Since its establishment by the Science and Technology Act, Cap 250 of the Laws of Kenya National Council for Science and Technology can be credited with the following achievements:
1. a) Establishment of the National Bioethics Committee (NBA) 2009
This is a 17 member committee that was formed by the Council under the health Schedule to advice government and stakeholders on bioethical issues of public concern. The committee is specifically mandated to:
- Ensure that the highest ethical (professional, moral, social, cultural and legal) standards are maintained in research
- Consider and review accreditation applications for subordinate ethics committees in Kenya
- Advice government on the scientific and technological requirements for the conservation of the natural and social environment in Kenya
- Maintain a relationship with corresponding scientific organizations in other countries
b) Development of accreditation procedures for Institutional Ethical Review Committees (IERCs) and Accreditation IERCs.
NBC have developed the procedures which have been used to accredit 12 IERCs within the public and private institutions engaged in research.
c) Planned Review of Guidelines for biomedical conduct of biomedical research
The available guidelines were published in 2004, and since then several important changes have taken place that have necessitated review of these guidelines. Research activities have grown in quantity and the global arena has shifted towards favoring the conduct of research in countries that have weak research infrastructure. Stakeholders are set to revise these guidelines before end of 2012.
2. Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between NCST and Consortium for National Health Research (CNHR).
The Council signed a memorandum of understanding with the CNHR on the promotion of health research within the country. Under this MoU, the two institutions have agreed to have an annual Research to Policy workshop in which various Research for Health stakeholders from the public, private and international partners come to discuss issues affecting health and related research. This forum also provide an avenue of engaging both policy makers and scientist on pertinent national health challenges. The 1st Research to Policy workshop held last year from21st to 22nd June 2011 at Windsor Hotel came up with various recommendations among which are;
- Development of a regulatory framework for Research in health and a National Research Agenda on Health with involvement of all stakeholders under the leadership of NCST, the Ministries of Health and CNHR
- Development of national Guidelines for use and care of animals used in research and training with participation of all stakeholders under the guidance of NCST, KEMRI, NMK and CNHR
- Development of a national Knowledge Sharing platform (KSP)
3. The formulation of the first national science and technology policy statement in 1980. The statement outlined guidelines for further advancement and use of science and technology for development. It also proposed various actions that needed to be taken for the realization of the national development goals as set out in the 4th national development Plan 1979 – 1983. The Report on Science and Technology for Development, containing the policy statement was adopted by Parliament in 1982, as a response to the Council’s function of advising the Government on a national Science Policy, including general planning and the assessment of requisite financial resources.
4. In 1982, the Council undertook a survey of scientists, technicians and artisans in Kenya to explore the country’s scientific and technological human resource situation with a view to generating a baseline data for planning and execution of her scientific and technological potential. Update of the S&T human resource capacity database was made following a similar survey conducted in 2008.
5. In the late 80s, the Council set-up the Kenya National Scientific Information and Documentation Centre (KENSIDOC) with a view to developing and offering information services necessary for the elaboration and efficient implementation of the country’s plans for socio-economic development. Other than the provision of referral scientific information services, KENSIDOC was purposefully to elaborate and implement the national scientific and technological information policy by promoting, harmonizing and effectively co-coordinating information services through a national network information resource centres.
6. As part of the effort to spur the acquisition and utilization of scientific and technological information, the Council issued the National Strategy for Scientific Information in 1987 to serve as a long – and short term guide to the development of KENSIDOC and its linkage to a network of scientific and technological centres.
7. Prepared the Kenya Space Science Policy proposal in the early 90s that was to guide Kenya in the application of space technology for the exploitation of space resources. The Policy proposed the establishment of the Kenya Space Agency to promote, aid, guide and coordinate space programmes in the country. Its fore runner, the National Space Secretariat, got Cabinet approval in 1993 and has since been established under the Department of Defence.
8. In the late 90s, the Council identified the need for protection of IPR and the establishment of the Kenya Industrial Property Organization (KIPO), the precursor to the current Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) that was established under the Industrial Property Act, 2001. The institute promotes inventive and innovative activities through grant and regulation of intellectual property rights.
9. The Science, Technology and Innovation Fund (formerly, the Research Grants Programme initiated in 80’s) for the support of important areas of research which, for various reasons, were not being undertaken by publicly funded institutions and to assist talented researchers with ideas of potential importance to the country. In 1989, the Council outlined the national research priority areas and subsequently revised them in 2004. These are used in guiding allocation of research funds.
10. The Council In 1984 published the Research Clearance Procedures and Guidelines and subsequently, provided guidelines in 2004 for ethical conduct of biomedical research involving human subjects in Kenya. These guidelines have been extremely useful for the documentation, monitoring and evaluation of research activities in the country
11. Out of the coordination of NCST based on the country programme framework, the country has had very tangible benefits over a long period of time. These include:
(a) A national centre for the maintenance of instruments for nuclear science and technology established in collaboration with the University of Nairobi, Institute of Nuclear Sciences;
(b) Non-destructive testing in industry university of Nairobi, metallurgy, civil engineering, earth sciences, developed in collaboration with the Kenya Bureau of Standards;
(c) Hydro-geochemical and Isotope characterization of geothermal fields and aquifers in the Rift Valley Geothermal fields and River UasoNyiro catchment area within IsioloMerti and Yamicha Triangle. Also the hydro-geochemical study of the water resources of the Nile Valley using isotope hydrological techniques. These have been achieved in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation;
(d) A national Center for Nuclear medicine established in collaboration with Kenyatta National Hospital, and Development of sustainable process of cheap synthesis of bio-fertilizers using nuclear techniques in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and KARI.
12. Development of national capacity in geological and geo-information systems coordination of the seismology and the prediction of earthquakes as well as such earth movements. Two stations for detecting earth disturbances have been set up in Kenya, one at Karura forest and the other at Kilimambogo linking Kenya to Global verification Regime for early detection of nuclear tests and explosions in collaboration with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
13. Coordinated the development of Biotechnology Policy and the Biosafety Coordination Framework as well as the Biosafety Law