NCRST sponsors researchers

WINDHOEK: The National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) on Wednesday awarded grants to researchers at the Polytechnic of Namibia under the Namibia/South Africa Joint Bilateral Collaboration Research Programme.

A media statement issued on the same day by the NCRST – which is responsible for the coordination and development of research, science, technology and innovation in Namibia – said the grants will go towards seven research projects.

It is valued at more than N.dollars 1.3 million, and runs over a period of two years (2013/14 and 2014/15).

The grants were awarded to successful Namibian researchers and scientists in partnership with South African researchers from institutions of higher learning, who submitted research project proposals to the NCRST for funding under the Namibia/South Africa Bilateral Collaboration Research Programme, following a call for proposals.

Alushe Nditya, Manager of Resource Mobilisation and Grant Management at the NCRST was quoted in the statement as saying that a total of 59 applications were received, all of which were subject to a review process to ensure that they had scientific validity, were of good quality and were authentic and innovative.

“Thirty projects were then selected for funding, of which seven researchers are from the Polytechnic of Namibia,” Nditya noted.

The Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia, Professor Tjama Tjivikua thanked the NCRST for availing the research grants to the Polytechnic, saying the Commission is playing a critical role in fostering a stronger culture of research and innovation in the country.

Tjivikua said the purpose of the research calls was to provide opportunities for collaborative research between researchers in the two countries, thereby establishing a foundation for building a critical mass of researchers and scientific capacity for both countries.

The next call for research proposals is expected to take place in 2015.

After the two-year funding period, researchers are expected to provide a report on their findings, detailing the outcomes of the research.

Significant results are expected to trigger further ongoing research or an examination, which in turn is expected to drive the transition of the research results into innovative, technological products, or add value and quality to services.

Research proposals from a number of areas or disciplines are considered for funding.

These are biosciences (with focus on food, agriculture and health technologies); space science (with emphasis on astronomy and earth observation); indigenous knowledge systems; mathematical sciences; mineral resources (with a focus on value-addition); laser sciences; and energy (with an emphasis on renewable energy and efficiency).