Volume 10 Issue 2 (2021)

Laboratory Technology: A “Neglected” but Unique Interdisciplinary Tool helping to Enhance Scientific Research and Development in Academic and Research Institutions in Africa

pp. 99-115  |  Published Online: December 2021  |  DOI: 10.22521/unibulletin.2021.102.1

Albert Koomson, Jonathan Ntow, Prosper Dordunu, Emmanuel Birikorang, Douglas Tetteh Ayitey

Abstract

Background/purpose – Laboratory Technology has helped to enhance teaching, as well as scientific research and development worldwide. This review aims to reveal why there is “neglect” and a “disconnect” between laboratory technologists/technicians in academic and research institutions with their respective management and higher authorities regarding their roles and responsibilities, and puts forward suggestions to some of the challenges faced.

Materials/methods – The review was conducted by briefly adopting both Arksey and O’Malley’s (2005) framework and the PRISMA item checklist with some modifications. Information was obtained from the Web of Science Core Collection (WoSCC), JSTOR, and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) bibliographic databases, as well as via Google Scholar and the Google search engine.

Results – The review highlights that the unique interdisciplinary nature of laboratory technologists/technicians’ roles should be afforded greater attention according to their diverse working environments. The challenges currently faced could be addressed through the formation of national regulatory and representative bodies for efficient governance in this area, to enhance both quality and performance, to create and implement a governance framework and associated policies, to bolster capacity building and training, consolidate self-administration and enhanced awareness of the role, quality assurance, accreditation, and regulations as well as to conduct high quality research related to laboratory operations.

Conclusion – This review suggests that a salient multifaceted approach could help foster a harmonic nexus among university laboratory technologists/technicians in scientific research and development. Finally, the paper reveals that academic and research institutions both in Africa and worldwide could meet today’s essential needs and champion sustainable development if laboratory staff were afforded appropriate and commensurable recognition.

Keywords: Academic, Africa, interdisciplinary, laboratory technology, scientific research.

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