Mr Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi, Ranking Member on Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation has called on research institutions to start quantifying their research work for government to recognize their contributions towards the growth of the economy.
He explained that if research institutions in their narrative can put figures to what they do and the savings the country would make because of their study it would be easy for them to get extra support from their financiers especially the government for their work.
“It is about time we start quantifying research…we start putting figures to what we do so that our financiers which is government would recognize our contribution to the growth of the economy,” he said.
Mr Terlabi said this when members of Parliament’s Select Committee on Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation visited the Food Research Institute (FRI) and Water Research Institute (WRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Accra.
The purpose of the visit was to enable members of the Select Committee familiarize themselves with the operations and activities of the two institutes under the CSIR and to oversight the Ministry of Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the agencies under the ministry.
Mr Terlabi argued that recent economic challenges and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic provided the best opportunity for the government to invest more in science research for the benefit of the country.
“Let us invest more money into science research so that we can come out with new things…because times are changing, we are getting more diseases. Science research is about addition to knowledge, and we cannot cease to acquire knowledge,” he said.
Mr Terlabi also advised the government to stop research organisations from being commercialized, saying that the practice was unhealthy and that the commercial aspects could be separated or taken away from it.
“My fear is that once the government is not giving money to the research institutions and they think the institutions can make some money by commercializing some aspect of their work they would forget about them…the research institutions would be forced to look for more money thereby stifling further research,” he added.
Professor Paul Bosu, Director General of CSIR in his remark stated that the initial mandate of the CSIR was for the public good but the organization was now in transition to blend research, Research and Development (RND) while at the same time trying to commercialize some aspects of its operations.
He disclosed that the CSIR last year developed the Digital Agricultural Innovation Hub where modern technologies for the agricultural value chain were created for businesses to take advantage of.
Professor Charles Tortoe, Director of FRI, in his remark outlined the mission of the institute which is to produce scientific and technological support for the growth of food and agricultural sectors within the country.
He stated that the mandate of the organization was to apply market-oriented research to all the challenges of food processing and preservation, food safety, food marketing and distribution, food utilization and nutrition security, among others.
He touted some of the achievements of institute in terms of creating over 200 post-harvest technologies, 300 preservation post-harvest technologies, providing knowledge transfer to over 1,000 tertiary students, over 100 startups have been created for small and micro businesses across the country.