1.1 Kenya’s International Obligations
The National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) is mandated to regulate and assure quality in the science, technology and innovation sector and advise the Government in matters related thereto. In this regard, NACOSTI continues to play its pivotal and central role of promoting, regulating, advising and coordinating all matters pertaining to Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Kenya in line with the STI Act 2013. In particular, STI Act Section 6(1)(a) specifies that the Commission shall develop, in consultation with stakeholders, the priorities in scientific, technological and innovation activities in Kenya in relation to the economic and social policies of the Government, and the country’s international commitments. Accordingly, several conventions relating to STI which Kenya has ratified, form part of the legal and Institutional framework of the country as recognized in the constitution of Kenya 2010 article 2(5). NACOSTI on behalf of the government fulfills such international obligations and commitments in performing her functions as stipulated in the STI Act. One such commitment is recognized when the government of Kenya acceded on 30th July 2010 to the statutes that established International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) along other 66 governments. As a member of ICGEB, Kenya is one of the 13 member states that are eligible to receive support and participate in the groups’ activities. NACOSTI Director General is a governor and a national liaison Officer of ICGEB.
1.2 The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)
ICGEB is an intergovernmental organization established within the United Nations system to provide the developing world with a centre of excellence in research and training in genetic engineering and biotechnology with a specific focus on solving some of the major problems affecting health, nutrition, agriculture and industrial attachment. ICGEB has been in operation since 1983 and has three of its components established in Trietse Italy, New Delhi India and Cape Town in South Africa. ICGEB Board of Governors comprises a representative from each Member State and meets once a year. The Scientific Council includes Nobel laureates, who support scientific activities and makes recommendations to the Board.
2.0 ICGEB Regional Research Centers (RRCs)
At the 22nd session of the ICGEB Board of Governors held in South Africa in 2016 it was decided to explore the interest of Member Countries in establishing ICGEB Regional Research Centers (RRC). An ICGEB RRC is a National Research Centre, or a part thereof, with independent governance, which is shared between the ICGEB and the Member State Government. Its establishment should strictly be guided by the national law of the host. The RRC will contribute to strengthen research skills, knowledge and capacities of the local scientific community while pursuing specific objectives for research, training, and technology transfer to industry, with the goal of promoting development and job creation which would benefit both the hosting country and the region where the RRC is located.
2.1 Main Objectives/Priorities of ICGEB RRCs
The main objectives and priorities of creating an RRC is to:
- Perform research at the highest international standards according to the needs of the hosting country and countries in the same geographical area;
- Enhance international cooperation and recruit scientists at the international level.
- Provide platforms for education and training of the highest international standards
- Promote technology transfer to industry to foster the local biotech industry through the creation of start-ups
- Enhance the capacity of the scientific community in the geographical region in the field of biotechnology.
2.2 Expected Activities
Activities will be agreed upon based on the specific requirements of the host country and/or other countries in the geographical area. All staff and students of the RRC will have access to the ICGEB funding programmes and facilities for advanced experimentation (Genomics, proteomics, High throughput screening, microscopy, and others).
The activities of the RRC will be modeled on those of the ICGEB Component laboratories (in Trieste, New Delhi and Cape Town) and will include:
- Scientific research activities in the various fields of molecular genetics and biotechnology, to be agreed with the Host Country
- Hosting the activity of 5-10 research groups including international scientists. Some of the PIs of these groups might be seconded from existing national Universities or Research Centres others should be recruited internationally. At least some of the RRC research groups should ideally be involved in translational research and, eventually, in technology transfer to the national and regional biotech industry.
Instituting dedicated Fellowship programmes, through which postdoctoral and PhD fellows will be eligible to receive support and participate in the groups’ activities.
Organizing and hosting international meetings, courses and workshops on the topics of greatest relevance to the activities of the RRC, that would attract international experts
Exchange of staff and students to and from the ICGEB Components as required
Provision of technical assistance and know-how to the Hosting country and other regional laboratories
2.3 Support and Funding
The decision to establish an RRC should be evaluated in the context of the science and technology development strategy of each country. Funding for an RRC and its activities will be the responsibility of the country hosting the RRC itself, which should be an ICGEB Member State. Within the region, Kenya is the only member State to ICGEB and is represented in the ICGEB Governing Board by the Director General of the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI).
2.4 Responsible Institutions
2.4.1 Role of the ICGEB
ICGEB is expected to provide technical, operational, and fundraising support to the RRC, while the ultimate financial responsibility for the initiative will lie with the Hosting country. Throughout the process, the ICGEB will lend its brand and provide assurance of quality to the RRC, ensuring full compliance of the RRC activities with international standards in terms of performance and adherence of the best practices. ICGEB will also provide international visibility for the RRC operations by utilizing its own channels of Communication and dissemination. The ICGEB will collaborate by fundraising, organizing activities and sponsoring participation in the activities of scientists from the least developed countries of the region. The details and modalities of ICGEB support and participation will be defined on a case-by-case basis and specified in Agreements. The ICGEB and the ICGEB RRC will remain independent entities and will have separate legal personalities.
2.4.2 Role of the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI).
The Director General, NACOSTI is Kenya’s representative in the Governing Board of ICGEB. Accordingly, the Director General, NACOSTI will spearhead the selection process for a suitable institution to host the ICGEB RRC largely based on ICGEB specified criteria and national priorities. Further, successful institution(s) will be expected to work closely with the Director General, NACOSTI in providing periodic and annual reports to ICGEB and Kenyan publics. It is also expected that successful institutions will make presentations about their RRC when called upon, and submit periodic and annual reports to the Director General, NACOSTI for review and submission to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary in charge of Science and Technology, as required by provisions in the Science, Technology and Innovation Act, (STI Act 2013 (Rev. 2014)). For this purpose, an advisory team of local and/or international experts appointed by the Director General, NACOSTI may
3.0 Expression of Interest/Application To Host An ICGEB-Regional Research Centre (ICGEB RRC)
The Director General, NACOSTI as the national focal point and member of ICGEB Board of Governors, will coordinate the process of identifying a Research Institution/University in Kenya which meets the requirements of an ICGEB Regional Research Centre as described above. To achieve this, NACOSTI is requesting institutions to express interest by making an application to host an ICGEB Regional Research Centre (RRC) based on outlined requirements below. The requirements include a justification on the need of an RRC in Kenya/East African region, possible topics or focus of the proposed RRC, list of supporting agencies, proposed location of the RRC and propose infrastructure, personnel number and composition of research groups, possible topics or priority areas for investigation, relevance of proposed research for Kenya and Eastern Africa Region, expected economic support, time schedule for the implementation of activities, and any other useful information.
3.2 How to Apply
The Director General, NACOSTI will only endorse and forward one (1) selected proposal to ICGEB for consideration.
Successful applicants/institutions will be expected to work closely with the Director General, NACOSTI, who is the ICGEB National Liaison Officer, in providing periodic and annual reports to ICGEB and Kenyan Government/Publics. It is also expected that successful applicants/institutions will make presentations about activities of their RRC when called upon and submit periodic and annual reports to the Director General, NACOSTI as required by provisions in the Science, Technology and Innovation Act, (STI Act 2013 (Rev. 2014)).
For this purpose, an advisory team of local and/or international experts appointed by the Director General, NACOSTI may from time to time undertake inspection visits, monitoring and evaluation of the RDC. The successful RRC will be expected to program and facilitate the aforementioned undertaking taking cognizance of the STI Act.
3.3 Details of selection criteria/components
Indicate why an RRC is need in this particular country and region? Outline possible topics or focus of the proposed RRC taking cognizance of the country’s national priorities, how it will benefit the country and the region. Interested institutions should also clearly explain the relevance of the proposed research for the country and the region.
- BACKGROUND INFO
Indicate supporting agencies (e.g. national governmental, regional government, etc.) who would be able to provide financial support. Further indicate potential links to local academic/research institutes and biotech industry.
- PREMISES OF THE RRC
Each institution should demonstrate that they have the required infrastructure by stating the foreseen location of the RRC and proposed infrastructure to host an indicative number of 8 research groups of 5-8 scientists each. Include the amount of laboratory space and core facilities which could be made available (e.g. microscopy/proteomic platforms which could be accessed or provided). Indicate proposed available office and meeting room facilities, as well services which might be accessed locally – e.g. glassware washing/sterilization, media prep, animal house, etc.
Indicate foreseen number and composition of the research groups (see above for our suggestion for obtaining a sustainable critical mass). Procedures envisaged for PI recruitment should also be included, as well as numbers of support personnel who might also be made available to the RRC (e.g. secretaries/technicians/lab managers/procurement officer).
Include possible topics or priority areas for investigation, which might synergise with already ongoing activities at the RRC location. Fellowships that might be available from other funding sources should also be listed, including meetings and courses that might be supported from other funding sources. Supporting Technology Transfer offices and support for protecting IP and connections with Industry should also be included. Further, include outreach and visibility programmes – locally with possibilities for lay education and links to schools, and demonstrate National and international visibility that might be obtained. Interested Institutions should demonstrate that they can have a dedicated Fellowship programme, post-doctoral and Ph.D fellows where eligible persons will receive support and participate in the groups’ activities. It is envisaged that the RRC would organize and host meetings, courses, and workshops on the topics of most relevance to the activities of the RRC and would bring international experts. This program would be managed in coordination with the Meetings and Workshops programme of the ICGEB on possible topics or priority areas for investigation which might synergise with already ongoing activities at the other RRC location.
- RELEVANCE OF THE PROPOSED RESEARCH FOR THE COUNTRY AND THE REGION
Explain the relevance of the proposed research taking cognizance existing gaps in the region, as well as the National Research Priority Areas, and relevant National Research Consortia.
- ECONOMIC SUPPORT
List and explain the sources of funding to allow establishment of the RRC and its running costs (PI and support staff salaries; running budget/start-up package for PIs/building rental and maintenance/utilities). Include opportunities for PIs to attract external support from granting agencies (private and governmental)/local interested pharma. Provide a Budget plan for 5 years including expenses for personnel (PI, support staff, fellowships), research (consumables and start-up package/new equipment) and support activities.
- TIME SCHEDULE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION
Provide an implementation matrix with clear timelines in terms of activities.
- OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
Provide any other useful information.
Check list for applicants.
Check list according to ICGEB selection criteria for applicants.