Cape Coast, Aug. 04, GNA – Professor John Owusu Gyapong, Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), has called for what he termed “a clear national research agenda” in Ghana.
He said there should a functional research funding mechanism and that was what the universities needed to enhance their research enterprise - to make them relevant in informing policy directions but not “book and research allowance”
He was speaking on the topic “Making research a relevant estate of the academic realm” at the third research awards and grants ceremony of the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
“Let’s face it, what we are getting now as book and research allowance has become a salary enhancer but we need better salaries.
Let’s talk about better salaries and teaching aid. Let’s make sure those things exist, but to assume that if I get some GH¢7,000.00, in a year, that will help me do research, let’s not camouflage it, let’s get a good funding mechanism for research.”
Prof Gyapong’s pronouncements come amid threats by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) to go on strike over unpaid book and research allowance.
The situation, according to him, would have been different if a functional research funding mechanism was in place.
He said Ghana could embrace the concept of research councils which countries like the UK and Canada had adopted to fund research.
He asked that the National Research Fund should be made operational with clear guidelines on how to access the money.
Prof Gyapong also reminded the universities to prioritise research - give it more attention.
He underlined the critical role of universities in providing knowledge, innovations and solutions through research, to grow businesses and to also aid policy-makers to tackle development challenges.
He encouraged the UCC to look for funding opportunities and struck strategic partnership with industry to fund its research.
“Funding is key for research - without funding, there will be no research. So we need to ensure that we make use of all the strands.”
Prof Gyapong also highlighted the need for the University to take steps to develop its human resource for research.
“Many researchers are aging, there is the need to develop more capacity in the young ones and ensure that they develop skills for grant writing, scientific writing to publish, and effective communication of research findings, coaching and mentoring for research. These are all essential.”
Prof Samuel Kobina Anim, Director of Directorates of Research, Innovation and Consultancy (DRIC) said the award ceremony was to motivate and honour faculty members who had either shown the potential to engage in impact oriented research or had distinguished themselves in same.
It also provided the platform to share research outcomes and experiences with policy-makers, academics, industrialists and the general public for national socio-economic transformation.
A total of 24 researchers received research grants with Dr Adeladza Kofi Amegah and Dr Florian Carl adjudged the best evolving and best evolved researcher, respectively.