Policy to mainstream science, technology, innovation underway
The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) is working on a policy to mainstream science, technology and innovation (STI) into all the productive sectors of the economy.
The STI policy which is currently under review articulates the application of scientific knowledge and innovation into the agriculture, education, health, industry, energy, water and sanitation sectors for sustainable national development.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, who made this known, said the focus of the policy was to understand the overall strengths and weaknesses of the STI system and determine policy regime and institutional arrangements that the country needed to promote the development agenda.
He noted that the vision of the government was to prioritise STI because "evidence points to the fact that the application of science and technology through the adoption of the appropriate technology is key to achieving national development objectives."
The minister stated this at a high-level forum organised by MESTI on the implementation of the 2017 UNESCO Recommendations on Science and Scientific Research RS/SR for the African sub-region.
The forum was organised by MESTI in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission,
UNESCO, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI).
Science must rule
Dr Afriyie said the compelling factor for the government's efforts to mainstream STI was to industrialise, create jobs and meet the demands of sustainable development, climate change and inter-generational equity.
He stressed that it had reached the stage where the scientific community must play the leading role in the quest for national development.
"If not for anything, the challenges of COVID-19 have also provided opportunities for us as scientists to do more and live up to our responsibilities," he said.
The minister observed that higher education and research institutions had key roles to play in ensuring a robust and sustainable STI policy.
"Key to this is also the role of the private sector and the linkages through strengthened partnerships, engagements and strategy to propel this agenda," he said.
He said the government was making conscious effort through the various ministries and institutions to enhance technology entrepreneurship and incubation.
"While we continue to do great things in our institutions, it is equally important for us to work together to propagate them and tell the good stories around them to create the needed platforms for partnership, networks and to unlock private capital," he said.
He added that there was the need to deepen discussions on supporting and enhancing research, research commercialisation, publications, patents, technology transfer, ownership, reaching markets, industry science-academia collaboration and the sense of excellence in science continues to take centre stage.
For his part, a deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, said the deployment of STI systems was key to the attainment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs)
In view of that he called for collective action by both developed and developing countries to adopt innovative strategies that would help to improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth.
“Indeed, the 17 SDGs address the key global challenges of our time. They determine the global course of action to end poverty, promote prosperity and well-being, protect the environment and combat climate change, among others.
He said the RS/SR) was a wake-up call for member states and governments to create the conditions that would enable science to flourish “and to advance ethically and fairly in practice.”