MKU RECEIVES KSH100M IN RESEARCH GRANTS

Prof. Victoria Wulsin, Chancellor, briefing the research and innovation adminidtrative team after the announcement of the research grant award
Mount Kenya University has received almost $900,000 in research grants. This is the largest amount of money to be given to a private, indigenous university in Kenya.

The grant from Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) totals $ 862,311. Separately, two researchers based at Thika Main Campus have also received a total of Ksh50 million from UKAid and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The TWCF funding is for the Kenya Christian and Scientific Affiliation (KCSA), which was founded at the MKU Directorate of Research and Development to bridge the dichotomy between science and religion.

“By winning this globally competitive grant, we have stamped our authority as one of the best universities in Africa, committed to research in various areas,” said MKU founder Dr. Simon Gicharu who recently led a team to Britain where they met Professor Andrew Briggs of University of Oxford, through whom the proposal was submitted.

In explaining KCSA, Dr. Francis Muregi, Director, R&D says, “Africa is at a three-way crossroads of culture, religion (including Christianity) and modern education (including science), which are often perceived by both scientists and Christians to antagonize each other.”

 Many practitioners of Christianity and science do not view the latter as a God-given resource that can be exploited to help humanity thrive. Some Christians are opposed to the use of modern technology such as new crop production methods: grafting, production of seedless plants and biotechnology. Gene engineering technology has in some instances been entirely dismissed as playing God since biotechnology has been reduced to attempts to clone entire organisms. These Christians therefore discourage the study and practice of biotechnology as a whole. 

Recently in Kenya, a contentious debate on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) led to the ban of such products by the government, a decision in which experts in this area played little or no role. There is need for Christian scientists to be engaged in healthy debates on such issues and explain the role modern technologies, including the role that biotechnology and genetic engineering can play in addressing the challenges of food insecurity, health and environmental conservation. This is achievable through;
  1. Gathering a recognized body of Christian scientists
  2. Creation of forums where issues deemed controversial are deliberated and common statements issued
  3.  Ensuring that Christian scientists receive relevant training that allow them to engage in debates on the tripartite conflicts among Christianity, science and African practices.
Separately, two researchers based at Thika Main Campus have also received a total of Ksh50 million from UKAid and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The TWCF funding is for the Kenya Christian and Scientific Affiliation (KCSA), which was founded at the MKU Directorate of Research and Development to bridge the dichotomy between science and religion.

SOURCE: MKU 
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