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Problem and Justification

There is evidence that information and communication technologies (ICTs) can positively transform organizations and lead to the socio-economic development of societies. For example, ICTs have been used as tools to increase efficiency and effectiveness and to gain competitive edge at the organizational level as well as at the national level. In Africa in general, there is very little research on the role of ICTs in or their impacts on socio-economic development at the individual, community and national levels. Most of the research is being carried out by researchers outside Africa. There is thus very little human capacity within the region.

In addition, our universities within the region have started Masters and Ph.D. programs in the recent past and they have very limited resources to carry out meaningful research. At the same time, our national governments are using ICTs with the hope that they will make a useful contribution to development efforts, e.g. poverty alleviation or enhancing the governance of governments. There is very little empirical research to show the relationships between ICTs and the various aspects of development that these governments can rely upon.

We therefore require resources from outside the region to support research on ICTs and development. Our proposal is to have the University of Nairobi administer the research grants but the students can be funded from any university in the Eastern and Southern African region. The University of Nairobi has the necessary capacity to administer research grants as demonstrated by the outline below:

a) The vision, mission and core values of the University demonstrate the importance placed upon research activities within the University. The revitalized vision and mission of the University are:

Vision: A world-class university with scholarly excellence
Mission: A leading centre for creation, preservation, integration, transmission and utilization of knowledge as an embodiment of the aspirations of the Kenyan people and the global community

b) The University has over 1,000 on-going research projects. c) The University has 237 operational international collaborations and partnerships in countries in all the continents as shown in Table 1 below:

Table 1: University of Nairobi International Collaborations and Partnerships

Europe & Middle East   North
  Asia Africa   Russia
  Interna-tional orgs  
Australia 2 Canada 18 China 6 Ethiopia 2 Russia 1 Interna-tional
Austria 2 USA 43 India 2 Morocco 1 Ukraine 1    
Belgium 6     Japan 7 Namibia 1        
Britain 23     Korea 2 Nigeria 1        
Denmark 3     Singapore 1 Rwanda 1        
Finland 3     S.
1 S.
France 7         Sudan 1        
Germany 18         Tanzania 3        
Holland 1         Zimbabwe 1        
Italy 5                    
Netherlands 5                    
Norway 4                    
Sweden 1                    
Switzerland 4                    
Israel 3                    
TOTAL  =SUM(ABOVE) 87    =SUM(ABOVE) 61    =SUM(ABOVE) 19    =SUM(ABOVE) 18   2   32

It can be noted that the University has considerable international collaborations and partnerships within the African continent. It also has a significant number of links with Canadian universities. The nature or area of past and present collaboration with Canadian institutions is summarized in Table 2 below:

Table 2: Links with Canadian institutions

Institution Nature/area of
University of Manitoba
research, scientific training, academic staff and student
exchange, improvement of physical facilities in Medical Microbiology
2.      University of Victoria, British Columbia Exchange of researchers and students
3.      Guelph University         Public Health
4.      McGill University Joint research, staff and
student exchange in Geography
5.      Windsor University Exchange of Staff and Students, joint research activities
in Geology
6.      York University Computer Science and Urban & Regional Planning
7.      Western Ontario University Journalism
8.      Lakehead  University,
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Exchange of staff and joint academic
activities in Botany and Forestry
9.      Ottawa University Health sciences
10.  Carleton University Exchange of scholars and students and joint research
programmes in development studies
11.  Toronto University        Medical Microbiology
12.  Toronto University Student exchange in Faculties of Arts and Science
13.  University of Calgary Staff and student
exchange programme
14.  McMaster
Institute of Applied Radiation Sciences
Nuclear Science
15.  IDRC,
Regional Office for Eastern & Southern Africa
Research support grant to convene a national workshop that
will facilitate discussion on the Kenya
growth vision 2030 (School
of Economics)
16.  University of Alberta Joint research, staff and
student exchange in Engineering, Medicine and Nursing
17.  Grant MacEwan College Joint working relationship,
staff and student exchange
18.  St. Xavier
University in Nova Scotia

d) The financial management of research grants awards is done at Grants Office, which is a centralized university-wide section within the Finance Department. The financial Management involves keeping of records relating to research funds received, the proposed budget which form the basis of funding and disbursement of funds and submitting financial reports. All the information relating to grants awards, the financiers, the grants principal investigators, contact persons, budgets and reports are centrally kept at Grants Office of the University.

e) The University has been handling an average of KSh500million (US$7.6m) worth of research grants per year. In this financial year, the university is administering over US$11m research grants.

f) The University policy is to charge 15% as a fee for administration of research grants. There are exceptions. For example, IDRC has been allowed to pay 13% as university overheads.  

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