UK Fund Invites Bids From Innovators In Sh97bn Research Pot

Kenyan innovators and researchers are set to benefit from Sh97bn (£735 million) UK Government fund to do joint projects.

British High Commissioner Nic Hailey (left),

British High Commissioner Nic Hailey (left), Cabinet Secretary for Education, Fred Matiang’i (centre) during the signing on July 19, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY | NEWTON-FUND

Kenyan innovators will be part of the beneficiaries from the Sh97bn (£735 million) UK government global fund under the initiative dubbed Newton-Utafiti Fund unveiled in Nairobi Tuesday.

The Newton Fund is a UK investment of up until 2021 managed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and delivered through partnering organisations and countries.

Globally, this makes Kenya the 16th country to profit from the Newton Fund – joining Egypt and South Africa on the continent. The research priorities will focus on food security, solar energy, health, environment and climate change.

“We aim at increasing capability for individuals and institutions and further developing joint research and innovation programmes among academics, business, and government institutions in both countries,” said the Country Director for British Council, Tony Reilly.

“The UK-Kenya Newton-Utafiti Fund provides a further opportunity to strengthen and deepen the already strong education ties between our two countries.”

Calls for proposals

Dr Reilly was speaking during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at the Ministry of Education where initial calls for proposals under the Newton-Utafiti Fund were opened.

He said that the program will start with two projects delivered by the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation and the British council.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Fred Matiang’i said that in its part, the Kenyan government has allocated Sh3 billion to research and innovation in the current financial year.

Dr Matiang’i said that the government will inject more resources into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) by supporting technical fields.

“The joint research programmes under the Newton-Utafiti Fund should encourage direct institutional links and collaborations between our respective higher education and research institutions,” he said.

“The research should produce quality outputs that in the end will inform policy and influence positive outcomes for the good of society,” said Dr Matiang’i.

The capplauded the partnership saying that it will see combined expertise harnessed to face real-world issues.

– Business Daily