The legislative instrument backing the establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) should be amended to pave the way for the commercialisation of the products developed by CSIR.
This will enable the institutions under CSIR, such as Food Research Institute (FRI), Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI), Crop Science Institute (CSI) and the Institute for Industrial Research (IIR), to sell their inventions.
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, who gave the advice during a tour of facilities of the FRI and IIR in Accra, said currently, commercialising the findings of research conducted by institutes under CSIR contravene the laws establishing it [CSIR] and the only way to circumvent this obstacle is to amend legislative instrument and policy document that brought CSIR into existence.
He said although the sole purpose of CSIR was research, things have evolved, and the time has come to reconsider the laws so that findings of the CSIR, which have significant commercial value, could be sold.
“So for instance, some Departments under IIR such as Metrology Department, which develops innovation for weather forecasting and Engineering Department, which does repairs of medical and lab equipment, have monopoly over their services and can commercialise them instead of tying them to only research,” he said.
According to him, one major challenge that the CSIR faces was its inability to make the innovations of its scientist know to the public.
“When scientists make a breakthrough, they are self-effacing, but when a herbalist discovers something s/he would be everywhere trumpeting it; it is a fact that ethical issues prevent scientists from boasting, but this is keeping a lot of information from the Ghanaian public, especially about the possibilities of CSIR,” Dr Afriyie said.
For instance, he said the Crop Science Institute (CSI) had manufactured inoculants that increases farm produces by 30 per cent. Yet, most farmers across the country do not know about it, adding that even the Ministry of Food and Agriculture was unaware of it.
He, therefore, urged officials of CSIR to market their innovations to promote their usage.
Ishmael Batoma, ISD