Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) is a national research institution established in 1979 under the Science and Technology Ac Cap. 250 of the Laws of Kenya now replaced by the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute Act, 2022 and mandated to undertake the following functions:-
- The Institute shall undertake research, development and innovation in industrial and allied technologies in; Civil engineering, Mechanical engineering, Electrical engineering, Chemical engineering, Textile technology, Industrial chemistry, Food technology, Ceramics and clay technology, Power resources, Mining technology, Natural products technology, Leather technology, Emerging technologies and Building materials technology.
- Advise the government on all aspects of industrial research, innovation, development, technology and policy.
- Develop an industrial research agenda based on indigenous technical knowledge, and contemporary and emerging issues.
- Collaborate with institutions of higher learning, professional and industrial associations, government agencies and industrial research institutions to advance technology, innovation and development.
- Disseminate and facilitate the application and commercialisation of research findings and technological developments.
- Facilitate the implementation of government policies on industrial research and development.
- Establish industrial research and technology transfer centres.
- Collaborate with other organizations and institutions of higher learning in the development of industrial research training programmes.
- Establish and maintain an industrial technology depository.
- Perform any other function related to industrial research, innovation, technology and development.
The history of KIRDI dates back to 1942, when the then colonial government set a Central Laboratory at Kabete, Nairobi. The laboratory aim was to initiate and develop industries to relieve the industrial goods shortages occasioned by the Second World War. The laboratory was administered by the Kenya Industrial Management Board (KIMBO), As the laboratory expanded, it was renamed the East African Industrial Research Organization (EAIRO) and later, its management was taken over by the East African Community (EAC), EAIRO, the predecessor of present day KIRDI has Centres in; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, It however, ceased its operations in 1977, following the collapse of the then East African Community and In 1979 an act of Parliament establishing the National Council of Science and Technology (NCST) was amended to establish KIRDI and 5 other research Institutes.