The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) has today awarded research grants worth three million shillings to a consortium of four universities to spur their research in space science in a bid to nurture Kenya’s potential in the space sector in an event graced by the Defence Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed.
The University of Nairobi (UoN), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenyatta University (JKUAT) and Technical University of Kenya were given the grant towards the development of a 3U Nanosatellite.
Additionally, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Taita Taveta University, Egerton University, JKUAT and UoN received Ksh. 500,000 each for research in small-scale crop mapping using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The ceremony was themed ‘Catalyzing Research in Space Science and Technology.
In his speech, the PS said the Research Grants are an investment in Kenya’s future and called upon partners to match this initiative or offer support in kind towards furthering space-related research, innovation and investment in the industry.
“The award of the 3U satellite design to a consortium of our public institutions of higher learning is deliberate. In a fast-evolving field like the Space Sector that finds applications in a wide spectrum of human activity and development, great strides can only be made through collaborative effort of a multi-disciplinary of specialties and institutions.” Dr. Mohamed said.
The KSA Chairperson of the Board of Directors Major General (Rtd) James Aruasa said the Agency is working with international partners and universities adding that higher institutions of learning are pivotal in this journey as they are the factories of talent, expertise and research.
KSA Acting Director-General Colonel Hillary Kipkosgey mentioned they are set to launch Space Clubs in Primary Schools to promote interests among the youngsters in the next financial year and Secondary schools to follow later. He also stated that in supporting research and development in order to nurture R&D in space science and technology, the Agency has committed to allocate more than 10% of its budget to R&D.
The Research Grant programme aims to catalyse and promote research in Space Science and Technology at Kenya’s local universities, as well as build the technical capacity in these disciplines. The programme also intends to contribute towards Kenya’s socio-economic development by building linkages between academia and the industry.