UCC 2nd research awards and grants intensifying research engagement

BY: Daily Graphic
Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey graced the ceremony as the guest speaker
Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey graced the ceremony as the guest speaker

The University of Cape Coast (UCC), as part of its commitment to enhance the realisation of the expected impact of engaging in scientific research, organised the Second Research Awards and Grants (RAG) ceremony on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

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The ceremony, which has been institutionalised as an annual event by UCC, is intended to intensify research engagement as a core mandate, enhance the quality of research output, publicise the university’s research focus and findings and share recommendations with industry players and policy makers, and other users and beneficiaries of the outcomes of research.

The ceremony, which has been institutionalised as an annual event by UCC, is intended to intensify research engagement as a core mandate, enhance the quality of research output, publicise the university’s research focus and findings and share recommendations with industry players and policy makers, and other users and beneficiaries of the outcomes of research.

It is the view of the university that this event, which brings together all stakeholders in the scientific research industry space, will promote the use of research for national development and transformation of livelihoods.


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UCC’s commitment to promoting research

Opening the ceremony, the Vice Chancellor of UCC, Professor Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, emphasised the university’s commitment to promote research for the transformation of livelihoods and help achieve the ninth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

This SDG themed “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation” enjoins nations to increase their research and development expenditure, as well as reduce the share of researcher per number of inhabitants. The university has, therefore, increased its share of research expenditure from 0.67 per cent to 1.01 per cent in the last three years. The share of research expenditure excludes wages to research fellows in the various colleges, faculties/schools and departments. In particular, the university’s direct commitment to the provision of funds for the engagement in scientific research has increased by 500 per cent in the past year. The vice chancellor pledged that this would continue to increase in the coming years. The further increase, he said, would be directed to theme-based research in order to enable faculty members to focus on recurring and contemporary issues such as illegal mining and disaster outbreaks which continue to remain a menace in Ghana.

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Refocusing research
agenda for development

The Special Guest for the occasion, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, the Secretary-General of African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, mentioned that the achievement of the SDGs comes with growth in the knowledge economy which is driven solely by scientific research. To engage in this, Prof. Aryeetey stressed the need for national commitment, significant investment in research and the establishment of research universities. Specifically, he indicated that a ‘big push’ investment in research infrastructure in the general disciplines and sciences in particular was imperative. Citing experiences from the University of Ghana and elsewhere, Prof. Aryeetey illustrated the huge investments that need to be made, including acquisition of modern science laboratory equipment, establishment of mega research laboratories and usage of improved teaching pedagogies through the application of information technology. He advised faculty members to be more enthusiastic in realising the impact of research, striving for excellence, and being committed and forward-looking in their research endeavours. On doctoral training, he emphasised the need for thorough training based on strengthened and ‘credible’ supervision framework.

Bringing research to the doorstep of users

The director of the Directorate of Research, Innovation and Consultancy (DRIC), Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim recounted the processes for implementing the Research Awards and Grants schemes in the university, highlighted changes that had occurred in terms of response to the RAG and lastly, outlined issues related to the university’s quest for both researcher and institutional visibility.

To continuously build capacity within the university and engage in demand-driven research, four categories of research funding opportunities, namely individual, group-led, inter-departmental and policy and practice-oriented studies were placed on offer. In all, a total of 37 research support grants were available to be competed for.

This was a significant increase from the five research support grants that were put on offer during the maiden call. For this year’s call for research support grants, 62 applications were received and 24 of them were awarded. The funded research projects for the 2016-17 academic year are as follows:

No. Names of Principal Investigators Title of Research Projects Focus

1. ANDREAS ADUTWUM KUDOM Entomological assessment of zika vector and its potential outbreak in Cape Coast Health

2. ERNEST TEYE Developing a shelf stable nutrient dense vegetable powder from local under-utilised crops Agriculture and Nutrition

3. SAMUEL ABASSAH-OPPONG Functional analysis and ligand identification of the C-Kit-Like Receptor Tyrosine (C-Kit Rtk 2) Biochemistry and Health.

4. JOSEPH BENJAMIN ARCHIBALD AFFUL Examiner comments on MPhil theses literature reviews in the University of Cape Coast Education.

5. JULIUS KOFI HAGAN Evaluating the productive performance of different rabbit breeds in Ghana Agriculture

6. ISAAC OKYERE Investigating larval prey selectivity of the lampeye killifish and its potential for malaria biocontrol in Ghana Biology and Health.

7. BENJAMIN ANDERSON Design and implementation of solar-based microcontroller drip irrigation Agriculture and Physics.

8. MICHAEL OSEI ADU Agronomic biofortication of wildly consumed local solanaceae vegetables for improved dietary intake of potassium (K) Agriculture and Health.

9. MARK OWUSU AMPONSAH Effects of effective learner behaviours on learner academic performance: The case of Junior High School students in Central Region, Ghana. Education.

10. KANKAM BOADU Fidelity of implementation of Senior High Schools curriculum: A survey of selected subject curricula Education

11. ISAAC DADZIE Detention of carbapenem resistance genes circulating among Klebsiella spp Escherichia coli isolates from teaching hospitals in Ghana Genetics and Health.

12. PETER APPIAH-THOMSON Prevalence and determinants of hearing loss among primary school children in selected schools in Cape Coast
Health

13. ANNA HAYFRON - BENJAMIN Improving psychosocial care and support service for adolescent with HIV at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital Health

14. AKUA OPOKUA BRITWUM Women's empowerment for sustainable rural livelihood: voices from selected communities in Ghana Economics / Gender.

15. CAMARA K. OBENG An analysis of Ghana's trade progress in rice, maize and soy value chains Economics.

16. JOSEPH BENJAMIN ARCHIBALD AFFUL Acquiring disciplinary literacies: socio-cognitive analysis of thesis literature review among humanities postgraduate students Education.

17. KWAME AGYEI FRIMPONG Exploiting the interactive effect of biochar and compost as a climate smart option for improved soil quality and cabbage yield Agriculture / Climate.

18. ERNEST KOFI DAVIS An investigation into curriculum delivery in English language, Mathematics and Science at basic schools in Ghana Education

19. EMMANUEL KUSI ACHAMPONG Assessing the quality of health data of new-borns in the Cape Coast Metropolis Health.

20. DORCAS OBIRI-YEBOAH Prevalence, diagnostic options and risk factors for Hepatitis E virus infection among pregnant women in Cape Coast Metropolis of Ghana Health.

21. EMMANUEL KOFI GYIMAH Factors influencing students' choice of study programme at College of Distance Education, University of Cape Coast: Curriculum implications Education.

22. AKWASI KUMI-KYEREME Sexual and Reproductive Health and Leisure Needs of Young People with Disability in Ghana Health.

23. DAVID OSCAR YAWSON Spatial assessment of sustainable feedstock supply to the Komenda Sugar Factory Agriculture.

24. HOPE PIUS NUDZOR Placement and utilisation of IEPA graduates in the Ghanaian economy Education.

To incentivise faculty members who have engaged in recognisable research activities, measured by readership and use of findings, the university instituted a Research Awards scheme. For this year’s (2016-17 academic year) event, nine research awards were put on offer to be competed for. The call attracted 27 applications and seven faculty members emerged winners. The winners are as follows:

No. Category of Research Award Name of Recipient Position

1 Best Evolved Researcher Award (BEdRA) Dr David Oscar Yawson (Department of Soil Science) Winner

2 Prof. Peter Kwapong (Department of Conservation Biology and Entomology) Runner-Up

3 Best Evolving Researcher Award (BERA) Dr Ernest Teye (Department of Crop Science) Winner

4 Dr Samuel Kyei (Department of Optometry) Runner-Up

5 Best Researcher Award (College of Education Sciences) Dr Douglas Darko Agyei (Department of Mathematics and ICT Education) Winner

6 Best Researcher Award (College of Health and Allied Sciences) Dr Samuel Bert Boadi-Kusi (Department of Optometry) Winner

7 Best Researcher Award (College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences) Dr (Ing.) Samuel Kofi Tulashie (Department of Chemistry) Winner

Partnering development stakeholders and policymakers

To achieve the intended result of sharing UCC’s research focus and findings with stakeholders in development, industry players and policymakers, the ceremony witnessed the presence of representatives from the following institutions: Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Cocoa Board, Cape Coast Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Private Sector Practitioners and DANIDA. At the level of academic institutional collaboration, the ceremony was attended by personnel from the Office of Grants and Research of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Consultancy Services of the University for Development Studies, Research and Consultancy Department of the Regional Maritime University, Accra, Centre for Research Innovation and Development of the Takoradi Technical University, and Directorate of Research and Programme Accreditation of the Cape Coast Technical University. In light of the partnership, Mr Emmanuel Kodwo Sackey - Programme Officer of Support to Private Sector Development of DANIDA, Accra - delivered a solidarity message in which he urged researchers to link their activities to the needs of the private sector. He specifically cited the need to use research to discuss business policies with government for improved business enabling environment in the country.

Highlights of research findings

The Evolved Researcher Awardee, Dr David Oscar Yawson, made a presentation on soil security in the water-food nexus. His presentation focused on the urgency to secure soil, both as a primary resource and system supporting life and livelihoods. The presentation showed that securing soils is critical to addressing the many developmental challenges we face, including water scarcity, food insecurity, energy sustainability, disease burden, climate change, biodiversity loss, and poverty. He asserted in his presentation that because soil stocks are not valued as natural capital, they are subject to enormous threats of degradation, including erosion, fertility and carbon loss, salinity, and compaction. These are amplified by land use and management. In the water-food security nexus, the fundamental argument was that soil stores the largest fraction of all rain that falls on land; therefore, securing soils can help capture this large reservoiur of water for food production.

He defined soil security as safeguarding and improving the quality, quantity and functionality of soil stocks from critical and pervasive threats to guarantee sustainable generation of productive goods and ecosystem services. He also provided a framework (which is one of the only two frameworks in the world) for thinking about, assessing and monitoring soil security.
Dr Ernest Teye, winner of the Best Evolving Researcher Award, shared with the participants of the ceremony one of his research endeavours, which has led to the development of non-destructive detection technique to determine quality parameters in cocoa beans. He emphasised that food safety and quality determination were very challenging tasks in Africa, and had resulted in poor monitoring leading to the disputes about food safety and quality among African countries and its trading partners. For African countries to thrive in this regard, Dr Teye called for rapid and accurate analytical methods which do not employ chemical to help in solving food quality and safety concerns in developing countries. Near infrared spectroscopy coupled with chemometric techniques is the solution to the aforementioned and consequently, offers the best option for rapid food safety and quality detection, he stated.