Academics Discuss Need For Research Fund

professor-ernest-aryeetey1Academics from the University of Ghana (UG)  have reminded the government of its commitment to set aside at least one per cent of its national revenue to fund research activities to generate ideas for evidence-based policy making.

The decision to allocate the one per cent was endorsed by the African Union (AU) member states at one of its recent meetings.
They have, therefore, begun  series of consultation with other stakeholders to  conclude proposal for the establishment of a  Ghana Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (GSSHREC) to among others things , mobilise funding to, support high quality policy relevant research in the country.

The Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS), the Faculty of Social Sciences, in collaboration with the Vice-Chancellor of the  University,  have initiated the consultative meetings  on the concept, to gather ideas and  discuss fund raising options for home grown research.
The Vice Chancellor,  Professor Ernest Aryeetey, lamented at one of the consultative meetings held at the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research in Accra on Tuesday, that the country had not done well in terms of funding for research activities, especially the social sciences.

He  cited experiences  of the  developed countries  that had paid significant attention to research and were reaping the benefits, adding that “we have a situation where our scientists are starved of research funding,” remarking, “how do we mobilise to support funding for research in the country?”
Giving further justification for research, Prof.Samuel Agyei-Mensah, the Dean of Faculty of Social Science of UG, said evidence research was critical to policy formulation, stressing that the government needed evidence-based research to carry out its activities to improve the well-being of the people.

It came to light at the consultative meeting, that, experiences of many industrialised countries and emerging economies have proven that the progress of any nation was significantly tied to its investment in research and development.

Malawi, Uganda, and Tanzania are said to be the only African countries to have upheld the commitment made by the AU member states to increase funding for research to facilitate the socio-economic development of the continent, through evidence-based policy making.
Funding for research activities in the country  continued to be donor- driven because of non-existence of research fund or minimal state support for research activities.

Professor Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey, Director of CSPS, observed that Africa was not registering in the knowledge production enterprise of the world because of lack of commitment to funding of research, saying “Africa is invisible in the research landscape”.
She urged the academia to rethink about the situation and see how best to mobilise efforts towards securing a sustainable research funds to invest into high quality home grown research.

Further research by the AU shows that the continent’s contribution to world of science is a  paltry 1.4 per cent and that of research and development, 0.8 per cent. She observed that the universities relied on their own internal generated funds for their research work with ad hoc support from international Non-government organisations.

Prof. Bortei-Doku Aryeetey was optimistic that a research council “will ultimately give us assurance of funding to conduct locally grown research”.  – Salifu Abdul-Rahaman   

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