In an effort to bridge the gap between academia and communities, researchers and academics in Malawi have been urged to undertake research that is not only impactful but also accessible to the general public.

The call was made by Mrs. Chikondano Mussa, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education, on Monday during the opening of the High-Performance Computing (HPC), Big Data, and Data Analytics workshop at the Malawi University of Business and Applied Science (MUBAS).

The two-day workshop has been organised by the Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN) and has attracted 21 participants from the country┬┤s six public universities.

Mrs. Mussa beamoned the tendency of academics engaging in elite research that often fails to directly benefit their communities. She emphasized the importance of disseminating research findings in languages that are easily understandable to the public, as opposed to presenting them in complex academic jargon.

Expressing concern about researchers pursuing qualifications for titles and promotions without considering the real-world impact, Mrs. Mussa stressed that the primary goal should be to conduct research that positively influences communities. She urged researchers to communicate their findings in a manner that is accessible to the common people.

Commending the Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN) for its efforts in promoting research and education, Mrs. Mussa acknowledged the organization’s role in providing affordable internet connectivity to public universities and research institutions. She also praised MAREN’s capacity-building initiatives for ICT staff in the research and education sector.

“We are delighted to see that our public universities and research institutions now have access to affordable internet, thanks to MAREN. The increased bandwidth provided by MAREN is in line with government policies such as MW2063 and the National Research Agenda,” Mrs. Mussa stated.

Highlighting the positive impact of MAREN’s initiatives, Mrs. Mussa mentioned the provision of a free internet link to the education radio station, aligning with the government’s broader goals for education and research.