activity. Mrs. Musundi emphasized that SAIRC will create excellency in research and innovation by improving policies and reinforcing research networks.
On his part, Dr. Vincent Ogutu, Vice Chancellor Designate stated, “Through the research done by SAIRC, the University will deploy resources to suggest answers and ultimately eradicate unsolved problems in society.”
In the course of the summit, Prof. Omondi Oketch, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Technical University of Kenya spoke on the intersection of communication and scientific research, and the best way to ensure research output reaches the intended recipient. He said, “Scientific research that is exclusive and technical creates a disconnect as it isn’t designed to communicate scientific information to audiences.” He asked a key question that triggered a conversation on the role of communication in scientific research and communication: Where do researchers lose the society when it comes to scientific research? A panel discussion dug deeper into the discussion on how to leverage on communication to connect our research and its intended recipients.
In the near term, SAIRC shall focus on research streams that leverage the current research strengths with our collaborating partners. These are: institutional leadership and governance; one health; climate innovation and clean energy; digital transformation, big data and future societies; agriculture and food systems; family science and cultures; STEM and innovation; sustainability research; financing and public policy; enterprise development, the future of work and economic growth; and establishment of a research fund.
This article was written by Wambui Gachari.
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