The CSIR-Building and Road Research Institute (CSIR-BRRI) hosted the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Science and Technology on Wednesday, 22nd September, 2021. As a committee with the oversight responsibility of agencies under the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), there was the need to undertake this all-important visit in order to apprise members with the activities of CSIR Institutes so as to enable them both justify and defend the annual budget appropriations Council for Scientific and Industrial Research presents in Parliament.
In his introductory remark, the Deputy Director General of CSIR, Prof. Paul Pinnock Bosu, stated that the visit was to engage Management of the CSIR-BRRI to inspect the activities of the Institute, ascertain challenges facing the Institute, as well as opportunities available to the Institute whenever the need arose.
In his address, Dr. Emanuel Marfo, Chairman of the Committee, stated that as part of ways to understand what CSIR does, the visit was necessary in order to understand budgets presented by CSIR for appropriation as well as engaging the CSIR from an informed position in parliament. He intimated that strategic positioning and communication was key in making the activities of the Institute known to the general public. This would also enable policy makers to be abreast with what Scientists do, hence, bridging the communication gap. He continued that most importantly, CSIR needs to undertake an assessment of the socio-economic impact of their activities in relation to their contribution to GDP. This would therefore go a long way to put CSIR in the limelight.
Surv. Dr. Daniel Asenso-Gyambibi, Director of CSIR-BRRI, welcomed them to the oldest Institute of the CSIR. Geotechnical engineering, architectural design and construction, geomatic engineering, traffic and transportation engineering, survey and mapping, chemical analysis of construction and soils materials, and last but not the least, Pozzolana and clay products development are some of the Institute’s areas of specialisation as stated by Surv. Dr. Daniel Asenso-Gyambibi. As part of Pozzolana and clay products development, the CSIR-BRRI established a Pozzolana factory at Gomoa in the Central region. This factory sits on a 70-acre clay land but has, however, been inactive for some time. Dr. Asenso-Gyambibi requested the help of the Parliamentary Select Committee to revamp the factory in order to produce in large commercial quantities. An amount between two to four million dollars would be able to expand the factory to help boost production, the Director said. According to research, Pozzolana has better engineering properties as compared to Portland cement and will reduce the cost of construction by thirty percent. Essentially, the use of Pozzolana would go a long way to reduce the carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere which would help solve problems of climate change.
They were conducted round the Pozzolana Research Factory at the Fumesua Campus as well as the Ultra-Modern Civil Engineering Laboratory which serves the entire country and sub-region.
The West African Building Research Institute (WABRI), which is the forerunner of the present Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI), was established in 1952 in Accra to serve as potential support and adviser to Government during the Development and consolidation plans of 1951-1957/58 in which significant place was given to housing development schemes. Its activities were confined, however, essentially to the evaluation of the performance of foreign building materials under tropical environments.
In 1960, WABRI was renamed Building and Road Research Institute, under the then Ghana Academy of Sciences. In 1963, the Institute was moved to the campus of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to offer its expertise and services to the University. The institute’s mandate was expanded to include road research in 1964, when the need to provide research and development (R & D) support for road construction industry became pertinent.
Through researchers from a wide professional spectrum, the Institute has successfully carried out its research activities in the built environment, as well as in the area of road safety management to support the socio-economic development of Ghana.