PSF service in Kenya: publication of two sets of guidelines for a more coordinated and well-functioning Research and Innovation ecosystem

Arising from a 7-month mission, two sets of guidelines have been elaborated to effectively manage the rapidly growing network of innovation hubs in the country and enhance commercialisation of R&D outputs. 

The Policy Support Facility (PSF) service produced two sets of guidelines that will contribute to assist the requesting authority, the Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA), in building a stronger innovation ecosystem and accelerating the uptake of research outputs.

The service was carried out between April and December 2022 by a panel of 4 high-level experts, chaired by Prof. Tom Ogada.

Some of the main highlights from these guidelines include:

1/for the coordination of innovation hubs:

Innovation hubs have mushroomed rapidly across the country over the last five years from a few hubs to over 200. The guidelines provide advice on how to define various types of innovation hubs and business start-ups, how to incentivise registration of new innovation hubs, how to set standardised services and support mechanism as well as how to assess their impact through performance indicators. The aim of these guidelines is to get information and evidence to better guide government action and support, link innovation hubs to national priorities, and attract targeted investments for better impact. The guidelines also provide modalities for establishing Innovation Hubs and networks in Kenya.

2/for better commercialisation of R&D outputs:

The purpose of these guidelines is to address the challenges that face technology transfer and commercialisation in Kenya to enable the country to get good returns on its investments in R&D activities. The guidelines provide suggestions and recommendations on how these challenges can be addressed at national, institutional and researcher levels. While national policy formulation is long-term, some interventions have been suggested in the short term under the leadership of KeNIA to promote commercialisation. These interventions include notably the strengthening of Public-Private partnerships in research and commercialisation and the awareness raising of researchers on Intellectual property and commercialisation.

A pilot programme, at 5 Universities and Research Centers, is already being implemented by KeNIA to enable at a later stage a better operationalisation of the guidelines at a national level.

Kenya is the fifth country, after Timor-Leste, Lesotho,  Mauritania, and The Gambia to benefit from the innovative PSF mechanism, launched in January 2021 by the OACPS Research and Innovation Programme, and funded by the European Union, to unlock innovation potential in the 79 OACPS member countries.

If you’d like to learn more about the two sets of guidelines, please download:

Guidelines on commercialisation in Kenya Guidelines on Innovation Hubs in Kenya