NUST gets help for research
The Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) signed a Master Agreement late last month. NCRST granted NUST N$4.5 million over the next two to three years in almost all thematic areas identified as part of the National Research Programme.
Tjama Tjivikua, Vice-Chancellor of NUST said the Master Agreement will be honoured and that the research and initiative and projects will be implemented as planned. “This Agreement is an indication of the sincere commitment towards the institutional research portfolio and also to individual growth and development of involved staff and students,” he emphasised.
He further stated that the national system of innovation needs strengthening to enable the country to achieve its Vision 2030 and Development Plans, which should include diversifying funding mechanisms, enhancing human resource base dedicated to scientific research and technology development and strengthening university-industry collaboration. “Thus while Namibia is investing less than 1% of its GDP on research and innovation, all relevant stakeholders should not be pleased with economic growth in its current form,” said Tjivikua.
Dr. Eino Mvula, Chief Executive Officer of NCRST explained that their Research, Science and Technology Fund (RST) has received and assessed over 397 applications for funding since its inception in 2013, and to date 147 applications worth a funding value of over N$27 million has been assessed and were approved. “We have a specific focus on Capacity Building and supporting young people, hence the Fund has invested in 30 PhD students, 58 Master’s students and 32 Youth Innovators and the R&D Projects at NUST as percentage of total projects funded by the Commission (excluding post graduate student funding and youth innovators), currently stands at 32%,” said Dr. Mvula.
The Master Agreement recognizes the importance and roles the two institutions can play in developing science, technology and innovation in Namibia. It is a tool that streamlines research grant management as both institutions play different roles in the functional innovation system.