National Science and Technology Policy
National Research Strategy and Master Plan.
Databases and Inventories
S & T indicators
Public understanding of Engineering, Science and Technology (PUSET )
Genetic Resources and Indigenous knowledge
Collaboration and Networking
Under this programme the Council formulates, reviews and monitors implementation of Science and Technology policies. Currently the Council has developed a National science and technology policy which was endorsed by Cabinet on 30th August 2002. This policy will be strengthened by an Act of Parliament whose bill will soon be debated in Parliament. The Council is now embarking on the development of an implementation plan. In addition the Council is in the process of formulating a National Biotechnology Policy.
Under this programme, the Council ensures that sectoral S&T activities are executed with an increasingly focused strategy. The Council has conducted training on priority setting for S&T managers on the development of sectoral “Strategies and Master Plans” in demand-driven research and development. This will be followed by the development of sectoral plans that will culminate into a National Research Strategy and Master Plan which will set priorities for S&T. As a first step, the Council in 1999 developed a National Research Master Plan for Agriculture and Natural Resources. The research master plan outlines research strategies and priorities in agriculture and natural resources to meet the challenges of improving productivity in the next decade.
This programme involves the award of competitive research grants to scientists to conduct research in demand-driven and priority areas. To date, the Council has funded 33 demand-driven projects under this programme. These are frequently monitored and results are presented annually. The programme has released up to 16 high impact technologies and, is expected to expand annually with more projects being approved and funded. Currently the Council is reviewing another batch of research proposals with the aim of funding some of them.
The Council coordinates the National Information System (NIS) for the Country. Currently, the Council has developed databases and produced inventories for scientists, research projects and sources of S&T information at national level.
Under this programme the Council collects, analyses and interprets data and statistics for the generation of information required for developing, implementing and monitoring S&T policies for socio-economic development. The information generated include: R&D statistics, Technology balance of payment statistics, Biblimetrics, Patent data, Human resources in R&D, innovation data and new indicators for knowledge-based economics.
The Council has a reference library which is responsible for collection development with special emphasis on environmental, scientific and technological information. The center serves as an S&T reference point for the Council and the stakeholders with mainly printed information resources. Under this programme the Council is also engaged in an exchange programme for publications it produces with a number of local and international institutions/organisation and organises training programmes on information management.
The Council is the Government executing agent for the UNDP funded Sustainable Development Network Programme (SDNP) which aims at providing Internet services at cost sharing basis to Government institutions, NGOs and the private sector to support decision-making and empower the nation for sustainable development.
The Council introduced a number of award schemes aimed at promoting creativity, innovation and excellence in S&T.
The Malawi Award for Scientific and Technological Achievement (MASTA) is given to individuals and institutions in recognition of outstanding scientific performance and in appreciation of the social significance of their achievements in support of the poverty alleviation programme.
The Secondary School Science Competition is an annual competition which was established in 1986 and is targeted at school leavers. Through the competition awards are given to secondary school leavers who achieve high performance in science subjects. Similar awards are given to schools that produce best results in science subjects. The awards are aimed at stimulating interest in and promoting science and technology at an early age.
In addition the Council administers the Innovations for Development in Eastern and Southern Africa (IDESA)-Malawi Awards scheme and the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) prize for young scientists in Malawi. The Innovations for Development in Eastern and Southern Africa (IDESA) is a regional project supported by the Swedish Government through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) under the leadership of the International Foundation for Science (IFS). The project operates in a number of countries within the Eastern and Southern African Region including Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The IDESA Award Scheme was introduced in Malawi in 2002. The mission of IDESA Malawi Award Scheme is to encourage endogenous development of technologies and entrepreneurship for poverty reduction, wealth creation and sustainable development. The main objective of the scheme is to identify, select and reward individuals, groups or institutions exhibiting creativity and entrepreneurial characteristics. Winners in the competition are given cash prizes and certificates.
TWAS Prize for young scientists in Malawi is supported by the Third World
Academy of Sciences based in Trieste, Italy. This prize is given to young
Malawian scientists, researchers and professors of not more than forty years
of age who have made significant contributions to any field of science through
publications in referred journals.
|Public understanding of Engineering, Science and Technology (PUSET)
Under the programme, the Council holds science and technology fairs. The fairs promote the awareness and transfer of the existing technologies. The Council under guidance of the Commonwealth Science Council is implementing the CommQuest project. CommQuest is Pan-Commonwealth project that was established in partnership with Techniquest Britain’s leading Science Discovery Centre. The CommQuest overall goal is to support and enrich the existing provision of science education in the developing countries of the commonwealth. The project also seeks to assist these member states to find innovative ways of improving the public understanding of science by encouraging continuous debate and exchange of knowledge and good practices about interactive science discovery centres using the commonwealth knowledge network. The major springboard of Commquest is the concept of science and Technology Discovery Center. This is a vehicle for promoting PUSET and enhancing informal science and technology education through purposely defined activities. A process is underway to establish a first science and technology discovery centre in Malawi. The Council already has a Commquest taskforce, which is responsible to the Science Competitions Committee of the Council. The taskforce defines and plans activities leading to the realization of the objectives of the Commquest and science centre. The local Malawi Commquest is currently persuading some institutions and ministries to adopt the philosophy of the Commquest and science centres. The Malawi Commquest is a member of the Commquest Network of the East and Southern Africa member states of the Commonwealth.
|Genetic Resources and Indigenous knowledge
The Council is responsible for coordinating issues pertaining to access and collection of genetic resources (valuable plants, animals, and micro-organisms) in Malawi. It is also responsible for ensuring that the country benefits from its indigenous knowledge and genetic resources. As a step towards the realization of the foregoing the Council has developed Procedures and Guidelines For Access And Collection Of Genetic Resources In Malawi and Sample Contractual Agreements Forms. The Council is also in the process of developing a Benefit Sharing Formula, Indigenous Knowledge and Genetic Resources Policy as well as reviewing Intellectual Property legislation.
|Collaboration and Networking
Cooperation, collaboration and networking at both national and international levels is essential for the successful development and transfer of technology. At the national level NRCM has specialist standing technical committees and is a member of several committees in different sectoral institutions. In addition, NRCM periodicall