CSIR asked to project its impact on economy to make a case for research funding

Fumesua (Ash), Sept. 27, GNA – The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been urged to take steps to show its impact on the national economy to attract the needed funding for research and development.

It should be able to make a strong case backed with empirical evidence to policy makers about its contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as a way of addressing the perennial lack of funding for its research activities.

Dr. Emmanuel Marfo, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Science and Technology who made the call, said budgetary allocations to the various sectors by the Finance Ministry was basically based on “who contributes what to the economy”.

He was speaking at separate meetings with the Internal Management Committees (IMCs) and staff of three institutes of CSIR at Fumesua in the Ashanti region during a working visit by the Select Committee.

The three Institutes visited by the Committee were the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI), Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) and the Crops Research Institute (CRI).

The visit was to acquaint themselves with the activities and challenges of the Institutes and also discuss how best the Committee could make a case for them in parliament.

Dr. Marfo underlined the need for CSIR and other research-based institutions to put together an analysis of their impact on the economy both at the micro and macro levels to influence policies on science, technology and innovations.

“If you are able to show the impact of science on the economy, that will be the beginning of a very serious discussion about financing,” he emphasised.

He also stressed the need for CSIR to communicate the relevance of research and development to those who matter as far as decision-making was concerned.

He said though one per cent of GDP was supposed to be committed to science and technology, the last time he checked, the entire budget of the Ministry of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) was nowhere near that percentage.

Mr. Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi, the ranking Member on the Committee, commended the Institutes for their numerous research works, but said they were not telling the stories for the needed recognition of their immense contributions to national development.

He said the Committee was prepared to front for them in parliament and urged them to regularly bring statements and questions through the Committee.

Science and technology, he noted, was the main force driving the economy but if scientists did not prove their relevance by bringing to fore their contributions to the national economy, their efforts would not be recognised.