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Hasten establishment of National Research Fund - Prof. Oduro Owusu

BY: Haruna Yussif Wunpini
Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu
Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu

The President of the Presbyterian University College, Ghana (PUCG), Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, has called on the government to expedite action on the establishment of the National Research Fund.

He said the fund would encourage graduate students and researchers to find answers to the numerous developmental challenges facing the country.

Prof. Owusu made the call at the congregation of graduate students of the PUCG at the Akropong Akuapem campus last Saturday.

Some 309 students, including 121 females, graduated in Master of Education in Educational Studies; Master of Arts in International Development Studies; Master of Science in Environmental Health and Sanitation; Master of Science in Natural Resources Management; and Master of Science in Financial Risk Management.

Prof. Owusu stressed the need for the nation to regard research as the only path to breakthroughs and development.

“Any nation that does not invest in research cannot develop beyond the service industry and will only seek to grow the service industry at the expense of the production industry,” he said.

Seed money

In November 2018, the then Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, announced that the government had voted $50 million as seed money for the establishment of the National Research Fund.

Dr Prempeh, who was opening the first joint Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) workshop in Accra, said Cabinet at the time had given approval for the establishment of the fund, and a draft bill was to be presented to Parliament shortly to give it the necessary legal backing.

When the fund is implemented, at least one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be set aside for Research and Development activities.

Strengthening universities

Prof. Owusu said there was the need to strengthen universities to produce the next generation of graduates who would be properly tuned to providing the platform with aggressive developmental research.

Such research, he explained, should provide invaluable contextualised knowledge, and make locally relevant policies leading to technological advancements for rapid socio-economic growth and development.

“To go this route, there should be adequate funding, equipped research laboratories, reliable Internet connectivity and proper guidance from faculty,” he stated.

He added: “Developmental research could originate in the universities or be a response to a request from the private sector or government with appropriate funding. There is, therefore, an urgent need for partnership among industry, commerce and academia”.

Graduate training

Prof. Owusu noted that the past few decades had seen a rise in enrolment into graduate programmes in the country and the world over as a result of the resolve of more people seeking to improve their knowledge and skill sets in their chosen fields.

“While this enables the individual to become competitive in the local and international job market, it also affords the nation the opportunity to have access to mature and knowledgeable brains to sustain the capacity building efforts of the nation and to ensure self-dependency in knowledge application and development experts,” he added.