Science and Technology refers to processes and activities for the generation of knowledge and information about the material world and their application to the improvement of human welfare. Promotion of scientific knowledge and development of technology create the necessary conditions for socio-economic growth and sustainable development. Solutions for many of the economic, social and environmental challenges require application of science and technology. This makes development of knowledge not only relevant, but also essential to livelihood security and critical to development objectives at the local, national and international levels.
The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 recognizes the development and application of Science Technology and Innovation (ST&I) for national development and prosperity. In its long term development strategy, outlined in Vision 2030, the Government of Kenya envisages a nation that is globally competitive and prosperous with a high quality of life by the year 2030. In pursuit of the vision, Science, Technology and Innovation will be harnessed to stimulate technological and economic transformation that will lead to sustained economic growth of 10 per cent per annum, and social well-being in the next 20 years. Today, developments in science and technology are useful in recycling, water and air purification, sewage treatment, solid waste management, renewable energy, weather forecasting, energy conservation and natural resource management among others.
Kenya has potential to contribute to developing science and technology. However, this potential is inhibited by several factors including: (i) weak policy, legal and institutional framework that fails to provide sufficient incentives to encourage innovation and investment in new ideas that would promote sustainable development through advancement in science and technology; (ii) knowledge gaps thus impeding the ability of citizens to effectively take advantage of opportunities that are available to them; (ii) a consumer base that is pathetic towards locally produced products and lacks crucial knowledge to inform their choices about environmental friendly products and practices.
The draft Policy Framework for Science, Technology and Innovation 2012, notes that Kenya ST&I sector is fragmented, losing on the benefits of synergy and networking; lacks national research agenda and a strong institutional framework; poor linkages between the researchers and industry; inadequate funding, with great over-reliance on external resources; lack of advocacy for ST&I at high political and policy levels; low science culture among the population; relatively low global competitiveness ranking; and weak performance management framework.
This programme is designed to examine the intersection between laws and policies and the wide array of contemporary issues relating to scientific advancement and technological developments that affect the environment.
- To conduct research to inform public policy choices and legislation on issues involving scientific advancements and technological developments that affect the environment.
- To advocate for the development and implementation of robust polices and favourable, transparent and stable regulatory frameworks to stimulate the investments in and the adoption, and use of technologies that will ultimately promote sustainable development.
- To create public awareness on the contemporary issues relating to scientific advancements and technological developments that affect the environment to facilitate informed choices and decisions.
- To encourage and promote local innovation and investment in science and technology as a way of driving economic growth and development
- To promote and enhance efforts towards the harnessing, promotion, understanding, sharing, application and protection of indigenous knowledge and technologies.