BY ORTON KIISHWEKO
THE Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) has gone digital in managing research registration, proposal submission and review for researchers who apply for grants from the institution.
The Commission’s Director of Social Sciences, Dr Francis Mwaijande said at the review of the National Research Information System that in order to effectively coordinate research and related activities, the developed platform will be useful for research clearance and management.
“We need to make sure we have credible research database in the country. To have this, we had to establish a group of reviewers from which we expect high performance when coming to reviewing the research proposals.
We hope that this online tool will help simplify the process,” he added. In the last five years, the government has been committing 1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yearly to research and development.
Dr Mwaijande noted that it was part of fulfilling the COSTECH mandate which is to coordinate and promote research and technology development activities in the country.
Giving the overview of the research management system, the Commission’s Director of Life Sciences, Dr Flora Tibazarwa said that initially, the call for proposals was done in an analogy format but moved to an online submission, review and management in order to reduce time, risks, cost and also save the environment.
Dr Tibazarwa acknowledged universities and R&D institutions for agreeing to share information and resources so that research activities are carried in a scientific way.
She also said that the research database will help the Commission to point areas that need to be leveraged at the same time exposes She added, ”Some of our researchers are doing great things but they are hidden. The database will tell who is doing what and also expose what research infrastructure is available and where.”Apart from establishing an online system, COSTECH was challenged to seek for more research funds rather than depending the ones from the government.
In response, Dr Nicolas Nyange, the then Acting Director of Research Coordination and Promotion pointed out that COSTECH has since tried to solicit research funds from other sources, including Tanzania, Sweden and Netherlands (TASENE), a network that aims at enhancing scientific excellence and strengthening research collaboration between Europe and Africa, on the basis of equality in research support and research management for post-doctoral programmes.
Dr Nyange also mentioned that in collaboration with the South Africa’s Research Africa, COSTECH has highly ventured its strength to solicit funding opportunities from various STI sectors and avail them to Tanzanian researchers and scientists who wish to apply on competitiveness basis.
The training was a reaction towards last year’s call for proposals that the COSTECH advertised. Having reviewed some of the proposals, a team of consultants recommended capacity building to Tanzanian researchers and scientists so that they can be shown where things went wrong, hence be able to write the best proposals that can attract funds from within and outside the country.