Lilongwe — Ministry of Education Science and Technology has awarded best 40 post graduate students with cheques worth K500, 000 each to support their research.
The cheques have been awarded to 38 Masters Students from public universities and two PhD students under the project called "Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence II (ACE II).
This is the third year that the Ministry of Education, through the Directorate of Higher Education, has disbursed these grants to young researchers since 2018.
Speaking during the handover ceremony of the cheques on Friday in Lilongwe, Minister of Education Science and Technology, Agnes Njalonje said postgraduate students in many countries have various avenues of support for their studies and their research.
However, she said in Malawi, there is still a situation where the vast majority of postgraduate students self-finance both their fees and their research.
She further said that research should not just be seen as a private good for the benefit of the student as it is primarily a public good for the benefit of society.
"We have many unanswered questions in science, technology and social science for which we as a country need answers and trained experts," she said.
The minister, therefore expressed need to find more methods by which the country can support the best students to undertake research on topics of relevance to our society rather than leave it to students to bear the whole cost.
She stressed that research is essential for development, saying if the country is to develop, there is need to have a vibrant research culture that can feed into innovation in terms of new knowledge, tools, practices and improved policies.
"Almost everything we see around us here today has emanated from this sense of enquiry and research.
"This research and innovation is dependent more on young researchers being trained and I ask that the 40 recipients of their awards continue to apply their research methodology and approach after their degrees, whether or not they remain in academia," she said.
According to the minister, the research mentality and approach can be useful in any walk of life and profession, and at the end of the day there is need to develop an environment where evidence drives the decisions.
One of the beneficiaries, Prisca Mdziolera said the money will assist her in her research and to fulfill her dreams and aspirations.
She said it was competitive to come up with a successful proposal so that they can earn the grant.
"Much as we could be working and doing other things, to have a grant is a motivation and I'm sure that there are a lot of students who will be motivated to apply for this grant," Mdziolera said.