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MMUST-SSRC Conduct Outreach Programme in an Effort to Acquaint Postgraduate Students With Grant Opportunities

“This Workshop provides a forum for us to discuss key issues that will strengthen the University in the area of research. It is a vote of confidence in the capability and capacity of MMUST to take the lead in research, not only in the country but also the entire region,” read the Vice Chancellor’s speech. The VC,, was represented by the Dean School of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS),

In the speech, Prof. Shibairo urged institutions and researchers to prioritize the sidelined area of social sciences research at the postgraduate level. “Sharing insights on how to write fundable proposals will not only develop this neglected area but will also greatly enhance multi- disciplinary research which calls for partnerships and joint effort in research,” he said.

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A section of participants during the Workshop.

The Director Curriculum Review and Development, Prof. Judah Ndiku, who was representing the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and Students Affairs), Prof. Hussein Golicha, appreciated SSRC’s efforts to acquaint the MMUST community with its grant opportunities. “As a University, we don’t take this opportunity for granted. I commend SSRC for believing in us and for supporting our postgraduate students,” said Prof. Ndiku.

“The fact that SSRC has volunteered to equip students with skills that will enhance their research capacity means a lot to us,” stated the Director of Postgraduate Studies (DPS), Prof. Stephen Odebero, adding that scholars should continuously engage in research for the growth of the country. Further, Prof. Odebero mentioned that the University, through his Directorate, is developing a policy which will require postgraduate students to pay a fee for every year outside of their completion period. “Low completion rates are affecting the supervision process as students are holding supervisors,” he stated.

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A section of MMUST staff during the Workshop. From left; Prof. Stephen Odebero, Prof. Pontian Okoth, Prof. Judah Ndiku and Dr. Rose Auma.

Prof.  Pontian Okoth, who was standing in for the Chairman Board of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. J. O. Shiundu, applauded SSRC for funding social sciences. “SSRC comes in very handy mainly because funding organizations have resulted to funding science-based programmes,” said Prof. Okoth. He also pointed out that funding for postgraduate studies in MMUST and other public universities is very low. “Research funding continues to be a private affair in many universities, yet it is an integral part of enhancing the quality of education,” he added.

Dr. Duncan Omanga, program officer for APN and NextGen, reiterated that research is very expensive especially for PhD studies. Dr. Omanga encouraged postgraduate students to be aggressive in terms of seeking for funding, saying that scholars that have been funded before are more likely to be funded again. “While applying for funding, is very important that you consider diversity with regard to gender, age, countries or disciplines. Grant writing is a very competitive process and therefore you should put in your best,” he said. He also advised researchers to rework rejected proposals before submitting them to other Calls.

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Dr. Duncan Omanga gives his presentation during the MMUST-SSRC Workshop.

The Chairperson of the advisory and selections board at NextGen, Dr. Steve Ouma Akoth, enlightened the Workshop participants on the methods used to gauge fellows. He emphasized on the need to carry out quality research in order to revolutionize the world, more so Africa.

It is worth noting that MMUST is one of the eight (8) Kenyan Universities where NextGen has awarded fellowships. While giving a testimonial, MMUST’s PhD student, Mr. Graham Amakanji, revealed that he was awarded about Kshs. 1.5 million to undertake his research in the Mt. Elgon region. Courtesy of this fellowship, he has had the opportunity to attend international research Workshops. Similarly, Mr. Moses Adama Osiro, a PhD student and assistant lecturer in the MMUST’s Department of Criminology and Social Work, said that the highlight of his fellowship has been marked by the opportunity to pitch his ideas in many international platforms as well as having access to resources.

By Mary Wangari Wambugu
Photos by Wilberforce Shiundu and Verna Awuor


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