Professor Mahama Duwiejua, former Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education has asked the universities to work with government to expedite action on establishing a research fund.
He said the Fund allocation should be channelled through science and engineering, health sciences and social and humanities councils.
Prof Duwiejua, who made the request when he addressed the University of Ghana (UG) Doctorate Students Research Conference in Accra, said the current state of research and funding in the country presents a strong case for a national research fund to be established.
He however cautioned that academics and not bureaucrats should be used to determine and approve deserving applicants.
“Government alone cannot be the sole source of funding for research in the country. Universities should therefore look for private funds from business by establishing mutually beneficial relationship. This can be done through their commercialisation and transfer of technology units,” he said.
The conference being organised under the auspices of the Building Stronger Universities (BSU) Phase II project, with funding from Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was on the theme: “Promoting PhD Research Excellence.”
The objective of the BSU is to enhance the capacity of the UG to achieve its objective of transformation into a first-class research university.
The intermediate objective is to strengthen the UG’s institutional capacity to deliver high quality research and PhD Education and Training, a key component of Enhanced Capacity for Communication of Research.
Prof Duwiejua noted that knowledge generation is not only transformational for the individual but a powerful if not the single determinant of economic growth of a nation.
He commended the UG’s vision to be recognised as a research-intensive university.
He explained that universities risk losing relevance in the plans of policy makers if they could not demonstrate their impact on the nation through research and innovation.
He said the universities and research institutions in their pursuit of excellence need to be recognised in the global rankings and should be mindful of their relevance as excellence is not synonymous with relevance.
He was of the view that though cutting-edge research may be expensive, it is worth the investment, adding that wealth creation is driven more by knowledge than natural resource availability.
“Research and innovation secure our futures and universities have the mandate to lead in this process to transform our economy from one dependent on natural products to a knowledge driven economy.
Prof Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana said the university would do well if other universities become part of the process.
He said pockets of excellence should be pooled together to move Ghana forward.
According to him there is the need for dialogue in explaining the benefits of research to the nation so that people could buy into it.
He charged students to achieve academic excellence through initiative, independent thinking, and preparedness to share with others and avoid plagiarism whether done innocently or not.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor in charge of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID), Prof John Gyapong said PhD holders are very few and majority of them end in academia hence the need to generate mechanisms to sponsor and encourage people to pursue PhD courses.