The Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) is the National Industrial Research, Technology and Innovation Institution under the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development. It was established in 1979 under the Science and Technology Act Cap.250, Laws of Kenya (which has since been repealed by the Science, Technology and Innovation Act, 2013), as a multidisciplinary Institution to conduct Research and Development in Industrial and Allied Technologies.
It should be noted however, that the Institute’s history dates back to 1942, when the then colonial government set up a central laboratory at Kabete, Nairobi, with the aim of initiating and developing industries so as to relieve shortages of industrial goods that had been caused by the Second World War. In the initial years, the Kenya Industrial Management Board (KIMBO) administered the laboratory. Later, as the laboratory expanded, its management was taken over by the East African Community (EAC) and renamed East African Industrial Research Organization (EAIRO).
The EAIRO, the predecessor of the present day KIRDI, had centres in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and ceased its operations in 1977 following the collapse of the first EAC. The National Industrial Research Complex under the then Ministry of Commerce and Industry subsequently took up the operations of EAIRO in Kenya. In 1979, the Science and Technology Act was amended to establish five Research Institutions, including KIRDI.
Since becoming a fully-fledged National Industrial Institution, KIRDI has undergone remarkable expansion and transformation. This is in response to changes and needs brought about by industrial markets and national development reforms in Government.