Speech: The 2014 Au-Twas Young Scientist National Award

Home / Speech: The 2014 Au-Twas Young Scientist National Award



  • Hon. Vincent Ghambi, MP., Guest of Honour and Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology
  • The Director of Ceremonies, Mr. Symon Mandala
  • Dr. Maurice Monjerezi, the 2014 AU-TWAS Recipient
  • Colleagues from the Ministry  and the Commission
  • Distinguished invited guests;
  • Our dear students;
  • Members of the Press
  • Ladies and Gentlemen.

Director General assisting the Deputy Minister to present the CertificateLet me join the Director of Ceremony in extending a special welcome to you all, and to thank you for being with us this afternoon. I would particularly like to thank you, Honourable Deputy Minister, for your presence, we feel greatly honored that you found it necessary to be part of this important gathering this afternoon, despite the tight schedule.  We are aware, that you arrived in the country just yesterday, and here you are with us, which in our view reaffirms, the political will that we cherish so much in the promotion of science, technology and innovation in the country. Honourable Deputy Minister, ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here this afternoon to celebrate the achievements that our young researchers continue to register in the field of science and technology. Allow me therefore to briefly talk about the National Commission for Science and Technology and also share with you a few of our programmes. The Commission was established by an Act of Parliament, as an advisory body to government and all stakeholders on matters of science, technology and innovation. While the Act that established the Commission was passed in 2003, but we became operational as an institution, just as recently as 2010. We envision ourselves as a lead institution in the advancement of science, technology and innovation with a mandate to coordinate, promote, support, and to some extent regulate matters pertaining to science, technology and innovation in the country. Honourable Deputy Minister, ladies and gentlemen, in pursuance of its mandate, the Commission implements a number of activities that have a bearing on research and development as well as the inculcation of a science and technology culture. Let me therefore share with the audience a few of our programmes:-

  • We have the national research and dissemination conference, which affords researchers and technologists to interact and share their achievements in the area of science and technology, besides promoting beneficial networks;
  • Besides coming up with priority research areas, the Commission also supports the implementation of some research programmes, like the Confined Field Trials on bt-cotton currently underway at Bunda Campus of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR);
  • We have supported capacity building programmes, and through this we have supported students
    to do their first degrees, masters and even PhD especially in the area of health. This is besides supporting specialized training that has taken place at various constituent colleges of the University of Malawi, as well as Mzuzu University among other institutions;
  • For the first time the Commission in collaboration with the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, initiated the National Science and Technology Fair, and through this we afford the researchers to interact with the industry. We are proud that the MCCCI has adopted this idea and the third of such National Science Fairs will be held in Blantyre starting this Wednesday 22nd October;
  • The Commission also conducts needs assessment exercises of research and development institutions so that it implements activities that are responsive both to society and the needs of the science and technology sector;
  • We also facilitate and support capacity building programmes, both financially and technically. Such programmes have focused on intellectual property; research proposal writing; innovative teaching using locally available resources; bioethics; among others. These programmes have mainly drawn participants from the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi; Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Mzuzu University.

Our Guest of Honour, ladies and gentlemen, let me now turn to the African Union and the World Academy of Sciences, also popularly known as the AU-TWAS Award, which is the main business that has brought us here today. This is an annual competition managed by the National Commission for Science and Technology. The AU –TWAS Award is an African Union Scientific Awards Programme which was established by the African Union in collaboration with the World Academy of Sciences. The objectives of the award are:

  • To celebrate the achievements of African   scientists on national, regional and continental levels;
  • To promote efforts to transform scientific research into entrepreneurship;
  • To create research centers of excellence;
  • To raise the strategic profile of science, technology and innovation; and finally
  • To build a scientific culture amongst African citizens.

The Award has three categories namely:-

  1. The African Union, World Academy of Sciences Young Scientist National Award which is competed for by Malawians who are below the age of 40 years and is administered nationally by the National Commission for Science and Technology, the prize money of which is USD5,000 and that’s the one we have awarded our distinguished researcher, today;


  1. The African Union Women Scientist Regional Award which is competed for by women in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and this is administered  by SADC, the prize money of which is USD20,000 ;


  1. The African Union Scientific Award, which accommodates all the African Scientists regardless of sex and age limit and is administered by the African Union Secretariat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with a prize money of USD100,000.

Honourable Deputy Minister, Ladies and gentlemen, the AU-TWAS Young Scientist awardee, Dr. Maurice Monjerezi, we have just decorated today is the 10th recipient of the award. Dr. Monjerezi is an Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at Chancellor College. I must add that Chancellor College tops the list of aDr. Monjerezi Receiving his certiicate from the Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Vincent Ghambi, MP. (1)wardees, followed by College of Medicine.   Honourable Deputy Minister, ladies and gentlemen, while we continue doing well under the Young Scientist National Award, we have not produced a single winner in the other two categories, thus the African Union Women Scientist Regional Award and the African Union Scientific Award, which attract cash prizes of USD20,000 and USD100,000 respectively, which is worrisome in a way. I therefore wish to report that the will be exploring ways of encouraging our scientists, not only to take part but to win such regional and continental awards.   Guest of Honour, let me once again congratulate Dr. Maurice Monjerezi for this achievement. Let me also encourage the young girls who are here with us, and all school going youths throughout the country, to take science seriously and continue working hard. I can assure you, with hard work, nothing is impossible.   Honourable Deputy Minister; Director of Ceremony; invited guests; dear students; our distinguished award recipient; members of the press; ladies and gentlemen; with these remarks, it is my singular honour and privilege to request the Guest of Honour to address us all.   -Honourable Deputy Minister, Sir-