Research Directorate ever ready to be a catalyst, says Dr Simon

Research Directorate as usual this year too, will roll out scores of demand-driven and problem-solving projects with 2.3% of total budget (ETB 18,340,800) in its kitty. And the involvement of over academic staff compared to last year’s (38.8%) will go up, said the Director, Dr Simon Shibru.

It’s learnt that last year’s budget allocation for the directorate was over ETB 13 Million, 1.9% of total budget, could achieve 93.1% of intended objectives. And this time budget is up by 38.5% and expected to have over 65 new projects compared to last year’s 61 completed one.

On grey areas, he adds, we had better achievements in agriculture, natural, medicine & health sciences, but water and engineering sectors have to show promise. In the areas of technological innovation and adaptation, last year, we couldn’t make a mark, however, it has been satisfactory for being in line with strategic plan, he exclaimed.

Adding further, he said, this year, something tangible can be expected to be transferred to the community. We especially, Research, Community Service and University-Industry Linkage and Technology Transfer directorates can break the jinx by making a breakthrough.

On this year’s salient feature of Research Directorate’s plan, he said, apart from routine affairs, we made it sure that everyone is engaged so that an enabling environment is created for the staff.

Elaborating further, he adds, actually, policy formulated by education ministry advocates for applied research, but, I am of view that 25% allocation must go to basic research in addressing community’s issues. Now, researchers can get into any areas despite their niche to make the difference, he said.

Stating statistics, he said, Gircha Highland Fruits and Vegetable Research Centre gets ETB 767,594, Natural Science ETB 1,278,321, Agriculture ETB 1,187,287, Medicine and Health Sciences ETB 1,127,691, Technology Institute takes the highest chunk of ETB 1,830,055, while the least amount of ETB 370,042 goes to South Omo Research Centre.

On research staff involvement, he said, last year, we have had 38.8% involvement of staff wherein 358 staff, of which 340 were male and 18 females. Expressing his satisfaction, he said, there should always be dynamism; infrastructure needs to be strengthened and structure must get refined with every passing year.

On novelty in Annual Plan, he said, if you perform planned activities it can be termed as an achievement. The launching of Research Database and launching of Omo Journal of Sciences have been unique.

Exemplifying further, he said, our budget and plan is progressive and we are aiming to acquire 5% of total budget by the end of two years of Strategic Plan and expect over 50% academic staff to partake in research. Our seven research centres should emerge stronger; they must be properly staffed with qualified professionals and adequately budgeted.

He rues that four centers of excellence i.e. Water Research Resource Centre, Biodiversity and Cultural Diversity Research Centre, Collaborative Research and Training Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease and Entrepreneurship Development Centre are yet to make mark; but, in future, we hope everything to fall in places.

Driving his point home, he adds, we are the first generation university, and in the long run, there will be quite fierce competition, wherein qualified research will hold the sway. Therefore, we must make proper use of budget and available opportunities to make the difference.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)