The Director of the School of Mechanical and Process Engineering, Prof Reuben O. Marwanga, has been appointed to chair the Kenya National Innovation Agency Board (KNIAB). The appointment letter dated October 26, 2015 was signed by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi. Prof Marwanga becomes the first board chairman in the state agency responsible for promotion, co-ordination and regulation of the progress of science, technology and innovation in the country.
In line with government policies of leveraging innovation, entrepreneurship and self-sustaining economy, the agency, formed through an Act of Parliament in 2013, is expected to assign priority to the development of science, technology and innovation to entrench science, technology and innovation into the national production system. The Innovation Agency is under the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST).
Prof Marwanga will chair a board of nine members appointed by the Education Cabinet Secretary to steer the agency. The Agency will therefore be expected to develop and manage Kenya National Innovation System and thus institutionalize linkages between universities, research institutions, private sector, the government and other sectors. It will equally develop and continuously benchmark national innovation standards based on international best practices and further scout for and nurture innovative ideas from individuals, training institutions, the private sector and similar institutions – establish and regularly update a database on innovation in collaboration with other relevant institutions.
The team will also monitor, forecast and maintain a database of the latest and future global technology; increase awareness of intellectual property rights among investors.Part of the responsibility is to establish and maintain a Presidential or other award system for novel innovations, subject implement the national innovation and commercialization policy.
The innovation institution will create synergies among different technological innovations, incubation initiatives for diffusion of technology in Kenya. Prof. Marwanga who will serve for three years starting October 2015, will provide an overall leadership to the board in areas of policy development, harness the collective skills of the board and its committees and those of the executive team to attain objectives.
He is also expected to ensure that the board is provided with and approves the corporate strategies and business plans and annul budgets among functions of the agency