Four abstracts have been selected for the KENET Computer Science (CS) and Information Systems (IS) Mini-Grant. The Mini-Grant attracted 35 submissions from 16 public and private Universities when the call was announced on March 26, 2018. The grant amounts to Kshs. 1, 500, 000 (15,000 USD) for each winner and lasts for 12 months, starting August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019. The area of focus for the grants were Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) and Big Data Analytics (BDA).
Out of the 20 entries in BDA and 15 in DLTs, two mini-grants were awarded per research area of focus. The Mini-Grant is intended to promote early stage CS/IS research and development in current and emerging research areas, as well as strengthen the CS/IS Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Early stage research was the focal point of the Mini-Grant to enable researchers to undertake proof-of-concept work to support Research and Design (R&D) ideas and concepts.
The winners worked in group led by the lead researcher while others had the option of submitting their individual research proposal. The winners represented five KENET member institutions; Africa Nazarene University, Murang’a University of Technology, Meru University of Science and Technology, University of Nairobi and Strathmore University.
The winners in the areas of DLTs are:
Dr. Andrew Kahonge, Lecturer and Researcher, School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi
Paper Title: “Distributer Ledger Technologies in Land Registry Transactions, a case for the Kenyan Context.”
Team: Dr. Evans Kirimi Miriti, Mr. Patrick Njuguna
Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director, @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University
Paper Title: “Digitize academic certificate using Blockchain to curb fraud: the case of a Local University in Kenya.”
Team: Mr. Richard Otolo, Ms. Eunice Maingi
Those who emerged winners in the BDA area are:
Dr. Amos Gichamba, Head of Department, Computing and Information Technology, Africa Nazarene University
Paper Title: “Development of a framework for Automatic Identification of Hate Speech on Social Media by leveraging sociolinguist features and text-mining techniques”
Team: Mr. Moses Karani, Mr. Edward Ombui
Prof. Geoffrey Muchiri, Dean, School of Computing and Information Technology, Murang’a University of Technology
Paper Title: “Real Time Survelliance of Crop Pests and Diseases Using Deep Learning Techniques”
Team:Dr. Eric Mworia, Mr. Daniel Memeu, Mr. Amos Kirongo (Meru University of Science and Technology)
The winners were selected by a panel of CS/IS experts based on some criterions including; relevance potential for publication in refereed journals and/or conferences, stakeholder buy-in, student engagement and awareness of and strategies to address/comply with policy and regulatory requirements.
At the end of their research project, the winners are expected to publish their work in reputable journals and grow a community of researchers. Hence, through this mini-grant, KENET hopes to not only support individual research teams, but to facilitate institutional collaboration and formation of communities of practice in the research areas of focus, leading to enhanced research capacity in member institutions.