Recognizing Scientists in Papua New Guinea

Lately there has been a rapid increase in the establishment of organisations or programs by PNG government trying to promote business growth in PNG. There has also been an increase in organisations specifically for women in PNG such as Women in business or Women in Science and Technology and the like. These are well intended and should be promoted and must continue to be promoted.

However, there has not been much publicity in the recognition or specific programs to promote science, research and technology in PNG. With the recent establishment of the Science Research and Technology Office under the office of the higher education, it is hoped the current situation will change. I know there are silent achievers in this country but science, research and technology growth as not been seriously addressed by the government or the industry that recruits science and technology graduates in PNG. There has been no public programs to promote science and technology to encourage more students to take up these as career pathways.

The lack of government funding for start up companies as a result from scientific research in PNG is well known. Of course PNG has other major pressing socio-economic issues to deal with but it is  well know from history that any innovation  or discovering leading to start up an industry starts from years of scientific research. It is truly then I think we can progress in our mindsets and be politically independent to some extent.

As for my own scientific organisation, the PNG Medical Society has grown too big to be managed effectively (my opinion only). It is only once a year that medical scientists come together. But the meetings are so big (>1000 attendees) that focus is on established researchers that young scientists are forgotten. However, having said these, I also think the medical scientists themselves are not promoting their work and encouraging others. Some are doing in a small way, but I think there is a need for larger public programs directed at promoting science and technology to the general public. For example, how about a specific government or scientific societies award event/night with media coverage!

I have decided that I may contribute my bit in promoting science, research and technology in PNG and have started a new blog The vision of the blog is to feature and profile PNG scientists, technologists and researchers and their work as a way to promote science and technology in PNG. Niugini kuru is pidgin for “new guinea brain” and I am hoping will showcase some of PNG’s top scientific brains.





About rodney itaki

Medical doctor and public health specialist from Papua New Guinea.
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