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P600 million for research and innovation

Publishing Date : 14 November, 2016

Author : THABO BAGWASI

The Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology (MTERST) has earmarked over P678 million for research, technology and innovation related projects in National Development Plan 11(NDP11).

Minister Dr Alfred Madigele told parliament Thursday that P26 million of the hefty sum will go towards building research capacity.Madigele stated that the funds, which will be administered by Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), will be used to support higher education institutions wiling to carry out research in collaboration with the business sector to exploit new technologies and ideas.


He further stated that currently one of the challenges facing education and training is the lack of specialized skills within some training programmes which result in graduates being unable to cope with industry requirements. He further said that this is probably attributable to lack of effective collaboration between industry and training institutions. He also reaffirmed that there remains a need for effective and sustained collaboration between training institutions and the industry in order to ensure that institutions provide training that is aligned to industry needs and standards.    


Madigele further stated that his ministry has apportioned P100 million to be used to establish national research fund maintaining that the proposed fund will be used to finance research of relevance to the national priorities according to the requirements of the public and private sector.


 “Effective coordination of research science technology and Innovation is crucial for the transformation of Botswana from a scientifically lagging status and factor driven economy to knowledge driven one.” Madigele said. He further said that a national policy on Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) has been drafted and its development is premised on the recognition of the value of indigenous knowledge system and how they can be leveraged to drive progress in the different spheres.


The research, science, technology and innovation policy was approved in August 2012, to replace the 1998 Science and Technology Policy. Madigele glorified the policy as presenting a new and decisive path towards maximizing benefits associated with science and technology.  


Madigele however conceded that the low participation of females in science, technology, engineering and mathematics remains a challenge that directly and indirectly relate to tertiary education, research, science and technology. He also stated that the country has also continued to be rated low in indicators for innovation such as capacity for innovation, low labour productivity as well as poor work ethics    


Another fund called the Innovation Fund  will be allocated P45,000,000 for the implementation of Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) policy  while  P9,000,000 will be for the implementation of research, science, technology while the fund for  innovation will be apportioned P72,000,000.  


Madigele also revealed that research funds to the tune of P213, 300,000 have been allocated for climate change research, natural resources and material projects research, ICT and electronics research as well as energy and building materials research.
Other funds in the ministry will go towards the construction of radioactive storage facility, Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) expansion as well as additional residences of University of Botswana student residences among others.

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