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Speaking at the 5th Annual Public Lecture at Machakos University on 21st October 2022, Prof. Emeritus Ratemo W. Michieka challenged Universities and Research Institutions to come up with solutions to assist the nation and its citizens to solve current and emerging problems to accomplish the country’s socioeconomic needs based on the priority areas in   Vision 2030, AU Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals. He said it is expected that these institutions should be at the forefront to come up with solutions to address various societal problems through Science, Technology and Innovations. He pointed out that societies face various forms of socio-economic problems such as hunger, diseases, environment degradation, global warming and climate change and water scarcity, that wreak havoc and disrupt businesses, education, and development of society. He lamented that these problems take a toll on the world’s development especially in developing nations, causing serious adverse impact on governments and their citizens.

However, he noted that all is not lost as Science, Technology and Innovation can play a significant role in addressing the various challenges. This can be done based on research in the Universities and other Research Institutions through funding from various funding agencies such astheNational Research Fund in order to promote scientific research and innovation to address socio-economic challenges of development.

Prof. Ratemo W. Michieka, the former Vice-Chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) reckoned that Universities are composed of scientists and researchers who are members of National Academies, National Research Councils, and Science, Technology and Innovation Institutions, that contribute towards solving environmental, health, and other problems that face society. He hence, he observed there is no excuse for not solving the various societal problems. He said academic staff in the Universities are the crème de la crème of Kenya who should come up with solutions to help in addressing the challenges facing society. He suggested that each University should identify and prioritize research on issues specific to their geographical location. For example,  Machakos University can focus on hunger, poverty, disease prevention, environment, exploration of rare minerals, indigenous knowledge and diminishing of fauna and flora. The University should develop and focus on her niche and strive to create a brand and visibility through its various activities and programmes.

Present at the Public Lecture included the University’s Chairman of Council Dr. Christopher G. Gakahu and Dr. Zipporah Mutea, a council member. The public lecture was officially opened by the Ag. Vice Chancellor who is also the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Innovation and Linkages, Prof. Peter Mwita. The Ag. ViceChancellor appreciated all members of staff, students and other stakeholders who attended the Public Lecture and noted that  the lessons from the lecture will go a long way to enhance the activities and programmes in the University.

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