Higher Education Minister Dr. Brian Mushimba has handed over K500,000 emergency research grants towards 5 proposals for the immediate funding of the county’s Scientific Community to make a contribution towards combating the covid – 19 pandemic.
Dr. Mushimba said the Government constituted a team of experts drawn from various discplines that includes epidemiology, bio-statistics, bio-analytical chemistry to produce a strategic paper on appropriate mitigation interventions against COVID – 19 in Zambia now finalised and being reviewed in the Ministry.
Dr. Mushimba was elated and called upon multidisciplinary eminent scientists and researchers to occupy a critical role to the generation of knowledge and solutions that will help in the prevention and containment of the current outbreak of the COVID – 19 in Zambia.
The Minister urged the teams to ensure that the undertaken proposed research will yield the desires outcomes.
“My advise to Research and Development players is not to go to sleep, as scientists hold the key,” he said.
Dr Mushimba also called on researchers and academicians in the Institutions of higher learning to use academia – brilliance pedagogy atmosphere as right platforms to recognise own local solutions.
He encouraged the key players to also embark on innovations of food security, climate change and other important economic issues.
He recalled that the Copperbelt Univeristy embarking on partnerships developed enhanced information management systems for the Zambia Revenue Authority e-tax online, and Zambia Qualifications Authority E-Certification a clear testimony of local solutions that must be supported.
The proposals by research teams are under thematic areas that comprise diseases transmission dynamics and prevention and control.
Dr. Mushimba said the event (proposed Covid – 19 research) emanates from the earlier combination of discussions and efforts of the Ministry, scientists and researchers to generate knowlegde that will create local solutions for not only the COVID pandemic but cutting accross.
He desclosed that the Ministry has a strategic research fund – of K10 million to support projects that can uplift relevance of research. He further disclosed that Ministry supports the JETS with K2 million funding towards junior scientists.
And out of 57 recieved applications of the solutions to COVID – 19 pandemic research proposals screened by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), 14 emerged successful and 5 approved for immediate funding whilst 9 approved on conditional funding.
The funds were awarded to the University of Zambia, Levy Mwanawasa Medical University and Eden University.