The Graduate Students’ Association of Ghana (GRASAG) has launched the Graduate Research Trust Fund (GRTF) and GRTF portal.
According to the Association, the Fund is to provide access to much needed funds for graduate students in Ghana. The Graduate Research Trust Fund seeks to provide funding for scientific and policy-oriented research aimed at addressing societal challenges in relation to government’s developmental goals.
The main source of funding for this Research Fund is students’ contributions and other benevolent organizations which are interested in promoting graduate research and higher education in Ghana.
The launch which was done under the theme: ‘Research with Impact and Innovation’ brought together graduate students, researchers, research institutions, educators, government officials as well as high profile dignitaries.
Speaking at the launch, the Chairperson for the event, Professor Esi Awuah, revealed that the establishment of the Graduate Research Trust Fund and its subsequent rollout is a welcome addition to Ghana’s educational sector.
She indicated that as the world rapidly advances, it is dependent on developing countries like Ghana to scale up investment in home-grown research in order to not be left behind by the so-called developed countries.
“We cannot sit idle while the so-called developed world develop technologies and sell them to us at exorbitant prices. Why should we sit down for programmes to be written for us to buy to use in managing our data and other information? It is time to wake up, research into matters to develop our country particularly in this artificial intelligence age.”Professor Esi Awuah
Performance of government in investing in research
Prof Awuah bemoaned the failure of successive governments to actively invest in research to meet the national target of supporting local research with at least 1% of national GDP. She noted that unfortunately, governments’ commitment into research to address its own problems is highly limited.
“Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah saw the need for research development and established the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Since then universities have spearheaded research in the country but due to dwindling resources, the support for research has virtually come to a halt.”Professor Esi Awuah
Prof Awuah explained that African countries promised to use at least 1% of their GDP for research but no African country has been able to meet its target. She highlighted that during the pandemic, the support for research in Ghana increased from 0.15% to 0.18 out of the national target of 1% for the year 2021.
“Even that was used in the purchase of PCRs because of Covid-19.”Professor Esi Awuah
Prof Awuah stated that with the introduction of the GRTF, the gap in research funding would finally be filled and would support Ghana to become a force to reckon with in research outputs on the continent and the world at large. She called on all and sundry to support the development of the Fund for the betterment of the country.
“We are appealing to the general public, government, Institutions and AGI to support our research projects to make an impact in our society.”Professor Esi Awuah
The Research Fund is available to all GRASAG-registered dues-paying graduate students from all the various disciplines.