The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, who made this known yesterday, said the fund would further be increased to 2.5 per cent of GDP in the long term.“An increment of the fund from 0.25 per cent to one per cent is a bold move and I do not think there is any country in Africa that has devoted one per cent of its GDP to research. It is only South Africa that has taken the lead, but theirs is 0.7 per cent of GDP.
"The approved memorandum will be sent to Parliament shortly to be worked on. It went to Parliament and came back because there were some clarifications that had to be made and so we have worked on it and it will be taken back to the House for work to be done on it," he said.
Dr Frimpong-Boateng made this known at the opening ceremony of a two-day conference to mark the 40th anniversary of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) in Accra.
The conference is on the theme: "Noguchi at 40: Sustaining global health gains through partnerships in biomedical research".
It was attended by scientists, people from academia, development partners, government officials and civil society organisations (CSOs).
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said 67 per cent of the Research Fund would be paid into the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Fund to support the development of scientific research to help address key national challenges.
He said MESTI was in the process of setting up a High Performance Computing Centre (HPCC) to facilitate the conduct and efficient management of scientific research in the country.
The minister said the facility was part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) research collaboration project with partners in South Africa.
"Once this facility is installed, the equipment will provide computing capacity, high-hand width communication access, as well as an online platform on which research databases and information can be shared among researchers, research institutions and research funders," he said.
He observed that the setting up of the centre was critical to ensure that there was a well-designed research management system, which is currently lacking in the country.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said it was worrying that although Ghana had invested in research in many sectors, limited success had been achieved with the research works because of the lack of effective research management.
He underscored the need for effective collaboration among the government, the public, private research institutions, academia and the private sector to enhance knowledge exchange, technology transfer and the transformation of research outputs into commercial products.
The Director of the NMIMR, Prof. Abraham K. Anang, said scientific and biomedical research was indispensable in the journey towards improved healthcare delivery in the country.
He said it was for that reason that the NMIMR would not relent in carrying out its core mandate of conducting research into infectious and non-infectious diseases, building the capacity of the next generation of scientists and providing specialised diagnosis and monitoring services and interventions to support public health in the country.
Prof. Anang said the institute had effectively delivered its mandate, leading to the diagnosing of the first HIV AIDS case in Ghana in 1986.
He highlighted the major achievements of the NMIMR, such as the establishment of a tuberculosis testing network in the country, the introduction of vaccination regimes for previously high burden diseases and capacity building for numerous health professionals.
“For our journey into the future, the institute has identified strength in innovative strategic partnerships, which is clearly captured by the UN Sustainable Development Goal 17,” he said.
The Japanese Ambassador in Ghana, Tsutomu Himeno, urged all stakeholders to draw useful lessons from the commitment of the NMIMR to improve on healthcare systems.