The development and application of science, technology and innovation in Kenya is central to the success of the national development policies and programmes. Science and technology are the essential means by which the development of nations has been facilitated. Economic, social and cultural development goes hand in hand with scientific and technological transformation. Science and technology policies must therefore be an integral part of the economic and social policies, contributing in the national development objectives and aspirations.
In order for the country’s development agenda to benefit from the scientific and technological innovations and inventions, an institutional framework with legal powers and capacity to develop, collect and make available information on scientific and technological advancements to users is essential.
From the early 18th century, the country’s colonial government in Kenya established a number of scientific research and development facilities especially in the country’s agriculture and health sectors. These included the Scott Agricultural Laboratories in 1903, Coffee Research Services in 1908, Veterinary Research Laboratories in 1910 and Medical Research Laboratory in 1958. Similar efforts in other sectors were made during the nineteen forties and fifties. After attaining independence in 1963, Kenya established many other Science and Technology (S&T) institutions in the effort to develop and apply science and technology in the country’s development priorities. In response to the growth in national S&T and related activities, the post-independence Government sought to have a mechanism through which scientific and technological activities could be coordinated and promoted. This led to the enactment of the Science and Technology Act, Cap 250 of the Laws of Kenya in 1977. The Act established Advisory Research Committees (ARCs) and the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) to serve as advisory institutions to the Government on matters of science and technology.