3.1     Policy Goal
3.2     General Policy Objectives
3.3     Specific Policy Objectives

3.4     Cross Cutting Strategies
3.4.1  Institutional Development
3.4.2  Science and Technology Human Resources Development
3.4.3  Technology Development and Transfer
3.4.4  Popularization and Utilisation of Science and Technology
3.4.5  Extension, Diffusion and Commercialization of Technologies
3.4.6  Incentives, Motivation and Use of Local Expertise
3.4.7  Basic and Applied Research
3.4.8  Cooperation, Collaboration and Networking
3.4.9  Role of the Private Sector
3.4.10 Women Participation in the Development and Utilization of Science and Technology
3.4.11 Cultural Requisites for Science and Technology
3.4.12 Intellectual Property Rights
3.4.13 Indigenous Knowledge, Beneficial Rights and Rights of Origin
3.4.14 Biotechnology and Biosafety
3.4.15 International Conventions, Protocols and Agreements
3.4.16 Information and Communication Technology
3.4.17 Competitiveness and Productivity

Policy Goal
The overall goal of the National Science and Technology Policy is to attain sustainable socio-economic development through the development and application of science and technology in order to improve the standard and quality of life of Malawians.

General Policy Objectives
The general policy objectives that will facilitate the achievement of the overall goal are to:

  1. Establish and strengthen national capacity to research, evaluate, select, acquire, adapt, develop, generate, apply, and disseminate technologies;
  2. Develop and raise the national productive capacity and improve competitiveness through the efficient application of technologies;

  3. 3.2.3 Promote and develop traditional, endogenous, new and innovative technologies; and
  4. Create knowledge and S&T awareness to improve and develop the scientific and technological culture of Malawians.

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Specific Policy Objectives
Within the context of the guiding principles; overall policy goal; and the general policy objectives, the specific science and technology objectives shall be to:

  1. Establish a National Commission for Science and Technology as the apex body responsible for the effective management and coordination of an efficient and development-oriented S&T policy and strategy;
  2. Build national capacity for integrating S&T into national development programme planning and implementation;
  3. Improve the allocation and availability of financial, human and physical resources to S&T institutions;
  4. Enhance multidisciplinary R&D programmes through the establishment and strengthening of the multidisciplinary research-oriented R&D institutions and programmes;
  5. Strengthen S&T education at all levels;
  6. Promote sustainable human development through the sound management of the environment;
  7. Promote S&T culture;
  8. Promote the role of information and communication technologies for the development of an information-based society;
  9. Promote the development and application of S&T for economic growth and diversification, competitiveness and employment creation; and
  10. Promote the participation of all Malawians in the development and application of S&T with special emphasis on women, youth and other special interest groups.

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Cross Cutting Strategies

1. Institutional Development
The institutionalization of science and technology has been a problem in Malawi. Currently, however, the Office of the President and Cabinet is, through the National Research Council of Malawi, at the apex of the national institutional structure for science and technology. The National Research Council of Malawi is, according to its constitution, required to provide science and technology advice to Government on all matters relating to scientific research and technological development. This constitution has a weak legal basis. Consequently the Science and Technology advisory function will, under this policy, have a strong legal basis and be based in an executive capacity in the Office of the President and Cabinet. This will constitute a significant restructuring of the science and technology institutional structure in order to strengthen its capacity and will be achieved through the establishment of a National Commission for Science and Technology by legislation. Although R&D institutions will remain under sectoral ministries, they shall have dual reporting responsibilities to their line ministries/departments and the Commission.

2. Science and Technology Human Resources Development
Statistics for S&T human resources in Malawi reveal a low stock of S&T personnel at an estimated figure of 42 R&D professionals per million of population in 1991. This is against the recommended minimum target for African countries of 200 per million of population by the year 1980. Malawi, therefore, needs to make significant strides in improving her stock of S&T human resources. There is a wide range of initiatives already in place to address the shortfall in technical manpower including the re-organisation and strengthening of technical, entrepreneurial and vocational education and training. To this end, Government has adopted a Technical, Vocational, Entrepreneurial Education and Training Policy. In order to achieve these objectives, the following strategies will be adopted:-

  1. Strengthen university education in science and technology and increase and diversify post-graduate training programmes;
  2. Ensure that the universities offer postgraduate studies leading to MScs and PhDs on an on-going basis;
  3. Create institutions constituting an inter-disciplinary bridge between different faculties;
  4. Promote the involvement of professional institutions in the training of S&T human resources while ensuring gender equity;
  5. Promote an integrated, demand-driven, competency based modular technical, entrepreneurial and vocational education and training system;
  6. Monitor gaps between supply of and demand for technically skilled human resources.
  7. Ensure the retention of S&T human resources in Malawi; and
  8. Undertake national surveys of scientific and technological human resources on regular intervals in order to establish the national stock as a basis for developing human resources in all S&T fields.

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3. Technology Development and Transfer
A strategy for technology development and transfer in Malawi will recognize the fact that most of the technology required for national socio-economic development is available in the public domain and may be purchased or acquired through training and other modes of technology transfer. It must also note that Malawi cannot develop without creating an autonomous capacity for the endogenous development and application of technology for socio-economic development. A viable strategy for technology development and transfer will, therefore, involve the designation of a national focal point for technology assessment, monitoring and forecasting of foreign technology in order to promote selective development of endogenous technology. This is essentially the classical make-some-buy-some strategy for the development and transfer of technology and the national focal point will be required to adopt this strategy in its operations.

The specific strategies for the implementation of the make-some-buy-some strategy will be taking action to:

  1. Assess Malawi’s needs and capabilities based on its S&T state- of- the- art and national resource endowment (human, material and institutional) and integrate specific S&T components into socio-economic development planning;
  2. Monitor imported technology by establishing national capability to screen technology agreements, search and select imported technology, negotiate, bargain and acquire the technology; adapt the technology; and assimilate and diffuse the technology; and
  3. Foster selective development of endogenous scientific and technological capacity in order to undertake or promote the assessment of S&T needs and their prioritization;
  4. Promote innovation at the firm level including development of indigenous S&T and introduction of new products and processes and encourage the conduct of R&D and commercialization of the R&D results at the enterprise level;
  5. Promote S&T activities in such areas as design and manufacturing, engineering services; and diffusion of indigenous technologies; and
  6. Provide adequate S&T services such as information, standardization and certification, quality management and venture capital financing.

4. Popularization and Utilisation of Science and Technology
Science and technology institutions in Malawi have in the past taken various initiatives to promote and popularize S&T. The programmes include the mounting of S&T exhibitions at such occasions as the Scientific Revival Day of Africa and African Industrialization Day. The media has made some contributions towards educating the general population on the role of science and technology in development and this will be encouraged. In order to further popularize and promote utilisation of S&T, research and development institutions in Malawi will focus on both mission-oriented and on discipline-oriented R&D. Mission-oriented research focuses on useful science and on ensuring that the results of R&D efforts improve the quality of life of the society in both general and specific terms. For this to be achieved it will be necessary for R&D efforts to be based on demand rather than supply. This is where society, represented by Government, takes a leading role by identifying its needs which R&D should endeavour to meet. To this end Government and industry will promote and support contract research programmes that address identified needs. Contract research programmes put emphasis on the interaction between the internal system of R&D institutions and the external systems, represented by society, politicians; and the economy in general. In addition, the policy will:

  1. Promote increased coverage by the popular media of R&D and S&T activities in Malawi;
  2. Encourage local scientists and technologists to publish results of their research work in local journals whose publication would be supported by Government;
  3. Establish within the context of the Malawi Business Council or other appropriate mechanisms, a National S&T Colloquium which will be presided over by the State President or Vice President; and
  4. Strengthen S&T programmes in the education system

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5. Extension, Diffusion and Commercialization of Technologies
Technology extension services aim at transferring best practices to end-users at a fee or ex-gratia. Recent developments in Malawi point towards the desire by Government to turn research institutions into corporate entities. This will affect the ability of R&D institutions to provide technology extension services which, under the new environment, would have to be paid for by the end-users. Technology is said to have diffused when it is used in production environments similar to that for which it was originally intended. If the technology was imported from abroad, it is considered diffused if local skilled personnel are capable of operating, maintaining and repairing the technology. The process of commercialization of technology consists of a multiplicity of steps covering the areas of idea generation, experimental R&D, technology generation and development, prototyping and technology marketing. R&D personnel are not well equipped to undertake some of these activities thereby requiring the involvement of other players in the process.

In order to promote the extension, diffusion and commercialization of technology, the following strategies will be adopted:-
  1. Promote contracting-out by Government of technology extension, diffusion and commercialization services to local S&T institutions;
  2. Encourage tripartite research designed to bring together the research efforts of R&D institutions, industry and Government;
  3. Provide assistance for project feasibility studies, engineering consultancy and design services; and
  4. Establish venture capital funds to promote the commercialization of technology.

6. Incentives, Motivation and Use of Local Expertise
In recent years, notable improvements have been experienced in the utilisation of local expertise especially in consultancy services. More however, needs to be done to motivate local S&T personnel. Malawi does not have a track record for innovation. Documentation at the Registrar Generals’ Office reveals the non-existence of a patent for an innovation solely emanating from local R&D. Lessons from elsewhere show that in order to promote an innovation culture requires the identification of national development problems requiring new solutions; the existence of an environment conducive to converting new ideas into successful business ventures; and the availability of awards that recognize individual achievements.

Other than the Malawi Award for Scientific and Technological Achievement (MASTA), there are no other awards that promote innovation. In order to ensure that local S&T personnel are provided with adequate incentives and are suitably motivated, mechanisms will be established for identifying; encouraging; and developing special talents and competencies by taking action to:-

  1. Revive the Malawi Award for Scientific and Technological Achievement, and ensure that its range of awards is diversified in order to open it to more recipients and that it is administered annually;
  2. Introduce new awards to complement MASTA such as the Outstanding Invention Award, Outstanding Entrepreneur Award and a Presidential Award in order to promote innovation;
  3. Provide for an administrative system that enables local scientists who develop specific technology applications to benefit directly from such works through payment of royalties;
  4. Encourage and fund participation of S&T personnel in local and international scientific and technological fora
  5. Continue and entrench the use of local personnel in consultancy services;
  6. Encourage young people in the education system to be innovative by increasing their exposure to national development problems and making the science syllabi more relevant to Malawi;
  7. Establish inventors societies based on interest groups in educational and R&D institutions; and
  8. Re-introduce "The Most Innovative Stand" at the Malawi International Trade Fair.

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7. Basic and Applied Research
The so called scientific approach has three stages the first of which is where no agreed scientific theory exists for the discipline concerned and trial and error is permitted. This is followed by a second stage where theory has been developed and agreed upon. The third stage is the finalization stage which, in contrast to the first two stages, allows society to influence the practical application of the theory. The gradual movement from the first stage to the third stage has led to the distinction between basic scientific research and applied technological research. Malawi must carefully balance between basic and applied research. Whatever mix of basic and applied research finally characterizes Malawi’s S&T system, efforts to improve scientific and technological publications will be made since bibliometric publications and citation analysis is one of the most efficient and objective method of evaluating research performance. Strategies to promote basic and applied research will include taking action to:

  1. Enhance stakeholder participation in the identification of areas for technological research and development and planning the implementation of specific R&D programmes;
  2. Develop innovative methods for ensuring adequate funding for R&D activities focusing mainly on technological research without neglecting scientific research;
  3. Promote private sector funding of R&D activities through the provision of specific incentives;
  4. Develop science disciplines in the university system that would lead to the establishment of journals specific to those disciplines such as a Malawi Journal of Chemistry for Chemistry as a science discipline; and
  5. Establish and strengthen professional associations and societies to enhance discipline-oriented R&D.

8. Cooperation, Collaboration and Networking
Cooperation, collaboration and networking at both national and international levels, is essential for successful development and transfer of technologies. International cooperation has the advantage of securing the greater value from expenditure through R&D structures. It reduces unnecessary duplication of efforts and shortens the lead times preceding the operational stage of research. In addition, international cooperation increases credibility of research findings, promotes greater concentration of scientific and technological publications, and makes available skills that do not exist in a given country. At the international level cooperation, collaboration and networking are supported by Governments because of the rapidly increasing cost of R&D endeavours, the limited financial resources and the slow growth of national expenditure devoted to R&D. Extensive cooperation among local scientists using a multi-disciplinary approach, international collaboration through human resources development and networking with the private sector characterized the maize research programme and ensured the success of the program. The situation in Malawi is characterized by low-level cooperation between researchers largely because of the sectoral affiliation of R&D institutions in spite of limited national resources allocated to R&D.

Strategies to promote cooperation, collaboration and networking will include taking action to:

  1. Promote the establishment of professional associations such as the Malawi Academy of Sciences;
  2. Establish a research funding mechanism that fosters and encourages collaboration and networking among local researchers
  3. Evaluate and maximise benefits from Malawi's membership to regional and international groupings that promote coordination and integration in science and technology; and
  4. Encourage the establishment of and strengthen mechanisms that promote collaboration and networking for R&D.

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9. Role of the Private Sector
The private sector has been identified as the engine for economic growth and is responsible for creating demand for S&T programmes and services. Technology, and its judicious application in the productive sector, has the potential of enhancing and accelerating economic growth by, for example, improving productivity and competitiveness. The private sector could also contribute to the development of technological skills by going into contract research arrangements with local S&T institutions in R&D projects aimed at providing specific services to the sector. These services include technology sourcing, transfer, adaptation, assimilation and dissemination. In order to motivate the private sector to play a leading role in creating demand for local S&T services, Government will consider putting in place some fiscal incentives including tax relief. Strategies to promote the participation of the private sector in local S&T development will include taking action to:-

  1. Establish legislation that makes private sector investment in local S&T development tax deductible;
  2. Encourage the private sector to support skills training under TEVETA;
  3. Encourage the private sector to subcontract to local S&T institutions and researchers their technology and research development programmes; and
  4. Invite the private sector to contribute towards the development of S&T policies and strategies so that it influences the application of S&T in national socio-economic development
10. Women Participation in the development and Utilization of Science and Technology
The population census of 1998 indicate that 52% of Malawi's population is female. Despite this statistic, the participation in and utilization of S&T by women has not received the attention it deserves. Not many women are motivated to study S&T subjects at secondary and tertiary levels of the education system. The development and transfer of technology often does not focus on the needs of women. The World Summit for Social Development, however, noted that the participation of women in the labour market and their equal access to employment requires, among other actions, improving women's access to technologies that facilitate their occupational and domestic work, encourage self-support, generate income, transform gender-prescribed roles within the productive process and enable them to move out of stereo-typed, low-paying jobs. Malawi will, therefore, adopt strategies that foster the participation of women in the development and utilisation of science and technology by taking action to:-
  1. Encourage research into all gender differentiation in science and technology education and employment;
  2. Promote access of women to S&T education at all levels;
  3. Foster gender equity in science and technology in education and the workplace;
  4. Facilitate the entry of women into employment in the fields of science and technology and their progress within such employment; and
  5. Foster socially responsible and gender inclusive science and technology.
11. Cultural Requisites for Science and Technology
Malawi’s culture, like elsewhere in Africa is dominated by superstition, traditional ideas and beliefs and low levels of literacy. For example, in the village setting, innovative smallholder farmers who follow modern agricultural practices are often suspected and sometimes accused of using charms in order to attain high yields. This poor S&T culture is a serious impediment to socio-economic development. The ease with which technologies may be imported from abroad enables planners and policy-makers import 'comfort' and pay lip-service to the creation of a science culture among their own people. A cultural revolution is, therefore, a requisite if science and technology is to play its rightful role in changing the poverty situation in Malawi. Strategies for achieving this will include taking action to:
  1. Inculcate science and technology awareness and appreciation at all levels of Government, especially at the policy-making and planning levels,
  2. Elevate S&T awareness and appreciation by including S&T in the educational system through intensifying creative thinking and problem solving skills;
  3. Design syllabi that achieve a balance of S&T, the arts and humanities;
  4. Increase vocational and technical skills content in secondary schools and intensify efforts at increasing S&T competence to acquire, absorb and disseminate S&T knowledge and skills.
  5. Utilize mass media to strengthen public awareness and appreciation of S&T by expanding the S&T content of both the print and electronic media and the training of journalists to improve the standard of S&T journalism; and
  6. Demystify science by producing popular science materials for the young both in print and electronic media.

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12. Intellectual Property Rights
The intellectual property legislation in Malawi comprises the Patents Act, 1958, the Registered Designs Act, 1958; the Trade Marks Act, 1958 and the Copyright Act, 1989. The Patents Act provides for a nationally independent system of patent protection in all fields of technology with a patent term of sixteen years and possible extension. The existing Patents Act and other related acts need to be amended to comply with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (The TRIPS Agreement) that Malawi ratified under the World Trade Organization. The implementation process of the National Science and Technology Policy will follow-up this exercise. In addition, the Trade Description Act, 1987 which deals with the applications of false trade descriptions to goods will also be re-aligned. Patents form an important indicator of the performance of a national R&D system and find systematic use in economic analysis. Patent documents form an important source of technological information essential for project identification and commercialization of technologies. Consequently, this National Science and Technology Policy will promote the use of patents for upgrading technology in the economy with special emphasis on the industrial sector. The strategies for achieving this will include taking action to:

  1. Set up sound and user-friendly patent information services that would readily exploit patents as a source of technological information for the benefit of the economy;
  2. Encourage and follow-up the review of intellectual property legislation in Malawi to make it consistent with international practice;
  3. Encourage the establishment of a Malawi Association of Inventors to enhance interaction between Malawian inventors and inventors in other countries;
  4. Train staff of selected R&D institutions in the use of the international patent classification in general, and the use of patents as sources of technological information, in particular; and
  5. Enhance collaboration with regional and international patent offices.
13. Indigenous Knowledge, Beneficial Rights and Rights of Origin
Although there are conflicts between cultural beliefs and scientific challenges, a lot can be gained from the indigenous knowledge systems and technologies embedded in Malawi’s culture. The indigenous knowledge base in traditional medicine, for example, needs to be understood, preserved, further developed and protected for the benefit of the country. Intellectual Property Rights legislation systems, which cover the body of knowledge that may generally be classified as "Western", are weak at protecting indigenous knowledge because it is owned collectively by extended families, clans and communities and because substantial parts of indigenous knowledge is transmitted orally. This tacit and embedded knowledge needs specialized nurturing and protection. Developments in the fields of broadcasting, cinematography, television and others can easily lead to improper exploitation of the cultural heritage of a nation without due respect to the economic interests of the communities from which it originates. Consequently, this National Science and Technology Policy will provide for the identification, development and protection of the system of indigenous knowledge. The strategies for achieving this will include taking action to:
  1. Commission studies into indigenous knowledge systems in order to identify, isolate and document the knowledge
  2. Promote training in indigenous knowledge systems;
  3. Promote indigenous knowledge which is known and proven through its dissemination and commercialisation;
  4. Establish appropriate incentives that promote the generation and utilisation of indigenous knowledge; and
  5. Develop appropriate legislation that protects the rights of origin of indigenous knowledge systems and national genetic resources.
14. Biotechnology and Biosafety
Biotechnology is revolutionalizing production systems in agriculture and practices in health delivery systems across the globe. Its applications have led to further increases in agricultural productivity and major advances in medical science and technology. Malawi, however, has not taken full advantage of the opportunities offered by biotechnology. Consequently, there has been no special effort to further develop national competencies in this emerging technology through the development of human and institutional capacity beyond the first and second-generation forms of biotechnology such as fermentation and tissue culture, respectively. The establishment of the Biotechnology - Ecology Research and Outreach Consortium (BioEROC) in Zomba is an important entry point for Malawi to adopt third generation forms of biotechnology such as gene marking which has potential in improving productivity in crop and livestock production. Equally important is the action taken by government to develop a legal framework governing biosafety issues in Malawi. In order to promote the development of Malawi’s interests in the field of biotechnology the following strategies will be adopted:
  1. Establish and strengthen centers of excellence in specific areas of biotechnology;
  2. Increase awareness in biotechnology and its potential impact on socio-economic development through demonstration and training centres;
  3. Intensify the development of the human resource capability in biotechnology;
  4. Establish a national programme of action for promotion and adoption of biotechnology;
  5. Establish capacity to monitor and evaluate biosafety issues in the economy; and
  6. Establish programmes of international cooperation in biotechnology.

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15. International Conventions, Protocols and Agreements
Malawi is a signatory to a number of international conventions, protocols and agreements in the field of science and technology. Malawi has also signed bilateral cooperation agreements in science and technology with some countries in the region and beyond. It is therefore important for the country to maximise her benefits from these arrangements. To ensure that Malawi benefits from such international conventions, protocols and agreements in the field of science and technology, the following strategies will be adopted:

  1. Establish national consensus on all international conventions, protocols, and agreements before ratification by consulting expert opinion;
  2. Create national awareness of the international conventions, protocols and agreements in the fields of science and technology which Malawi has already acceded to and those that will be acceded to in the future; and
  3. Establish practical mechanisms to ensure that Malawi benefits from the international conventions, protocols and agreements already in force.

16. Information and Communication Technologies
Information and communication technology involves innovation in microelectronics, computing (hardware and software) telecommunications and optic-electronics –microprocessors, semiconductors, fibre optics. These innovations enable the processing and storage of enormous amounts of information along with rapid dissemination of information through communication networks. Malawi like the rest of the world is living in an age of knowledge and information coupled with opportunities and dangers. Enhancement of capabilities in information and communication technologies can bring affluence to us by increasing efficiency. On the other hand, ICT is widening the digital divide between the information technology haves and have-nots. The whole world must cooperate to close the gap and seek co-prosperity. To that end we must take “globalization of information” a step further to “globalisation of the benefits of information”. We must make effort so that all of humanity can share the benefits of advanced information and communication technologies.

In order to promote the use of information and communication technologies, the following strategies will be adopted:

  1. Encourage and promote the establishment of electronics industries;
  2. Enhance use of such technologies in the social sector through the use of satellite based information exchange systems and remote sensing;
  3. Strengthen national focal points for information and communication technology issues; and
  4. Promote the development and regular review of an information and communication technology policy that would guide developments in the sub-sector.
17. Competitiveness and Productivity
The 1998 Africa Competitiveness Report put Malawi at rank 21 on a 23 point scale of nations based on an average of six indices namely; openness, government, finance, labour, infrastructure and institutions. Although the state of Malawi's physical infrastructure contributed greatly to her low score, the other indices also contributed significantly to making Malawi less competitive. Improvement in national competitiveness depends on higher contribution from total factor productivity. In addition to an optimal mix of capital and labour, other determinants of productivity include education, training and technology. The application of technology in the productive sector is a basis for innovations. In order to improve her competitiveness and productivity, Malawi needs to develop its national system of innovation which, according to international practice, consists of a network of public and private institutions whose activities and interactions enable the generation, importation, assimilation, modification, diffusion and use of economically useful knowledge. The strategies for achieving these objectives will include actions to:
  1. Create fora for interaction between the productive system on the one hand; and the scientific, technological, educational and training systems on the other; to promote productivity and innovation through diffusion and training programmes;
  2. Create fora for interactions between the productive system on the one hand and the financial and administrative systems on the other to provide financial support and regulatory incentives for innovative ventures;
  3. Develop human resources and, establish and strengthen institutional structures that promote productivity and innovation; and
  4. Establish institutional capability for technology monitoring and forecasting at the enterprise level in order to support technology management activities like diagnosis, evaluation and development of enterprise specific strategies and projects.