Kenya has made strides in shaping the science, technology and innovation (ST&I) sector to fuel the achievement of national development goals. More than ever before, the country is leveraging science, technology and innovation for national development as encapsulated in the Big 4 Agenda. 

This is according to Dr. Moses Rugutt, the Director General of the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI). He explained that the Government had created a favourable environment for the local ST&I sector to unlock its full potential. 

He said this last Tuesday when the Commission launched its newest strategic plan and national research priorities. NACOSTI also received its ISO 9001:2015 certificate from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS). 

Dr. Rugutt said the policy and legal changes that the Government had introduced over the last few  years are positively transforming the ST&I sector. 

He said the establishment of the National Research Fund (NRF) and the Kenya National Innovation Agency (KENIA) are some of the developments that are facilitating the ST&I sector to do well. NACOSTI, he added, works closely with these sister agencies to support the ST&I sector. 

Dr. Rugutt revealed that matters will  get even better after the planned launch of the national ST&I policy next month. 

In 2013, the Science and Technology Act, Cap 250, was repealed with the enactment of the Science, Technology and Innovation Act, 2013. The Act established NACOSTI as a body corporate and successor of the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST). 

Dr. Rugutt said the nation’s new emphasis on innovation besides science and technology informed the transformation of NCST into NACOSTI, which has an expanded mandate. 

The mandate of the Commission is to regulate and assure quality in the science, technology and innovation sector and advise the government on related matters. No institution or individual can undertake research in the country without having first registered with the Commission. 

Dr. Rugutt explained that to steer scientific advancement and technological development in the country, the Commission is guided by a comprehensive Strategic Plan developed through a consultative process. 

He said even the National Research Priorities was developed by NACOSTI with the help of other stakeholders. 

Dr. Rugutt pointed out that NACOSTI’s successful transiting from the ISO 9001:2008 standard to the revised ISO 9001:2015 version will  help it carry out operations in accordance with international standards. This should assure ST&I stakeholders in the country that they will  continue to receive services of the highest quality from the Commission.