Academicians appeal for research funding

INADEQUATE research funding has been cited as a the reason why scholars and universities in the country do not win international recognition.

This was said recently by Saint Augustine University of Tanzania’s (SAUT) Director for Undergraduate Studies, Dr Samwel Mseti in an exclusive interview with the ‘Sunday News’ focusing on digging out the extent to which the varsity enhances research and innovation.

Dr Mseti said SAUT prioritises research as the basic requirement for both undergraduate and postgraduate students for them to be conferred their degrees.

He said that some researchers at the varsity, including lecturers fail to share their findings to the international journal due to high publishing cost, calling upon development stakeholders to fund research in all universities countrywide.

Equally, SAUT Acting Director for Research Innovation and Community Engagement, Dr Delphine Kessy, pointed out lack of funds and low recognition of academics’ findings as a barrier for them to carry out fruitful research, especially in the areas of technological innovation.

“You find a researcher has good innovative ideas but with no money to run the process, the idea becomes useless” Dr Kessy hinted.

She expounded that research on technological innovation demands a lot of funding.

She therefore extended advice to the government among other development partners to fund research both in private and public universities, noting that the core objective of academic findings from all universities across the country is to solve the country’s emerging problems.

Furthermore, she said the only competition between private and public universities on research should be who brings the best solutions for development of the society provided all researches are coordinated and financed by the government.

“We have to start acting fast because the world changes so fast, we must invest enough on science and innovation research starting from valuing what we have including our indigenous technologies” Dr Kessy added.

Meanwhile, SAUT Vice Chancellor, Prof Costa Rick Mahalu said the varsity eyes to foster students and lecturers’ joint publication in effort to attain research culture sustainability.

“The big challenge in many universities in our country is that lecturers underestimate students’ innovation ideas and academic know-how, change in thinking is needed for them to partner with students, especially on carrying out research” Prof Mahalu said.

Adding “the thinking that lecturers know everything and students know nothing poses barriers to research and talent development”.

He challenged lecturers to give ear to students’ research ideas and later on partner with them in a bid to see their research ideas lead to new knowledge and discovery.

He also called upon researchers in the country to share their findings and publish them in international journals, saying it is by doing so they can win the country world class academic recognition.

Technology and Innovation expert, Dr Joseph Nyansiro based at the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), noted that financial inadequateness is much more a challenge to junior researchers as in most cases funding goes to senior researchers.

Dr Nyansiro called upon government authorities, including the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and private industries to align their decision making on upgrading efficiency with researchers by giving them financial support and tips on issues that need concrete lasting solutions for prosperity, for instance on how tax evasion can be solved by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

 

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