NACOSTI sets new rules for researchers
National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) is planning to come up with a new database for researchers. They will be registering researchers in the country to help the Commission in advising the government effectively. The proposed guidelines are contained in a document titled National Guidelines for Registration, Licensing, and Regulation of Researchers in Kenya of May 2021. The Commission intends to know the total number of researchers in the country and their field of specialization through the database which will be the first to be established.
Apart from registering researchers, the guidelines also set requirements to be met before being registered as a researcher. The move is expected to uphold the standards of research in the country and secure public confidence in national research systems. In a letter dated May 24, 2021 to all University Vice-Chancellors, Principals of Constituent Colleges and other middle level colleges and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of various Research Institutions, the Commission has given them up to June 30, 2021 to give their input and comments regarding the proposed guidelines. It is proposed that there will be two levels of researcher registration and licensing which will be Researcher and Graduate or Junior Researcher whose the minimum qualifications will be a Master’s or a PhD degree in a relevant field.
“The Master’s or PhD degree should have been acquired either through research only or through research and coursework at a recognized university,” the report says. The proposed guidelines also says a one-year executive master’s degree is not a qualification for a researcher. In addition, the guidelines among other requirements propose that one should have undertaken research for at least five (5) years since attaining master’s or PhD degree to be eligible for registration as a researcher.
The minimum academic and research qualifications relevant for Graduate or Junior Researcher are a bachelor’s degree or a diploma from a recognize institution. Those undertaking a relevant Master’s or Bachelor’s degree or a Diploma in a recognized institution also qualify. However, the Commission states that the registration status, both as a Researcher and Graduate or Junior Researcher will be valid for a three-year period after which a request for renewal shall be made for consideration. “Registration and licensing of a researcher is a mark of quality, professionalism, reliability, and competence, and further commits the researcher to adhere to standards of integrity and professional development,” reads the document in part.
The Commission has not stipulated the required amount to be paid during registration in the proposed guidelines but states that “applicants will be required to pay a non-refundable registration fee as shall be determined and communicated by NACOSTI from time to time.” Currently, the Commission charges a registration fee of Sh2,000 for registration as a researcher and Sh1, 000 for registration as Graduate or Junior Researcher which is payable once in every three years.
The registration process will be carried online through the Kenya National Research Information System (KENRIS) after a final document is adopted. Applicants will be required to upload their academic testimonials, CV and their profile photo details which will appear in their registration certificates. Already the University of Nairobi (UoN) through the office of the Deputy Vice-chancellor Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) has asked its staff to forward their input and comments on the proposed guidelines by June 15, 2021in a memo dated May 28, 2021. Some of the research institutions expected to give input and comments on the NACOSTI proposals include Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI). Others are National Museums of Kenya (NMK), British Institute in Eastern Africa, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) among others.