The NRCM has a Governing Council chaired by the Secretary to the President and Cabinet. It is comprised of members of the academia, parastatals and the private sector.


The Council has a full time Secretariat comprising a Principal Secretary and a team of specialists and support staff. Currently, the following divisions exists in the Schedule of Established Offices for NRCM:


The NRCM has the following technical standing committees:

  1. Agricultural Science Committee
  2. The terms of reference for the committee are:

    1. Foster the development of Agricultural research policy for Malawi, prepare and periodically update a National Agricultural Research Master Plan (NARMP) which would establish the priorities of commodity/factor research programmes and allocation of total resources (including funding provided by donors);
    2. Review and rank proposed Research Action Plans (Comprising crop and animal husbandry; agroforestry, soil water and natural resources management; farm machinery, plant protection and other related subjects) as to their conformity with the priorities established in the NARMP;
    3. Advise government on an appropriate allocation of and accountability for public resources (human and finance) and accounting practice to ensure the effective implementation of the priority Research Action Plans;
    4. Identify problems and constraints in agricultural sciences research, determining their significance and making recommendations for their solution;
    5. Ensure the provision of sufficient and effective support services, including soil, plant, feed and water analysis, pest and disease identification; agro-meteorology; seed services, etc, for Agricultural research and the farming community;
    6. Oversee, monitoring and evaluation system of research programmes that will ensure that priority problems are being tackled effectively with the production of the targeted output;
    7. Ensure that all agricultural research conducted in Malawi is documented in a timely fashion in order to facilitate collaboration among researchers and minimize the duplication of efforts;
    8. Promote collaboration between scientists involved with the implementation of national, regional and international agricultural research programmes; and organise occasional scientific for a, such as workshops or symposia, for the scientific and academic communities.

  3. Committee on Scientific and Industrial Research and Development
  4. The terms of reference for the committee are:

    1. To identify critical areas of national economic importance towards which R & D efforts should be directed in order to promote industrial activities as well as facilitate the adaptation of imported technologies for local use;
    2. To identify the pool of personnel that have the capability to understand the existing innovation system and inventions that work well and are readily adapted to local conditions, (copy them and in the process improve on them i.e. encourage reverse engineering) in the identified critical areas of national economic importance;
    3. To screen inventions and innovations, both local and foreign, that have local application and pass them to local developers;
    4. To define the relationship between technology imports and the endogenous development of technology sector by sector;
    5. To formulate programmes concentrated on the generation of R & D and adaptation of technologies, particularly in areas of critical importance for the economic and social development of the country;
    6. To identify projects that can be undertaken to develop local expetise in industrial production with a view to increasing Malawi’s share of the world manufacturing value-added (WMVA);
    7. To recommend to the NRCM proposals and guidelines on the creation of a favourable financial climate to encourage the provision of funds (be they risk funds or otherwise) for pilot plants as well as the industrial development of viable and relevant results;
    8. To recommend draft legislation to the NRCM that would promote the efforts of local scientists by encouraging private sector support for local scientists and local R & D efforts through tax rebates and other incentives;
    9. To recommend achievable plans whose progress shall be reviewed at short intervals to avoid wastage. Areas to the considered will include but not limited to the following:
      1. Local manufacture of spare parts and accessories for existing industries and local production of the second generation of any industry established in this country;
      2. Design and production of practical low-cost transport such as three – wheel motor cycles; the use of such units, depending on varying capacity, would include passenger transport, dragging ox-carts, drawing ploughs and transport for farm inputs as well as outputs in remote areas where access by conventional transport proves difficult;
      3. Recycling of expensive raw materials such as steel and copper products for projects in ( C ) (i) above
      4. Research in converting otherwise waste matter from production processes into usable and exportable finished goods; items to be considered are molasses from cane sugar, maize stalks, tobacco stalks after processing, cotton, waste engine, industrial oils, etc;
      5. Production of basic electric appliances such as fridges, cookers, heaters and fans;
      6. Production of accessories which are produced using high percentage of raw materials that can be obtained locally; e.g. fan belts for automobiles, rubber products, plastic products, wooden products;
      7. The determination and creation of production capacity of products which would make exploration of Malawi’s mineral resources viable; e.g. commercial manufacture of glass products or aluminum engine construction could no doubt make bauxite mining very lucrative;
    10. To devise an implementation strategy for any project that will be approved, establishing set procedures to ensure that prototypes prove at least 80 percent successful in order to avoid wastage;
    11. To promote the creation of market mechanisms to articulate the resultant technological products and services to the consumer in and outside the country;
    12. To encourage the training of technicians to maintain plant and machinery;
    13. To put in place systems to monitor the performance of particular equipment and machinery and establish infrastructures for maintenance.

  5. Genetic Resources and Biotechnology Committee
  6. The terms of reference for the committee are:

    1. Institute measures harmonious with relevant guidelines available in the country to ensure that collection of Malawi’s genetic materials does not lead to loss of Biological Diversity and / or Government revenue;
    2. Ensure that the importation of genetic resources (including genetically modified living organisms) and germplasm does not adversely affect the conservation and sustainable use of Biological Diversity;
    3. Ensure that exchange of genetic resources and germplasm is done in such a way that Malawi benefit economically from whatever is exported;
    4. Encourage the establishment of gene banks and genetic data banks (in-situ and ex-situ) and formation of strong linkages with the banks including the SADC gene Bank;
    5. Advise the government on which of the country’s genetic materials should be protected against detrimental use by researchers, collectors and traders;
    6. Foster the dissemination of information on trends in biotechnology;
    7. Keep abreast with the national, regional and global trends in intellectual property rights and trade;
    8. Ensure that expatriate researchers work closely with competent Malawian researchers;
    9. Encourage and promote endogenous development of biotechnology in areas where Malawi has comparative advantage.

  7. Legal and Patenting Policies Committee
  8. The terms of reference for the committee are:

    1. To initiate the review and updating of patent legislation and any other laws which might impede the development of science and technology in the country in liaison with other specified organizations;
    2. To encourage and source out support for activities and mechanisms for promotion of scientific and technological creativity and innovation so as to generate endogenous technology;
    3. To ensure that inventors and innovators have access to protection of copyright and advise on royalty payments;
    4. To encourage the documentation, updating and dissemination of all patented works in Malawi across all sectors within the country;
    5. To co-ordinate and liaise with other legal and patenting organizations within and outside Malawi on legal and patent issues;
    6. To play a monitoring role to identify constraints in legal and patent policy issues that may hinder the socio-economic and technological development of the country and advise government and relevant bodies accordingly;
    7. To create public awareness on industrial property and copyright.

  9. National Documentation and Information Coordinating Committee
  10. The terms of reference for the committee are:

    1. Advise the Minister on how libraries and documentation services may best meet the information needs of all Malawians for the realization of poverty reduction goal,
    2. Support the library and information infrastructure by promoting resource-sharing, standardization, and service co-ordination,
    3. Promote the implementation of the library, documentation and information services policy,
    4. Facilitate constant review of the policy guidelines for appropriate budgetary allocations and standardized information management systems,
    5. Set standards for the delivery of quality services by various information and holding centers. Promote awareness on the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in library and documentation services.
    6. Facilitate the identification acquisition, recording and retrieval of indigenous knowledge systems.
    7. Facilitate information exchange, resource sharing and repackaging, conservation and preservation of information and knowledge among various stakeholders.
    8. Monitor and evaluate progress made in achieving set objectives as provided for in the library, documentation and information services policy.
    9. Intensify publicity for the existing and potential services and resources through the media, compilation of sectoral catalogues, lists of journals, newsletters, national registers, bibliographies and directories.
    10. Ensure coordination of services within and/or between sectors through properly tailored current awareness and selective dissemination of information (SDI) to avoid unnecessary duplication of activities and services.
    11. Encourage user education programs and production of information resources in various institutions.

  11. Science Competitions Committee
  12. The terms of reference for the committee will be provided later.

  13. National Health Science Research Committee
  14. The terms of reference for the committee are:

    1. Advise the Ministry of Health and Population on all scientific and ethical aspects of research matters pertaining to the Health Sciences. It will, therefore act as an intermediary between the Ministry and all research workers in the Health Sciences.
    2. Define research in the Health Sciences as being all activities, individually or collectively, of data collecting, and generating, either retrospectively or prospectively for the purposes of utilizing and disseminating the same to interested parties within Malawi and abroad. The ultimate goal of such exercises shall be improvement of the health care delivery in Malawi. Specifically excluded from the definition of research is the analysis of data already routinely collected or to be collected in the course of clinical and preventive health services for the legitimate purposes of audit and monitoring.
    3. Reviewing and approve all research proposals with a health science content from prospective researchers whatever their discipline. However, research involving members of the College of Medicine and Kamuzu College of Nursing and their collaborators shall be reviewed and authorized by College of Medicine Research Committee (COMRC) and shall be referred to the NHSRC only if national interests are at stake. Each Committee shall keep each other informed by means of cross representation.
    4. Offer guidance in relation to each research proposal, on the balance between the use of laboratories and expertise outside the country, and the import of techniques and equipment (including personnel) into the country. All research specimens and materials shall not be exported without permission from the NHSRC.
    5. Review and clear on behalf of the Ministry all materials intended for publication within and outside Malawi except where these have already been cleared by an authorized committee such as College of Medicine Research Council.
    6. Encourage and make recommendations to the Ministry contacts among research scientists of varying capabilities and or/about attachments to advanced research centres, within and outside Malawi, for the purpose of upgrading the available research manpower and skills.

  15. Building and Construction Research Committee
  16. Mandate:

    To institute and commission integrated applied research and development in the diverse related fields of building and construction industry.

    The specific terms of reference for the committee are:

    1. To commission local building and construction materials research to determine the most effective and economic methods of their utilization.
    2. To set standards for architectural design and construction of buildings, roads and earthworks to suit local climatic conditions.
    3. To determine the design and standards of functional units in buildings such as electrical installations, plumbing, painting, drainage, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
    4. To promote and encourage local building and construction operations and methods to increase their effectiveness.
    5. To determine the economic, social and environmental aspects of the building and construction industry.
    6. To set standards for foundation and earthworks for buildings, bridges and roads best suited to Malawian environment.
    7. To advise government on all matters related to the building and construction industry.
    8. To encourage and promote the use of local expertise in the building and construction industry.
    9. To encourage patenting of technologies developed in the building and construction industry.
    10. To set out priority research areas in the building and construction industry.
    11. To assist in the development of curricula to suit the building and construction industry.
    12. To encourage adaptation of exogenous technologies in the building and construction industry.
    13. To institute the review of national policies relating to the building and construction industry.
    14. To source funding for research in the building and construction industry.

  17. Research Programmes Committee
  18. The terms of reference for the committee are:

    1. To set policy direction on the conduct of research in Malawi;
    2. To initiate and develop the National Research Agenda/Research Master Plan;
    3. To source funding for research;
    4. To evaluate research projects in line with set standards;
    5. To monitor and evaluate research projects funded by National Research Council of Malawi;
    6. To conduct research dissemination foras;
    7. To solicit funding for researchers to attend outside for a;
    8. To set standards for the conduct of research in various fields in liaison with various sectoral coordinating committees;
    9. To set out priorities for research in various sectors


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