KENET Awards CS/IS Mini-Grant Winners

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 KENET member institutions; Africa Nazarene University, Murang’a University of Technology, University of Nairobi and Strathmore University.  The winners in the areas of DLTs are:

·         Dr. Andrew Kahonge, “Distributer Ledger Technologies in Lang Registry Transactions, a case for the Kenyan Context.”

·         Dr. Joseph Sevilla, “Digitize academic certificate using Blockchain to curb fraud: the case of a Local University in Kenya.”

Those who emerged winners in the BDA area are:

·         Dr. Amos Gichamba, “Development of a framework for Automatic Identification of Hate Speech on Social Media by leveraging sociolinguist features and text-mining techniques”

·         Prof. Geoffrey Muchiri, “Real Time Survelliance of Crop Pests and Diseases Using Deep Learning Techniques”

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.