CSIR Strategizes For National Development After 60 Years Of Immense Scientific Research
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is the foremost national science and technology institution in Ghana. It is mandated to carry out scientific and technological research for national development. The Council was established in its present form by NLC Decree 293 of 10th October, 1968 and re-established by CSIR Act 521 of 26th November, 1996.
The Council, however, traces its ancestry to the erstwhile National Research Council (NRC), which was established by the Research Act 21 of August, 1958, a little over a year after independence, to organize and co-ordinate scientific research in Ghana and provide the necessary platform for Ghana’s accelerated development.
The Council came into being on 14th February 1959 with a Governing Council, which was chaired by the President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, with Mr. F.E.V. Smith as its Executive Secretary and Mr. S.T. Quansah as Deputy Executive Secretary.
In 1963, the National Research Council was merged with the Ghana Academy of Learning, which had been established in 1958 and renamed the Ghana Academy of Sciences, under the Ghana Academy of Sciences Instrument E.I.5 of 1963. The Academy, therefore, combined the dual roles of a statutory learned society and the organization of national research.
The assets and responsibilities of the two organizations were vested in the new Academy. The Academy had responsibility over eleven research institutes and four units and projects with Prof. J. Yanney-Ewusi as its General Secretary.
In 1968, following the recommendations of the Cockroft Committee, which was appointed by the Government of the National Liberation Council (NLC) in December 1966 “to advise on the future of the Ghana Academy of Sciences”, the Ghana Academy of Sciences was reconstituted and the Learned Society was separated from the research Division of the Academy.
The reconstitution of the Ghana Academy of Sciences into two separate bodies became law by NLCD 291 (1968), which established the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and NLCD 293 (1968), which established the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on 10th October 1968 with Mr. Modzaben Dowuona as the first Executive Chairman of the CSIR. As a national body, therefore, the CSIR has had an unbroken history, which extends back to the creation of the National Research Council in 1958.
The CSIR is mandated to pursue, among others, the implementation of government policies on scientific research and development, coordinate R&D activities in the CSIR and other S&T institutions nationwide and assist the government in the formulation of S&T policies for national development. The CSIR is further required to commercialize appropriate technologies, in partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders, and encourage in the national interest, scientific and industrial research of importance for the development of agriculture, health, medicine, environment, technology and other service sectors of the economy.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is to embark on a robust programme of revenue generation to support it operational activities and research programmes into emerging and national priority areas through partnerships with the private sector.
As the CSIR his a milestone of 60 years this year, the Council is focusing on the generation and protection of intellectual property, especially, patents in order to help grow the industrial base of the country.
The Council would be organising open days for all 13 of its Institutes located all across the country, to enable the public to get to know its achievements over the 60 years of its existence.
Female students in particular, would be interacted with to popularise science among them while the lives of eminent scientists would be celebrated with awards and send-off ceremony.
In a presentation, Professor Rose Maama Enstua Mensah, Deputy Director General of CSIR, said the Council had over the years lived up to its vision by partnering the right institutions to produce and release various varieties of crops and animal species to help in poverty alleviation and hunger in Ghana.
These varieties include, maize, of which over 80 per cent of the varieties being grown in Ghana was developed by CSIR.
Other varieties of rice, plantain, sweet potatoes, cassava, pepper, cowpea, groundnut, tilapia production, grass cutter, broilers, among other food crops that were highly being patronised in the country and in many African countries were developed by the Council.
The CSIR have also been working in the area of building and construction materials like the Pozzalina cement production, plastic concrete blocks, biogas technology and traditional medicine research.
CSIR have also sought partnership with the media, through establishing a Science reporting press Corps in partnership with the Ghana Journalists Association, to help propagate science, technology and innovation issues to the public whiles informing policy and national development.
On his part, Professor Victor Kwame Agyeman, Director General of CSIR during the Council's 60th Anniversary celebration launch at a special media briefing revealed that the celebrations will be marked with a year-long activities.
Prof Ageyman said CSIR was taking measures to enhance its relevance, as a lead research institution, with the mandate to spearhead science for wealth creation through strategic partnerships with academia and industry.
He noted that the Council was also making arrangement for its products and technologies to be transferred to the private sector entities or marketed to the public through commercialisation.
'The Council will assist to train, conduct research with and also supervise the post-graduate students in the country at the CSIR College of Science and Technology.
The Council will conduct research in collaboration with the private sector, to enhance its relevance, he said.
Prof Agyeman noted that 'Efforts to promote science must go beyond the educational institutions to other social structures, including mass media, and civil society organisation.
'Such efforts build a science and technology culture in the society which is crucial for the diffusion of technologies and innovations to increase productivity in all sectors of the economy,' Prof Agyeman said.