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“TAITASPACEWEATHER”: TTU WINS THE CHAIR OF OPERATIONAL SPACE WEATHER AWARD BY THE KENYA SPACE AGENCY



Following the tight competition for a space research grant involving Kenyan universities, the Chair of Operational Space Weather has been awarded to Taita Taveta University (TTU) by the Kenya Space Agency (KSA). This inspiring announcement was made by the Chair of the selection and award committee on September 30, 2020, 12:30 EAT. This grant comes with an initial award of five million Kenya Shillings to start off the research and teaching activities that TTU proposed under the title “TAITASPACEWEATHER” and tagline “Improving the capacity, quality and access of Operational Space Weather research, training and daily application in Kenya”. The TTU team defended the proposal on September 28 virtually and was accompanied by representatives from her collaborating institutions in Kenya: Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT) and the University of Eldoret. “Co-created and scientific win-win solutions from operational space weather research are healthy for quality life and peaceful coexistence on Earth,” so went the opening to the defence fronted by TTU.
Operational space weather is a crucial area of advanced space research. It is concerned with the space-time varying conditions within the Solar System, including the solar wind, mainly focused on the space surrounding the Earth and the variable conditions in the magnetosphere, ionosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere. These varying conditions affect human health and safety, communication, powerlines, long pipelines, among others. The Sun, which claims more than 99% of the mass of the entire solar system, is the main trigger of these conditions. This newly funded space research will have important implications for the attainment of Kenya’s Vision 2030, the Big Four Agenda, and all the SDGs.
“To utilise the full potential of space for humanity’s safety and progress is to understand how the solar system influences life on Earth. From antiquity, incremental or transformational advances in civilisation have been the direct or indirect product of the influence of the Sun on Earth, being the ultimate source of energy. There still resides huge unexploited potential that demands humanity’s sophisticated understanding of the solar system and the four mysteries of the cosmos: light, gravity, space and time or space-time. The concept of space and time, from which we derive the term “spatial” and “temporal” respectively, together form the fundamental space-time or “spatio-temporal” philosophy for abstracting, organising, perceiving, and interpreting the world,” so went the introductory part of the winning proposal.
TTU sustains a vibrant and growing teaching, research and international momentum in her progressive network of productive local and international collaborations for public-facing research and quality education. Some ongoing and key international teaching and research collaborations with Finland, Germany, and Russia include TAITAGIS (Geoinformatics education and research with the University of Helsinki), CEMEREM (DAAD-funded mining, environmental engineering and resource management teaching and research with HTW-Dresden and TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany), TAITASMARTLAND (environmental sustainability and atmospheric research), and Expeditious Geomonitoring Group (geomonitoring and spatial modelling research for sustainable development with the National Research University Higher School of Economics). Esri and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) are among the key industry partners of TTU for promoting geospatial research.
The excellent efforts of the project team at TTU towards securing this award are highly appreciated.


11 thoughts on ““TAITASPACEWEATHER”: TTU WINS THE CHAIR OF OPERATIONAL SPACE WEATHER AWARD BY THE KENYA SPACE AGENCY

  1. Sincere congratulations TTU on the well-deserved success. You have again proved that TTU indeed is the home of ideas. Good job guys!

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