Dr Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey, Head of the Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS) at the University of Ghana on Monday called for the establishment of a Ghana Social Science and Humanities Research Council (GSSHREC).
Dr Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey said this establishment will address the country’s information gaps through advertised calls for research, offer a permanent structure for mobilizing and awarding research funds and increase the evidence base for fashioning policies and programmes to achieve the goals of transformation.
She made the call at the launch of a Consultative Workshop towards the establishment of GSSHREC and explained that a research Council does not replace research institutions that are already in operation, but rather creates a hub for research practice and networking.
The initiative was proposed by the CSPS, the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and the Vice Chancellor at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Dr Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey, who made a presentation on the proposal for the establishment of GSSHREC, said their objective is to mobilize and manage local and external funds to promote policy relevant studies among local academics.
“Such research should demonstrate creative thinking and give careful attention to development dynamics and interdisciplinary, to enhance research performance overall and build up international networks among academics” she added.
Dr Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey added that the proposed Research Council will strengthen local publications including journals, technical publications, policy briefs and books and build the capacity of Universities for problem-solving.
She said the University will undertake a series of consultations with different stakeholders to provide an opportunity for the team working on the concept to gather ideas and discuss fund-raising options to present to government.
Professor Mahama Duweijua, Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education said there was the need for the country to invest in research because it is a prerequisite for innovation and provides new evidence.
He said investing in research and development will help various societies to identify and strengthen local resources, talents and capabilities and to mold them to produce goods and service.
Prof Duweijua said every successful high income country makes special public investment to research Councils to promote scientific and technological capacities.
He said the African Union has agreed with member states to set aside at least 1 per cent of its national revenue for science research, but so far, only Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania has been able to uphold the commitment.
Professor Thandika Mkandawire, First Chair, African Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science said the experience of many industrialized and emerging economies have proven that the progress of any nation is mostly tied to research and development.
Prof Mkandawire said the level of commitment to research and development programmes has been missing in Africa and that overdependence on external support for research is no longer acceptable for a nation aiming at transformation and upper middle income status.
He said the establishment of a Research Council will help countries to undertake research on pertinent socio-economic development issues, which will enrich evidence-based decisions, made by legislators, policy makers and development partners.