The University of Nairobi (UoN) hosted a delegation from Washington State University (WSU) on Monday, February 6th, 2023. The team led by Prof. Kirk Schulz, the 11th President of WSU are in the country for five days to see the collaborative projects they are implementing in Kenya. In the near future, the two universities will provide joint degree programs and work together to apply for funding to do additional research.
Prof. Kiama and Prof. Schulz led a brainstorming session with representatives from the 2 Higher Education Institutions to discuss innovative ideas to strengthen the current partnership and widen the scope of collaboration. Washington State University and the University of Nairobi have had a long-standing collaborative partnership with several ongoing projects, including the D43 NIH funded program for training of physicians and veterinarians on Zoonosis and One Health under which fellow graduate research is conducted at the centres of excellence domiciled at UoN under the KAVI Institute of Clinical Research (KAVI-ICR), Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (UNITID), and the Centre for Epidemiological modelling and analysis CEMA and feed the future Innovation Lab for animal health, a USAID funded program between WSU and UoN in collaboration with Kenya Medical Research Institute , International Livestock Research Institute and the Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research Organizaton.
The success and direct impact of the existing collaborative training programs were highlighted by Prof. Kiama as he remarked, "We have been in talks with Washington State University about offering joint degree programmes; it is time to actualize those talks and deliver those joint programmes."
Speaking about the student experience; Prof. Schulz said “the best connections are made through students, and in order to have a greater influence, we need to invest in creative, student-driven ideas to have greater impact.” The two teams concurred that the ongoing initiatives continue to have a real influence and, more importantly, on the lives of the students from both nations, who have benefited much from the on-the-job training and peer-to-peer mentoring.
The brainstorming session explored creative ways to partner as well as adopt a working model that will further impact the students and faculty. Some of the ideas that were shared by the participants include; a plan to train global scientists who are well funded to carry out research, offer post doctoral fellowships, expand collaboration to cover fields such as engineering, food safety, liberal arts, crop production and social sciences and climate change as well the implementation starter projects in Engineering.