An interactive meeting between officials from the University of Ghana, the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the African Academy of Sciences has recently taken place. The meeting which was held at the request of the Chancellor of the University of Ghana was called to deliberate on the promotion of an Annual Science Forum in Ghana.
In her welcome remarks, Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse, Chancellor of the University of Ghana commended participants as the notice for the meeting was very short. She acknowledged the presence of senior scientists and senior management/officials from the institutions present and said she was hopeful the meeting would achieve the desired outcome.
n a brief presentation, Professor Felix Dapare Dakora, President of the African Academy of Sciences, said that science was declining in Ghana and there was therefore the need to promote science especially among the younger generation to help bring about development in the country. The task of promoting science education, he said, involved the private sector, government, universities and related institutions nationally and on the international front. Prof. Dakora also advocated for an alternative approach in funding science research. He argued that a percentage of the revenue from the oil and gas sector, mining sector and the cocoa sector be used to fund science research in Ghana.
Additionally, he called for the creation of a National Research Foundation which he claimed would be pivotal to the development of the country. The role of the Foundation he hinted will be to sensitise the country on the benefits of science through for example, organising science forum, capacity building for post-graduate students especially in the field of arterial intelligence, engineering and computer science and provision of scholarship opportunities for the vital aspect of the economy.
Prof Dakora advocated partnerships, collaborations, and cooperation between countries on the African continent as well as the formation of consortia of academia in specific fields to collectively explore and take advantage of opportunities.
In her address, Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse bemoaned the lack of linkage between scientific research and the needs of Ghanaians. The Chancellor called for solution-driven research and relevant innovations to help solve the needs of the people and make Ghanaians understand the importance of science.
She reiterated the need for cooperation and collaboration among scientific bodies and urged these scientific bodies not to relent in pursuing scientific research and knowledge. She further charged the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana to ensure the ideas that had come up during the meeting are brought into fruition.
Time was allowed for Open Discussions during which a number of suggestions were made. These will be available in the full report of the meeting.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu on speaking of the next steps, accepted the challenge to help form a National Science Forum. He said the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Development, Prof. Francis Dodoo will have oversight of this with inputs from the relevant units of the University and affiliate institutions.
Delivering the closing remarks, Prof. Yaw Twumasi, Chairman of the University of Ghana Council, called for the formation of an independent scientific organisation whose success will not be dependent on the existence of a particular government but will be sustainable based on its own set up and practices. He was thankful to all the participants who had responded to the invitation at short notice, and was hopeful the momentum would be sustained in order to achieve a successful outcome.