Commercialise Research Works - Dr. Oteng Adjei

The Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been asked by the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Joe Oteng Adjei, to commercialise the output of research works in order to generate money to make the Institute financially autonomous. Dr. Oteng-Adjei maintains that by commercialising the output of the research works, the Institute stands to benefit financially from domestic and foreign businesses, and organisations which access the research findings for their operations. He, therefore, further informed the BRRI of the willingness of the Ministry for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) to collaborate and work together to explore means by which this initiative can be realised. His pronouncement comes to reinforce the call on the BRRI earlier to become‘financially self-reliant’ within the next three years. The Minister said this at the inauguration of the National Artisan Training Centre and the official opening of the maiden artisan training workshop at Fumesua in the Ejisu Juaben Municipality of the Ashanti Region. The Centre is intended to be used for training builders in the use of local materials such as clay burnt bricks, compressed earth blocks and Pozzolana Cement for housing construction among others. At this Centre, contractors built environment professionals, artisans, producers of local building materials among others will receive competence-based, cost-saving modern techniques and effective technologies developed by CSIR-BRRI to achieve better outputs in housing delivery. The creation of the National Artisan Training Centre was made possible through the collaboration of the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, and the CSIR-BRRI whose research findings is revealed to have identified local materials as alternatives to imported building materials. About 50 artisans are going to receive training free of charge. The Centre also plans to organise such training programmes quarterly on both sponsored and fee-paying basis with the view to helping to reduce the avoidable 15-20% wastage, and the poor workmanship associated with Ghanaian artisans. It was also made public that the national housing deficit is presently estimated to be over 1,500,000 units and increasing annually. This huge deficit is said to be posing serious social and environmental problems to the country. However, it is anticipated that utilisation of local materials for mass production of affordable housing units can mitigate these problems. According to Dr. Oteng-Adjei, Government spends about US$250million annually to import construction materials into the country. However, with the findings of the CSIR-BRRI about the effectiveness of local materials as an alternative to the foreign imports, Government has come out with a policy for the construction industry to utilise 60% of local materials by the year 2020. Government by this initiative has thus affirmed its trust in the CSIR-BRRI, hoping that the Institute can provide the building and construction industry with cost-effective and affordable housing delivery. The Industry is said to contribute approximately 12% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making it the second-highest contributor. The contribution of the Industry is believed to have significantly aided Government in alleviating poverty as it provides both skilled and unskilled jobs for the youth and other professional builders.