CSIR-Ghana seeks to amend its establishment ACT 521 of 1996

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Science Amendment Csir Ghana
Amendment Csir Ghana
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The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-Ghana), on Wednesday, engaged stakeholders at a workshop to kick start the processes for the amendment the Act 521 of 1996 that established the Council.

The objective of ACT 521 was to re-establish the CSIR to promote, encourage and regulate research and the application of science and technology in development and to provide for related matters.

Professor Mike Osei-Atweneboana, the Director of CSIR-Water Research Institute, welcoming the participants, said the proposed amendment seeks to include the Council’s Biomedical and Pharmaceutical and Public Health Research Institute (CSIR-BPPHRI) and it’s Engineering Research and Development Centre (ERDC} to the ACT.

It would also allow for the change of name of the Institute for Scientific and Technological Information, to CSIR-Electronics, Communication and Information Research Institute (CSIR-ECIRI), which would help prepare Ghana to develop, pilot, and evaluate emerging technological interventions designed to improve human and economic development within complex and low-resource settings “like ours”.

Prof. Osei-Atweneboana explained that the CSIR in response to its challenges, and to maintain its position as a world class Research Institution, introduced a reform process in 2016 called the “Agenda for Transformational Change for CSIR,” which led to the re-alignment of its research activities with a focus on seven thematic areas.

The thematic areas are Food Security and Poverty Reduction; Climate Change Environment Conservation Green and Technology; Material Science Engineering; Energy and Petroleum; Science and People; Electronics and Information Communication Technology; and Biomedical and Public Health.

He said the amendment of the CSIR ACT 521, would enable the Council to obtain full legal backing to establish those two Institutes and change the name of an existing Institute to prosecute the agenda under these thematic areas, to address emerging areas.

The workshop, which was chaired by Mrs Cynthia Asare-Bediako, the Chief Director, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), was an indication of the importance that the Government attached to such developmental issues.

Prof. Victor K. Agyeman, the Director-General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, admitted that after operating for 23 years as the lead governmental institution to implement, co-ordinate and advice on scientific research and development policies, there had been a number of policy challenges that required an amendment to the CSIR Act 521 to address.

He said due to this, the Governing Council for the CSIR, at its 176th Council Meeting, directed the Management to constitute a Committee to review the ACT, which was to be submitted later to Cabinet and Parliament for amendment.

Prof. Agyeman said among the challenges found under the ACT 521, were the large number of Council members that hampered rapid decision making, and expensive to run, and proposed that this be reduced from the current 21 to 13.

Again, the scope of CSIR research and development was found to be too narrow with about 70 per cent of the Council’s spending in 2015, being agriculture-related, while in 2020 about 50, 35, 10, and five percentages of expenditure were allocated for agriculture, industry and natural resources, Service, and health respectively.

He called for investment in emerging and innovative areas of research such as Nano Science, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, for the country to meet global demands and trends.

Prof. Agyeman disclosed that an Amendment Committee had been established with Mrs. Mavis V. A. Amoa, the Director, Legislative Drafting, Ministry of Justice, and Attorney General nominated to serve on the Committee.

He said the Council needed to amend the Long Title to indicate that it had the mandate to establish a graduate school, and two institutes namely: CSIR-Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-ERI) and CSIR-Biomedical Pharmaceutical and Public Health Research Institute (CSIR-BPPHRI).
He encouraged the participants to make further input to help shape the proposed amendments.

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