Jamaica News: Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says funds have been set aside in the upcoming Budget for the pursuit of research at the tertiary level.
He said that further details of the allocation will be provided in the Estimates of Expenditure, which will be tabled in the House of Representatives next week.
He noted that by providing the funds, the Government is “making its intention clear that research is fundamentally important to the growth and development of Jamaica, but we need to do it in a way that can be sustainably maintained”.
“We have priority areas where knowledge needs to be developed, and further allocation… will be done on a competitive basis and will be aligned with those priorities,” he said.
Dr. Clarke was addressing the opening ceremony for the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Research Days at the Mona campus on February 6.
He said that one of the first initiatives to be undertaken is investigation into the funding of research and development in Jamaica.
“We need to measure exactly how much we are spending on research and where it is coming from, so we can set goals going forward. If we don’t start from a basis of knowing exactly where we are… then we won’t know how to set goals,” Dr. Clarke argued.
The Finance Minister noted that research funded by Government has resulted in some of the greatest innovations in the world. He cited the Internet, global positioning system (GPS), the Google search engine, and several vaccines such as the flu shot.
“There is no doubt that where fiscal space exists, the spending of Government in directed ways… (has facilitated) a lot of breakthroughs,” he said.
He lauded UWI for the depth and diversity of research that has been undertaken over the years, particularly at the Mona campus.
He noted that the university has a crucial role to play in the “liberation of knowledge and intellectual pursuit”.
“There is a certain ambivalence about knowledge that has characterised some of our development…and the University of the West Indies has a role in ensuring that that ambivalence ends,” Dr. Clarke said.
The UWI Research Days, which is in its 20th year, runs from February 6-8.
Source: JIS News