The overall winner of the 2012 research award at the recently held Polytechnic Researcher of the Year Awards is Kasper Jensen from the School of Information Technology at the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN).
The event saw various academics from PoN being recognised for their contributions in applied research.
The initiative, in its second year, was meant to open up new avenues of networks and collaboration opportunities in the research industry, particularly in applied research, as pointed out by PoN vice-rector for academic affairs and research, Dr Andrew Niikondo.
Promoting the culture of research and development is an important aspect in the success of any environment. In this respect, Huawei Telecommunications Technologies Namibia spokesperson, Yvonne Hamutenya, stressed that they are committed to backing up research and development (R&D) by building centres for such purposes in various parts of the world.
“We have set up 23 research centres in countries such as Germany, Sweden, the UK, France, Italy, Russia, India and more. Huawei’s R&D expenses have totalled to above N$134b over the last decade,” Hamutenya said.
She added, their partnership with PoN is their way of contributing to Namibia’s economy through knowledge; as it comes through learning and researching.
She urged other institutions of higher learning, corporate companies and the Government to partner in creating awareness of R&D in their organisations and country at large, as this is one of the ways to achieve Vision 2030 goals.
PoN rector Dr Tjama Tjivikua noted, as an educational institution, they have embedded on a research culture. However, they have realised that it cannot be pursued in isolation.
“As an institution of higher education, we are an integral part of the Namibian system of innovation. For the national system of innovation to be able to respond effectively to urgent socio-economic challenges facing the country and to lead to the next phase of economic development into value addition to our primary resources, it is a prerequisite that the necessary legislative and policy frameworks are in place as well as various instruments to drive the system,” he said.
He also pointed out, the policy framework has not yet been adequately addressed in the country. There is still lack of a proper funding framework that designates certain funds for research activities. Besides that, researchers could apply for support of projects on a competitive basis.
Tjivikua thus urged the Government to prioritise introducing these instruments in order to enable the national system of innovation to be effective in finding solutions to challenges of poverty, unemployment and economic development.