Rwandan researchers face financial challenges despite the government’s efforts to encourage many to conduct research.
According to a survey by Collaboration for Research Excellence in Africa (CORE Africa), Africa produces less than one per cent of global research output, which is attributed mainly to lack of resources and training.
According to a report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), there is no funds set aside for research in Rwanda.
Data from Rwanda Institute of Statistic indicates that Rwanda’s research and development expenditure between 1996 and 2017 was close to zero.
Elias Ntawuzumunsi, a PhD student at the College of Science and Technology, constituent college of University of Rwanda, says there is a need for setting up a research budget to motivate local scholars.
“We are not being encouraged and motivated financially to do research that could even result in business or generate jobs to many,” Mr Ntawuzumunsi said.
“If the government could help and at least allocate a portion of the budget for researchers, it would encourage many to engage in the fight to raise numbers of researchers.”
He said the University of Rwanda encourages scholars to carry out research and supports them only during the presentation, publication of the academic paper in the international journals and fund the researchers to attend international conferences.
This, he said, is not enough to encourage new researchers. Mr Ntawuzumunsi has conducted research called smart beehive technology that uses a smartphone to control all activities taking place at the beehive from everywhere you are.
“The research cost me over Rwf5 million to reach the level where the university intervened to support and I managed to present it at the internal conference,” said Mr tawuzumunsi, adding, “it is a lot of money to invest for youth out there interested in Research.”
“We also, request the government through universities to ensure that once one has managed to conduct research and reached a certain stage, they qualify to be supported to finalise the project.”