Director

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THE ROLE OF INSTITUTE OF PRIMATE RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The IPR is a global premier scientific research facility based in Nairobi Kenya. Although globally well known, the institute has been struggling in demonstrating a national niche. This has concerned me as the Director, since this is first and foremost a publicly funded primate research facility in Kenya. To tackle this agenda, a number of strategies will have to change in the organization. The organization is reviewing its mandate and relevance as an institute under the Heritage Act. Because this has been found to have a serious mismatch, IPR is in the process of delinking from National Museums of Kenya. The Delinked IPR, proposed to be renamed Kenya Institute of Primate Research (KEPRI), has already applied to National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI).Once registration is granted, KEPRI plans to revamp organizational functions, mission, vision, tag-line and research theme. This will be supported by new and/or improved strategy documents accompanied by obtaining AAALAC accreditation.

 

In order to focus the national niche and contribute more precisely to development of the country, KEPRI will strengthen its key role in providing functions of a national primate centre, become a reference facility for venom and snakebite research, breed laboratory research animals that meet local and international standards, house a centre of excellence for scientific validation of natural products and exhibit focal point status in capacity building in animal welfare, ethical use and care of nonhuman primates and other experimental laboratory animals in Kenya.

 

The institute has adopted a new mission of “to enhance human health and well-being through translating findings from basic research into medical practice and meaningful health outcomes”, vision of “to be a global centre of excellence in translational research for life” and tag line of “translating life sciences”. In the short term, KEPRI will be undertaking research in priority areas that include Snake Bite/Anti-venom Research, Zoonosis, Natural Products Research, Khat Research, Cannabis/Opium Research, Antimicrobial Research and Breeding Research (e.g. immunogenetics).These and other strategic research thematic areas are captured in a research strategy document that the organization will review from time in order to continually improve in performance. Th e process of registering with NACOSTI coupled with AAALAC accreditation are targeted for completion in the fourth quarter of 2017.

 

To deliver promptly on the issues discussed above, KEPRI must, in the short term, complete construction of the new baboon (nyani house) containment facility plus the resource centre, expand incineration capacity by acquiring a new one and overhauling the current machine, replace the aging motor vehicle fleet, fence the forest under institutional management and create an endowment fund for research. The organization will also ensure that aging research equipment is replaced and new ones installed, expand and improve marketing of Masinde Muliro joint training programme, revamp monkey breeding programme, run a vibrant institutional risk management and biosafety
programmes, and manage an innovation oriented internship programme

Dr. Hasting Ozwara

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July 19, 2012