Several universities in the country are struggling to replace retiring lecturers who hold PhDs.
The universities are grappling with a shortage of PhD qualified lecturers as some of them retire or leave for other jobs.
The revelation emerged during a two-day conference on funding research, which ended on Tuesday at University of Nairobi.
The conference brought together top scholars from Africa and donors.
The Commission for University Education chairman Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha challenged universities to produce professors who can supervise and offer quality education.
“Universities should have a viable staff training fund that is locally contributed and accessible to the young professors.
The funds will help develop and train young professors who will take over once the old ones retire,” said Prof Chacha.
University of Nairobi vice-chancellor Peter Mbithi asked the government to ensure that it contributes about two per cent of its GDP towards research as opposed to the 0.8 per cent it currently provides.
Prof Mbithi said greater collaboration with donors will also enable the institutions to grow their research kitties.
The conference was convened by the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa with a focus on uncontrolled expansion of universities, leadership and management of the institutions and under-funding among others.
Dr Alex Ezeh, the co-director of the consortium, said African governments had to invest in research for a knowledge economy to be a reality. “Developed countries have invested in research and we must do the same,” said Dr Ezeh.
In 2013, the government established the National Research Fund to provide a mechanism to mobilise resources for science technology and innovation funding.
A report by the commission indicates that for the last one year, close to 6,000 students enrolled in universities for PhDs, but only 369 graduated.
Kenya has less than 10,000 PhD holders, and requires 1,000 PhDs per year in order to narrow the student to lecturer ratio.
The conference brought together officials of Moi University and institutions in Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, US, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, UK, among others.