Positive Strides towards Research Excellence in the Midst of a Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world, Mount Kenya University, just like other institutions was forced to shut its doors to face- to –face teaching and learning.
However, In the wake of these crisis, our researchers devoted most of this period building global collaborations and carrying out top-tier research and innovation. In this issue, we report some of the milestones that have been achieved in the area of research and innovation.
Contributions to discourse on COVID-19
Our members of staff have written and published opinion articles in the local dailies that have contributed to the knowledge on COVID-19 available to the public. This is an important component of the community engagement under the research docket. University has also a dedicated platform in the website – COMFORT to address counselling services during COVID-19 Pandemic.
New grants have been received by members of staff in addition to previously funded grants. Examples of new grants include SATREPS from JICA (KSh.450 million), ACCESS from DAAD (Ksh. 25 million) and EDCTP from European Union (Ksh. 17 million).
The University has to date received KSh. 16 million as the 2nd research grant disbursement from National Research Fund. Researchers have continued to implement their project activities while observing government guidelines on coronavirus.
The Department of Innovation, IP and community Engagement spearheaded several innovations to support the Government efforts in managing COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include KoviTrace, a COVID-19 Contact Tracing system, a 3D printed low-cost ventilator, a foot peddled hand washing unit and Rise up Africa Child an initiative by MKU Students presented during Global Grad Show innovations to address COVID-19. Some of these innovations have received wide coverage in the local dailies and have been presented to relevant government ministries for adoption.
In addition, between January – April, 2020 members of staff have published a total of 27 articles in peer reviewed journals and 2 book chapters. Finally, to ensure that research activities conform to proper research ethos, the University Ethics Review committee has continued to review research proposals. A total of 91 proposals have been reviewed within the same period, 10 of which are from non-MKU researchers. The University Research docket is therefore resilient enough to continue supporting research activities even during the pandemic.