The 4th Biennial Conference in Research and Innovations, held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre KICC) from 12th -14th June 2024, was a vibrant gathering of universities, research institutions, and higher education agencies from across the country and neighboring region. Representatives from these institutions came together to showcase their latest research findings and innovations.

Out of Kenya's 79 universities, both public and private, 39 actively participated, making up an impressive 49% turnout. Key research institutions like the National Research Fund and the Kenya Medical Research Institute also joined, alongside educational agencies including the Inter University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) in Uganda, Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM), and Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA).

The event was honored by the presence of the Education Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Ezekiel Machogu, who toured the 44 exhibition booths. He commended the institutions for their innovations and emphasized the government's role in supporting these efforts, including patenting, connecting with investors, and commercializing products.


Education Cabinet Secretary Hon. Ezekiel Machogu, CUE Board Chairman Prof. Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha, and other dignitaries visit the Zetech and Inter University Council of East Africa exhibition stand.

Hon. Machogu, accompanied by other dignitaries such as Dr. Beatrice Inyangala and Prof. Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha, recognized outstanding exhibitors. The University of Nairobi received accolades for the best exhibition booth, while Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology was awarded for the best innovation stand.

Sponsored by partners like the National Research Fund, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, and Kenya National Qualifications Authority, the conference also saw enthusiastic participation from university students across various disciplines such as Engineering, Food Science and Nutrition, and Physical Sciences.


The KEMRI Graduate School team receives a certificate from CUE Board Chairman Prof. Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha for achieving 1st Runner-Up in the Best Booth category. Also present is Prof. Mike Kuria, CEO of the Commission for University Education, seen on the far left.

In addition to universities paying for exhibition booths, the Commission supported two extra students per booth pro bono, underscoring its commitment to fostering knowledge exchange and innovation among Kenya's youth.


The JOOUST team, led by Vice Chancellor Prof. Emily Akuno, receives a trophy from the Commission team, headed by Prof. Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha, for having the best innovative stand.

The Director General of KNQA Dr. Alice Kande commended CUE for organizing the conference as it plays pivotal role in addressing economic challenges in the country. The event not only highlighted academic excellence but also underscored the importance of research in driving national development.


KNQA Director General Dr. Alice Kande gives remarks during 4th Biennial Conference on Research and Innovation at KICC.

CUE Launches Varsity Magazine Highlighting Top Innovations in Universities
On 14th June 2024, the Commission for University Education (CUE) launched the first-ever Varsity Digest Magazine, showcasing top innovations and research projects from universities across the country. The journey began with teams visiting universities in different regions, led by Ms. Ruth Dero, the Deputy Director in Charge of Corporate Communications and supported by Ms. Evelyn Okewo, Senior Corporate Communications Officer, Ms. Angela Nyang’era, Assistant Commission Secretary-Legal, and Mr. Pius Walela, Assistant Commission Secretary, Research and Development and Mr. Geoffrey Wanjala, an ICT officer.

After four weeks of gathering stories from over 35 universities, the team, guided by Prof. Mike Kuria and Dr. Eunice Marete, finalized the publication. The magazine underwent meticulous design and printing before its grand launch.

With a dummy and confetti set on stage, Ms. Ruth Dero, Deputy Director of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at the Commission, took on stage beaming with excitement. She thanked the Commission leadership and universities fraternity for their support, making the event a resounding success.

The moment arrived for the launch. Commission Chairman Prof. Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha, CEO Prof. Mike Kuria, National Research Fund Chairman Prof. Ratemo Michieka, and JOOUST Vice-Chancellor Prof. Emily Akuno stepped up with smiles to unveil the Varsity Digest. Cheers and applause filled the air as photographers jostled for the best shots, capturing the lively scene while Ms. Okewo distributed copies to the audience.


CUE Board Chairman Prof. Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha (right) and NRF Board Chairman Prof. Ratemo Michieka (left). To the left, Commission CEO Prof. Mike Kuria joins in applause.
The Varsity Digest will publish bi-annually, aligned with future conferences. Prof. Chacha emphasized the importance of sharing positive university stories to attract support and investment.

CUE Board Chairman Prof. Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha (right) and NRF Board Chairman Prof. Ratemo Michieka (left) proudly display copies of the Varsity Digests after the launch.

Prof. Mike Kuria, on the other hand, envisioned stronger relationships between universities and regulators for advancing education.

Prof. Chacha celebrated universities' achievements in research and innovation, urging a balanced focus on Arts and Humanities. He encouraged universities to build their brands globally through such success stories, promoting mutual growth.

"You know, if we don’t share our stories, no one else will, and people won’t know what our universities are accomplishing. We’ve often been in the spotlight for financial challenges and bankruptcy, but why not share our positive stories to attract investors and support? People naturally gravitate towards positivity, so let’s confidently share our successes." He told Varsities leadership in the conference.


From right to left: Deputy Director of Corporate Communications Ms. Ruth Dero, (far right), Director General KNQA Dr. Alice Kande (second from right), Commission Board Chairman (third from right), NRF Board Chairman (fourth from right), Commission CEO Prof. Mike Kuria (third from left), JOOUST VC (second from left), and Senior Corporate Communication Officer Evelyn Okewo display copies of the Varsity Digest to the audience after the launch.

Prof. Mike Kuria, the visionary behind this initiative, shared at the 4th Biennial Conference that his aim is to foster strong relationships between the university regulator, CUE, and universities, aiming to elevate university education.

"From this conference, we proudly affirm that universities are meeting their mandates in research and innovation”, Prof. Kuria remarked.
The launch marked a milestone in showcasing university achievements, setting a path for future collaborations and advancements in education and research.

Speakers Wow Audience with Harnessing the Power of AI
In the expansive Amphitheatre hall of the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) where 4th Biennial Conference hosted by the Commission for University Education, three distinguished speakers, Dr. Christopher Odindo, Dr. Lawrence Nderu, and Dr. Joseph Orero, captivated the audience with their informative presentations on the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in university education and the creative economy.

Coordinated by the Deputy Commission Secretary in charge of Planning, Research and Innovation Dr. David Muthaka and Moderated by Head of Research and Innovation Prof. Jackson Too, the session which commence on Wednesday 13th from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM, unveiled a number of insights and innovations reshaping the future of learning and technological innovation in Africa.

The other moderators in other sessions were the Deputy Commission Secretary in charge of Accreditation Division Prof. Urbunas Mutwiwa, Dr. Eunice Marete, Deputy Commission Secretary in charge of Quality Assurance and Standards.

Dr. Christopher Odindo kicked off the session with an exploration into "Leveraging on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Assessment of Learning." His presentation underscored the growing acceptance of AI among university students, signaling readiness for its integration into educational practices.
The Academician highlighted AI's potential to revolutionize teaching methodologies, optimize assessment workflows, and personalize learning experiences.


Dr. Christopher Odindo, a Speaker at the 4th Biennial Conference hosted by CUE.
He cautioned, however, about AI's limitations, stressing the need for ethical guidelines and awareness among students to navigate biases and ensure responsible AI usage in academia.

In his presentation, Dr. Odindo warned that AI can be biased, misogynistic, and prone to hallucinations, urging students to utilize it judiciously given its limitations.

Dr. Joseph Orero followed with a compelling vision on "Leveraging AI in Content Delivery," emphasizing AI's role in enhancing personalized learning and fostering innovation in education.

His discussion on virtual labs for STEM education and the adoption of remote learning lit up the transformative impact of AI-driven technologies in overcoming educational barriers in Africa.


"Now is the right time for the region to steer its tertiary systems,” remarked Mr. Pedro Cerdan-Infantes from The World Bank, as he discussed global trends in higher education and workforce alignment during the conference.

Dr. Joseph Orero, a speaker at the 4th Biennial Conference
Dr. Orero advocated for a permanent integration of AI into the education system, urging stakeholders to embrace AI to innovate and improve educational outcomes across the continent.
Dr. Lawrence Nderu concluded the session with an impassioned plea for harnessing AI, human expertise, and digital infrastructure to reinforce Africa's creative economy.

Dr. Lawrence Nderu, a speaker at the 4th Biennial Conference
His presentation highlighted AI's potential in addressing societal challenges, enhancing educational quality, and preparing African youth for a technology-driven future. Dr. Nderu emphasized the critical role of universities in fostering AI research and development, urging educational regulators to create a conducive environment for AI innovation and talent development.

Plenary Discussion
The plenary session, moderated by Prof. Jackson Too, saw engaging discussions on Africa's role in AI development, the integration of AI frameworks into educational systems, and the ethical considerations of AI deployment. Questions from esteemed educators like Prof. Ochuodho and Dr. Peter Kiarie underscored the relevance of the presentations to the conference theme, eliciting insightful responses on Africa's innovation potential and the future of AI in education.

Commission Secretary/CEO Prof. Mike Kuria's Reflections
Prof. Mike Kuria provided strategic insights, emphasizing the inevitability of AI adoption in education and the need for responsible AI practices. His reflections echoed the conference's focus on leveraging AI to enhance educational experiences and foster economic growth in Africa.
Prof. Kuria's call for a comprehensive AI framework for universities highlighted the commission's role in guiding AI integration aligned with educational objectives and ethical standards.


Commission Secretary/CEO Prof. Mike Kuria
Prof. Kuria lauded the presenters noting that their detailed insights have left an indelible mark on attendees, showcasing AI's transformative potential across educational and creative sectors in Africa.

“The presenters’ insights underscore the imperative for universities to embrace AI as a catalyst for innovation and inclusive growth, reaffirming Africa's position as a burgeoning hub of AI innovation and talent development”, said the Commission CEO.

Dr. David Muthaka Champions Success of Research and Innovation Conference

Dr. David Muthaka, the Deputy Commission Secretary (DCS) in charge of Planning, Research, and Innovation at the Commission, was a man on a mission: to ensure the success of the 4th Biennial Conference on Research and Innovation.

Three months ago, he began by brainstorming with his team to develop the conference theme and sub-themes, inviting speakers, and calling for abstracts. His dedication was clear from the start.

The Conference had been dormant since 2020, and Dr. Muthaka, who had been in his role for just a year, revived it with vigor. Since March 2024, he barely slept, holding numerous meetings to oversee every detail of the event, which was set to host both local and international speakers.

Dr. Muthaka mobilized expertise from various departments, forming a large exhibition steering committee with several sub-committees. This strategic move allowed each sub-committee to focus on specific responsibilities, ensuring smooth coordination.

As the conference day approached, Dr. Muthaka organized a crucial pre-conference meeting at the venue to finalize preparations. With the support of his deputy head of research, Prof. Jackson Too, and Assistant Commission Secretary, Research and Innovations, Dr. James Kiarie, the team worked tirelessly to ensure everything was in place.

Thanks to Dr. Muthaka's leadership and meticulous planning, the conference was a resounding success. His commitment to excellence and teamwork ensured that the event achieved its goals of fostering research and innovation in a collaborative environment.

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