A delegation from the Nottingham Trent University (NTU), the State Department for Higher Education and Research and the Centre for Ecosystem Restoration of Kenya (CER_K) paid a courtesy visit to the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation on 25th  January 2024 at the Commission’s headquarters. This delegation consisted of Mr. Darius Ogutu, the Director, Higher Education in the Ministry of Education,  Prof. Neil Mansfield and Prof. Stephen Williams from Nottingham Trent University, and Mr. Victor Otieno, the seed manager at the CER-K Highland hub. NACOSTI team was represented by Dr. David Ngigi, Mr. Denis Yegon, Ms. Joan Chepleting, Ms. Rael Adhiambo, and Mr. Phelix Awour.

The meeting was initiated by Dr. Ngigi welcoming the delegation to NACOSTI on behalf of the Director General, Prof. Walter Oyawa. He outlined the key NACOSTI functions as outlined in the STI Act i.e. regulation and quality assurance in the  Science, Technology and Innovation sector, coordination of STI stakeholders and processes, promotion of STI activities in the country and provision of advisories to ensure that research informs policymaking in the country.

Mr. Ogutu highlighted the need for the team to provide a progress report of their activities as a follow-up to the meeting that was previously held at the NACOSTI headquarters with the CER_K and NTU, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and Mount Kenya University (MKU). He outlined that the visit by the NTU team builds upon the initiatives being carried out by The Ministry of Education to strengthen collaborations and partnerships between researchers in Kenya and the UK. He therefore highlighted that the existing collaborations between NTU and other research institutions in Kenya were highly welcomed and would be fully supported by both the directorate of higher education and NACOSTI. He also highlighted the need to fast-track the research accreditation processes for CER-K as per the deliberation of the previous meeting.

Mr. Otieno expressed his institution’s gratitude to the Directorate of Higher Education and NACOSTI for their support in the establishment of the CER-K coastal hub. He highlighted the importance of supporting Kenya’s restoration efforts with scientific data and the application of traditional knowledge, which have largely necessitated their interest in being registered as a research institution. Highlighted that CER-K Kenya was finalizing the establishment of their Savannah hub in partnership with Maasai Mara University, which comprised 520 combined acres of land under restoration, with over 35 indigenous tree species represented. Combined, the three CER-K hubs were running several restoration projects with their partners, which facilitated several student exchanges and research outputs.

Prof. Williams and Prof. Neil Mansfield pointed out that their visit to NACOSTI was necessitated by their institution’s need to understand the licensing and registration processes in the country. They also mentioned that the university was in the process of establishing a physical office to spearhead research on ecosystem restoration.

From the deliberations, it was agreed that CER-K will initiate the registration of their research center with NACOSTI. In turn, NACOSTI will organize a visit to CER-K to gain an in-depth understanding of their initiatives. Lastly, it was agreed that the teams will reconvene again in April 2024 to share on the progress.