Nacosti: How to Apply for Research Permit Approval

Nacosti: How to Apply for Research Permit ApprovalThe National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) is established under the Science Technology and Innovation Act, 2013.The mandate of the Comission is to regulate and assure quality in the science, technology and innovation sector and advise the Government in matters related thereto.

The Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I), Legal Notice No. 108 (Research Licensing) Regulations, 2014 obligates all persons intending to undertake scientific research in Kenya to obtain a License in accordance to the Act. In this regard, NACOSTI has developed Guidelines for Research Licensing and Institutional Affilliation in Kenya as a reference document for the stakeholders and especially those intending to undertake scientific Research within the Kenyan territory.

The National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation

The Science, Technology and Innovation (Research Licensing Regulations, 2014) Legal Notice No. 108 5(2) states that a foreign researcher applying for a license shall be affiliated to a local relevant institution.

In this regard, The National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) has developed Guidelines on Research Licensing and Institutional Affiliation,as a reference document for the stakeholders; affiliating institutions and especially those intending to undertake scientific Research within the Kenyan territory.

What is Nacosti?

National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation (Nacosti) is a state organization that was set up through the Science, Technology, and Innovation Act of 2013.

For purposes of research clearance in Kenya, their role is to regulate and assure quality in the technology, science, and innovation sector and also counsel the government on related matters.

This includes general purpose data collection such as bioprospecting, geological and genetic resources, information in the fields of agriculture, medical sciences, physical sciences, ICT, biological sciences etc.

More so, any activity of research related to economic, social and political nature that involves obtaining information through collecting data including interviews or questionnaires.

It also includes routine data collection activities such as routine statistical surveys, censuses, market studies; and experimental development work leading to new devices, products or processes.

Objectives of the research permit

1. To facilitate coordination of research as provided for in the Science and Technology Act, Chapter 250 of the Laws of Kenya;

2. To encourage quality research that will directly benefit Kenya and increase the body of scientific knowledge as a whole;

3. To secure the data and results of research work undertaken in Kenya;

4.  To document and monitor all research work going on in the Country and have a database of centrally available information on such work;

5. To facilitate useful research work and discourage projects which are not in the National interest;

6. To ensure maximum benefits and dissemination of knowledge and technologies from research activities to end users;

7. To eliminate the unauthorised collection and transfer of research information and materials;

8. To ensure that research in Kenya is conducted according to professional ethics;

9. To ensure that relevant National Institutions are informed of the intended and on-going research in their mandated areas and that they are given an opportunity to influence the course of the research being undertaken in their areas of interest;

10. To discourage unnecessary duplication of data collection for ongoing research projects or research already undertaken or research about to be undertaken; and

11. Generally, to protect national interests and, as far as possible, discourage clandestine activities which may be undertaken under the cover of research.

Who should apply for a research permit?

1. All Non-Kenyans intending to do research in Kenya;

2. Foreign students intending to come for study tours or undergraduate students coming for a short duration;

3. All Kenyans who are studying abroad and intend to do research in the Country;

4. Private institutions either Kenyan or Non-Kenyan intending to do research in the country;

5. All Kenyans except employees of Government Research Institutions/ Ministries /Departments whose mandate is to do research or as part of their duties or have a Standing Research Clearance; and

6. In all cases where the research involves acquiring information/data from the Country or Public and Government organizations.

Issuance of a research permit

Research permits will be issued in the name of the applicant who is the project leader, or the expedition leader or the leader of the institution in the case of Standing Research Clearance.

It is a must that, each researcher pays the appropriate fee for each research project.

The number of researchers for institutional/company permit should not exceed three researchers per permit.

The holder of the research permit will be held responsible for making sure that the regulations governing the permit are observed.

The process of research clearance and authorization

The process involves the following steps:-

1. Complete appropriate application through online by logging in to and follow the instructions and note that registration is free.

2. Submit the fully completed application together with a research proposal, CV, a copy of ID/passport, and others as appropriate (see checklist at the end) and upload as one file.

3. The application is received by the Research Coordination Division which will forward to relevant experts of the Sciences Scheduled for assessment and advice.

4. Research Coordination Division on receipt of the comments of the relevant science schedule will deal appropriately by issuing Research Permit or inform the applicant in case a piece of further information is required.

5. On completion and finalization of research work, the researcher must submit two copies of research reports to NACOSTI and upload a pdf copy into the system.

6. No Research Permit will be issued for subsequent research work if the reports of previous research work were not submitted.

Application Fees

(a) Kenya Citizens and Institutions

Student/Attachment/Undergraduate/Diploma - Ksh 100

Research (Academic) Masters - Ksh 1,000

Research (Academic) PhD - Ksh 2,000

Research (Individual/Post Doctoral) - Ksh 5,000

Research (Public/Private Institutions) - Ksh10,000

Research (Private Companies) - Ksh 20,000

Extensions - half of the rate concerned.

(b) Non-Kenyan citizens and institutions

Student Attachment/Undergraduate/Diploma - US$150

Research (Academic) Masters - US$350

Research (Academic) PhD - US$400

Research (Individual/Post-Doctoral) - US$500

Research (Foreign Public/Private Institutions) - US$ 1,000

Research (Private Companies) - US$ 10,000

Extensions - half of the rate concerned.

Note: The fees for citizens from African Union member countries will be twice the amount for Kenyans for each category except for East African citizens whose fees are same as for Kenyan researchers.

Affiliation Institution

Non-Kenyan researchers who intend to do research in the Country must be affiliated with a relevant Kenyan Public research institution.

A list of institutions approved for affiliation purposes is found online under institutions.

Private and foreign institutions can have a special collaborative arrangement with Kenya public institutions.

In such a case, the Kenyan institutions will be required to submit to the NACOSTI details of the nature of collaboration.

Ethical requirements

All research projects that involve human beings as research participants (e.g. clinical investigations, drugs, social behavioural studies, biological studies involving human organs or specimen) should satisfy the ethical standards for research.

These standards are provided for in the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct of Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects in Kenya (2004) which is downloadable from NACOSTI website, and any other applicable internationally recognized ethics guidance guidelines.

Letter of ethical approval from recognized local ethical research committees must be attached to the applications.

Field research by college students

Students registered in an educational institution in Kenya and intend to conduct field research should be introduced to the NACOSTI by their head of college/institution.

The head of college/institution should provide to the NACOSTI information all name(s) of student(s), subject of research assignments, area in which research is to be done and duration of the research.

Research in protected areas

Researchers intending to conduct research in protected areas (e.g. wildlife and forest reserves or other conservation sites) are required to obtain approval letter(s)/access permits from those institutions.

Alternatively, they can obtain the approval letters from agencies in charge of the said areas prior to submitting their research project applications to the NACOSTI for approval and clearance.

Access to and exchange/ Transfer of Materials and research

All experimental tests, analyses and investigational procedures of materials should be undertaken within Kenya.

Where it is proven that no capacity for particular tests, analysis, and investigation of a material exists in Kenya, or where exchange is needed for quality assurance purposes, the researcher wishing to transfer or export samples abroad for research purposes shall be required to obtain approval from relevant Government agency, which regulates the export of the materials that researcher intends to export/transfer.

Where there is no Government agency that regulates the export/transfer of such material is not there, the researcher shall write a letter of request for the exchange, transfer, acquisition or export to the Secretary, NACOSTI.

The request letter should be accompanied by a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) document signed by the researcher and the recipient institution abroad.

It should be accompanied by a certificate from the affiliation institution in Kenya indicating that the tests or analysis cannot be done in Kenya due to lack of the relevant capacity.

Monitoring and Evaluation of Authorized Projects

NACOSTI shall have access to data and the research premises of the project and it may from time to time visit the research projects to familiarize with the work going on and make appropriate recommendations on the project.

The affiliating institutions may give to the NACOSTI an evaluation of the preliminary or progress report and to indicate areas that need further action if necessary.

Training and Research Assistants

Research projects that will take over 3 years should have a training component for local personnel depending on the duration, nature and scale of the project.

It is generally disapproved to have non-Kenyan research assistants, particularly where it is obvious that Kenyans can be recruited for such tasks.

Work Permit/ Visa

Granting of a research permit does not in any way absolve the researcher from the requirement of a work permit or visa.

It is up to the researcher to secure the necessary work permit or visa before or upon arrival in Kenya.

Extension of a research permit

A researcher who wishes to continue with the research project, beyond the expiry date of the research permit, is required to make a request by filling the Research Authorization Extension Request Form (Form C) for an extension or renewal to the Secretary, NACOSTI.

The request should be made at least two (2) months before the expiry of the Permit.

Acknowledgement of Institution

Researchers are required to acknowledge Kenyan collaborators and/or participants on all papers, documentaries, and books were written/produced out of the research.

Kenyan Government research permit must also be acknowledged. The affiliating institution must be acknowledged and the address of the affiliating institution must be shown as the second address for the researcher for the specific research project.

Standing Research Clearance

Standing research clearance is given to public institutions to conduct research within its own mandate without having to submit an application for research clearance for each individual projects.

The research projects should be reported to the NACOSTI, by means of submission of annual reports and/or final project report.

Public institutions include government ministries, public research institutions, and foundations; universities and international UN organizations.

How to Apply for Standing Research Clearance

Institutions should apply to the NACOSTI by providing:

1. Information on the names and nationalities of directors/board members of the institution; Their mandate and core functions

2. Institution’s source of funds

3. The justification for requiring a standing research clearance

4. The planned research projects/programs

5. Details of research or professional personnel including their curriculum vitae and role in a specific research project;

6. An indication of any existing research collaborative arrangement with Kenyan or Non-Kenyan research institutions.

Termination of a research permit

The NACOSTI reserves the right to terminate, suspend or revoke a research permit in the event of gross misconduct or violation of the provision of these Guidelines or when necessary in the prevailing circumstance.

The purpose for research clearance to ensure that research is for the public good and for the benefit of mankind, and where the contrary is found to be the case then the research authorization can be discontinued by NACOSTI without any compensation.

Review and termination of Standing Research clearance

The Standing research clearance will be reviewed from time to time so as to assess the standing research clearance for possible termination where necessary.

Application checklist:

1. Complete application(all).

2. Photographs (all).

3. Payment receipt for appropriate fee(all).

4. Identity/passport).

5. Letter from a sponsor if not self-sponsored.

6. Letter of affiliation(all)

7. Letter from host institution abroad (Non-Kenyan).

8. Letter of ethical approvals (see guideline).

9. Research proposal

10. Company/institution registration & profile (see guideline).

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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