Scientists from Lira and Gulu University have received grants worth over UGX 952 million for 48 different research projects centering on sexual and reproductive health.
This was during award ceremony held on Tuesday 19th, July 2022 presided over by the vice-chancellors of the two universities from Gulu University multi-functional laboratories in Gulu City.
The grants were awarded by The Centre for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT) at the University of Michigan. Of the 48 grants each researcher or investigator qualified for $5,000 (about UGX 19 million) for a period up to November 2023.
Researchers under Gulu University got 28 grants including lectures, staff of Lacor Hospital, Gulu Regional Referral and some students in the faculty of Medicine, and 20 grants went to Lira University.
Gulu University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Openjuru George Ladaah applauded the team and thanked Dr. Pebalo Francis, a senior gynecologist and lecturer at Gulu University for working hard in linking the two Universities with CIRHT Michigan.
He said the seed grants would be complementary to Gulu University funding from government for research grants in the 2022/2023 financial year for science technology and innovation.
He also cautioned the researchers to use the funding well and ensure that they deliver in terms of publishing academic papers on their findings to support knowledge sharing on silent sexual and reproductive health issues in Northern Uganda.
“The most important thing is how these findings would help our people at the grass-roots because is the core of institution not just academic papers but impact on ground and in my view universities should heavily be vetted on the impact on ground,” Prof. Openjuru said.
The projects in Gulu University have Dr. Francis Pebalo as site Principal Investigators supported by Dr. Felix Bongomin as the research coordinator while Ms. Auma Grace Anna is the site Principal Investigator for Lira University team.
Gulu University separately have a commitment of $250,000 from CIRHT Michigan for research capacity building which the University already received $150,000 as part of the commitment coming in phases.
Meanwhile CIRHT Africa has given funding worth $250,000 to support two objectives that include Clinical Service Provision and Preservice Education to Gulu University which was fully utilized.
With the inclusion of $140,000, Gulu University has now benefited to about $630,000 from these collaborations.
Background to the collaboration
In 2020 Dr. Francis Pebalo, a teaching staff of Gulu University travelled to Rwanda for a FIGO conference and saw a call for proposals with focus on medical education, sexual and reproductive pre-clinical service provision with CIRHT-Africa. This led to linkages with CIRHT Michigan who asked for collaborations of the two universities resulting into the project acquiring a simulation laboratory in Gulu University.