Background

The International Association of Science Parks has defined an STP as a property-based initiative which: has operational links with Universities, Research Centres and other Institutions of Higher Education; is designed to encourage the formation and growth of knowledge-based industries or high value-added tertiary firms, normally resident on site; or has a steady management team actively engaged in fostering the transfer of technology and business to tenant organizations. Essentially, the main aim of STP is to increase the wealth of its community by promoting a culture of innovation and the competitiveness of its associated businesses and knowledge-based institutions. To enable these goals to be met, a science park stimulates and manages the flow of knowledge and technology amongst universities, R&D institutions, companies and markets; it facilitates the creation and growth of innovation-based companies through incubation and spin-off processes; and provides other value-added services together with high quality space and facilities. Locally, the National Science and Technology Policy notes that Science and Technology refers to processes and activities for the generation of knowledge and information about the material world and their application to the improvement of human welfare.

In pursuit of transforming Kenya into a knowledge economy, the Ministry of Education, State Department of University Education is supporting the establishment of a Science and Technology Park at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology. The proposed DeKUT STP is anchored on the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology’s vision, which is to promote science,technology and innovation and quality higher education for prosperity and global competitiveness.

In addition, the proposed STP is based on the need for the country to drive development towards a knowledge-based economy as envisioned in the Kenya Vision 2030. The Vision proposes intensified application of science, technology and innovation to raise productivity and efficiency levels across three pillars recognized as critical for development. Through its recognition of the critical role played by research and development (R&D) in accelerating economic development in all the newly industrializing countries of the world, the government seeks to devote more resources to scientific research, technical capabilities of the workforce, and in raising the quality of teaching mathematics, science and technology in schools, polytechnics and universities.

DeKUT recognizes the role of research and development as an important pillar for development at the national level. Thus, the University emphasizes its strategic focus to provide technological education and create unique structures for research, innovations, extension and technology transfer such as STPs. This means that research and innovation, linkages and technology transfer are key strategy areas in the University’s Strategic plan for 2014-2019.