The Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) on Wednesday this week conducted a consultation meeting with the Catholic University of Malawi and the Chancellor now the University of Malawi on a Masters in Biodiversity Informatics programme yet to be introduced at the University.
Speaking during the consultation meeting a Lecturer at MUST, Dr. Tiwonge Gawa said the new Master’s programme, will help Malawi in decision making as far as Biodiversity matters are concerned in the country.
Dr. Gawa added that the programme will help the country in making Biodiversity data available to the public and allow scholars to look for areas of further research.
“The problem we have in our country is that, we have people with information on Biodiversity but they are so possessive that they are not willing to share with others, so this Masters programme will help scholars to be publishing their research and not keeping the findings in their laptops or with their supervisors,” said Dr. Gawa.
Concurring with Dr. Gawa, a lecturer at the Catholic University of Malawi, Professor Victor Chipofya said the new programme at MUST will help in creating a Biodiversity database for Malawi.
“The programme is important in the context that it will help researchers in Malawi to access data that is published at the same time providing areas they can venture into in conducting Biodiversity research in Malawi,” said Professor Chipofya.
He then urged institutions of higher learning and scholars in Malawi to make use of the database that will be created and to explore areas that need to be researched on Biodiversity.
One such facility that offers a global database on Biodiversity is the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) website that has 532 datasets with 56 datasets being published for Malawi.
GBIF shows that 4 countries published data for Malawi and only 10 in Malawi were able to published Biodiversity data.
The two-year Master’s in Biodiversity Informatics at MUST will cover Water Management, Environmental Management, Public Health just to list some.