Cabinet has approved the increase in funding for scientific research from 0.25 per cent to one per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng who disclosed said a bill to that effect has been laid before Parliament awaiting approval to bring the proposal into fruition.
“I hope and pray that we push this one per cent of GDP in the shortest possible time for research purposes in the country,” he stated.
The Minister was delivering a keynote address at the opening of a two-day scientific research conference to climax the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) in Accra yesterday.
The conference to highlight the achievements, challenges and future direction of the institute is on the theme; “Noguchi at 40; Sustaining Global Health Gains through Partnerships in Biomedical Research.”
It convened distinguished scientists and researchers from the institute and other major health related institutions both home and abroad as well as development partners, civil society, corporate entities and academia.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said, government in the long term hoped to increase the funds to 2.5 per cent of GDP adding that a “minimum of 67 per cent of the Research and Development Fund (R&D) in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) will be paid into a National STI Fund to support the development of the nation’s STI system.”
The fund he pointed out “will be an autonomous body with oversight responsibility by the Ministry and will among others develop and strengthen research culture in Ghana and provide attractive incentives to both the research community and industry to foster the promotion of STI for national development.”
The Minister mentioned plans to set up a High Performance Computing Centre (HPPC) in the country on which research database and information could be shared among industry players as the Ministry leverages on the newly launched Ghana Innovation and Research Commercialisation Centre (GIRC-Center) to advance scientific research.
“It is the strategic platform that MESTI is creating to facilitate an active, ongoing engagement among stakeholders to provide guidance and support services that will help researchers and innovators to avoid the pitfalls associated with the processes of commercialisation,” he stated.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng was certain the modern world economy is driven by science and technology hence expressing government’s unrelenting commitment to the area while challenging Noguchi not to rest on its oars in unravelling public health problems.
Director of NMIMR, Professor Abraham K. Anang, indicated that the institute had kept true to its mandate to among others conduct research into infectious and non-infectious diseases and building the capacity of the next generation in that direction in the last 40 years.
He said moving into the future, Noguchi has “identified the strength in innovative strategic partnerships and this is our thrust for the future.”
“The institute stands to benefit from new ideas, initiative and innovation to drive it into the future and set it aside as a true leader in the world of biomedical research and attainment of global health security,” Prof. Anang stated.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH