Muliaro Wafula: Candidacy for CODATA Executive Committee

This is the eighth in the series of short statements from candidates in the forthcoming CODATA Elections at the General Assembly to be held on 9-10 November in Gaborone, Botswana, following International Data Week. Muliaro Wafula is a candidate for the CODATA Executive Committee as an ordinary member.  He was nominated by Kenya and Agriculture TG.

I am a Kenyan nationality who has served Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for 25 years. I am currently a member and the Chair of CODATA Kenya. I hold the following additional responsibilities:

  1. Chair, Technical Advisory Board of the Africa Open Science Platform Project funded by the South African government’s department, Science and Technology (DST), the International Science Council (ISC) and CODATA. (http://africanopenscience.org.za/?p=230)
  2. Member editorial board of the Data Science Journal (https://datascience.codata.org/);
  3. Member editorial board of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development;
  4. Chair, Innovative Open Data and Visualization Sub-taskforce of the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project sponsored by JICA;
  5. Chair, Training committee of the National Industrial Training Authority-Kenya (https://www.nita.go.ke/) ;
  6. Member, committee of the United Nations SDGs Agricultural and Climate Change Pillars of Kenya.
  7. Member, CODATA Data Policy Committee

I am currently the founder Director for the ICT Centre of Excellence and Open Data at JKUAT. I coordinate all ICT related Memorandum of Understanding between JKUAT and partners. I have served in the past as the ICT Director for 5 years and director of the Institute of Computer Science and Information Technology for 4 years.

I hold B.Sc. Science (Hons) (Kenyatta University), M.Sc Physics (University of Nairobi), M.Phil. Microelectronic Engineering and Semiconductor Physics (University of Cambridge –UK), Summer Doctoral Programme (Berkman Centre for Internet & Society/Oxford Internet Institute’s -Harvard University Law School), and PhD Information Technology (JKUAT).

I am a recipient of two IBM awards namely: the 2016 IBM Shared University Research Award on Open Data Cloud Project for JKUAT that has enabled JKUAT to be a frontier on building an open data platform for researchers in Africa, and the 2014 IBM MEA Award, for capacity building in Mobile Application development that enable JKUAT train and professionally certify a large number of application developers. I lead training on Big Data Analytics, Cyber Security, and Blockchain Technology.

I am professionally certified in various fields including Cyber Security, Mobile Application, ISO/IEC 27001:2005 Information Security Management System, Leadership and Management Capacity Development, Sage Accpac ERP Financial and Operations Management Systems, and ISO 9001:2000 on Quality Management Systems.

I am a fellow of the Computer Society of Kenya and the Cambridge Commonwealth Society. I have published a book see link at https://www.amazon.com/ICT-Policy-Strategies-Government-Sustainable/dp/3639515137  and several research papers in peer reviewed international journals. I have attended and participated in several data science, big data and open data trainings, workshops and conferences.

I am an Associate Professor of the Department of Computing at JKUAT and Director of the ICT Centre of Excellence and Open Data (iCEOD). As the director of iCEOD, accomplished the following key activities in line with CODATA objectives:

  1. Development and implementation of the JKUAT Open Research Data (JORD) Policy. This policy is now regarded as a frontier in Kenya and a reference for other research institutions to spur data revolution in Kenya and the region;
  2. Won the Kenya Open Data Champion Award 2017, thus promoting open science and data practices.
  3. Orghanized and hosted an international Data, Information and Scientific Visualization Conference in August 2018, called VizAfrica 2018 http://vizsymposium.jkuat.ac.ke/
  4. Designed and implementing a cloud-based value chain open data platform developed based on FAIR open data principles and standards in order to promote research data storage, preservation, sharing and reuse. The platform aims at:
  1. Promoting conformity to the open data principles, policies and standards.
  2. Linking and be linked to other open data platforms
  3. Offering data analytic and visualization tools
  4. Supporting and enable ICT Policies and strategies research for open development at postgraduate level.
  5. Enabling use of research data to accelerate achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Kenya and the region
  6. Establishing a call centre
  7. Creating an ecosystem of strictly research data.

The establishment of iCEOD played a leading role in getting JKUAT declared by the Kenyan Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology, as the ICT Centre of Excellence for the Northern Corridor Integration Project (NCIP) see link http://www.nciprojects.org/ that involves Kenya, Uganda. Rwanda and Southern Sudan.

If elected as a member of committee of CODATA, I will continue to promote CODATA activities and goals. I will contribute to the strategy of increasing CODATA national membership through the Pan African University Institute of Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation see link at http://www.jkuat.ac.ke/pauisti/  community that is hosted at my university JKUAT. Now that I am engaged in open data and data science research, and also having the experience of leading JKUAT to develop and implement both the open research data policy (JORD) and an open data platform, see link at https://opendata.jkuat.ac.ke/ , I am ready to share lessons learnt and possible best practices to be adopted through offering technical advice to CODATA community that need it. I am currently supervising postgraduate PhD students researching on open data and data science solutions towards achievement of SDGs in developing countries.

I am developing the Africa Open Science Framework that will guide African countries and institutions to develop open science polices. The Framework will be ready by November 2018 for launch during the International Data Week in Botswana.

 

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