The Presidential Initiative for Science and Technology at Makerere University has undertaken several innovative projects under; the College of Engineering, Design Art and Technology (CEDAT), the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources & Biosecurity (CoVAB).
The initiative supports the university’s main priorities in the area of research and innovation as defined in light of scientific challenges, and the role of the universities as change agents in economic development of the country.
This was during the Presidential Initiative for Science and Technology Stakeholders’ Forum organized by Makerere University to engage Government, Development Partners, Science, and Technology regulatory bodies, Policymakers and Academicians to take part in stock of the progress thus far and discuss the way forward.
At the Forum held on 30th July 2014 in the Makerere University Main Hall under the theme: “The Presidential Initiative at Makerere University, an engine for realizing Vision 2040 through research and innovation” participants took stock of the University’s contribution towards the attainment of the Uganda Vision 2040.
The Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology was purposefully started in 2010/11 to enhance the development of science and research in the country, working through various bodies including the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST) and other various research stations across the country.
The Presidential Initiative has continued to benefit the university by contributing much to its core functions and supporting the two overriding principles of;
- A research-driven university where research and teaching and learning are mutually reinforcing; and
- Knowledge transfer partnership and networking where knowledge production and transfer is two way traffic between the university and the public and private sectors.
According to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, Science and Technology has created a platform for the university to contribute to national development through knowledge generation, innovations and transfer.
“A number of successes have been realized in all projects under the initiative and students under the technology innovations have produced exciting prototypes with potential for rural community production transformation among other benefits,” said the Vice Chancellor.
Through his speech read by the Vice Chairperson-Makerere University Council, Hon. Irene Ovonji-Odida, the Chancellor, Prof. George Mondo Kagonyera congratulated Makerere University upon the continued contribution to the development of science and technology in the Uganda.
“The progress made in this great institution signals bright future prospects for national development. I encourage all young innovators to continue looking at all developments with an optimistic and broad view so as to benefit both national and international audiences,” Prof. Kagonyera advised.
In her speech read by the Commissioner for Higher Education Mrs. Elizabeth Gabona, the Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Jessica Alupo acknowledged the impact of Makerere University’s innovations in transforming the lives of Ugandans.
“There has been a need to demonstrate the impact of science and technology on national development, and I am pleased that this has been highlighted by Makerere University.
I hope that five years from now with continued support from the Presidential Initiative, there will be even more valuable research products to showcase as has been demonstrated at the exhibition. I thank Makerere University for putting these funds to proper use,” said Mrs. Gabona on behalf of the Minister.
While taking the participants through the evolution of science and technology at Makerere University, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration (DVCFA) Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, appreciated the financial support from the government through the initiative.
He noted that prior to the Presidential Initiative Makerere University had engaged in several innovations but encountered a great challenge of inadequate funds, as required to transform these projects into market-ready products.
“I am happy to note that the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has directed a sum of UGX 25 Billion to be spread over a five year period for innovations, with UGX 5 Billion committed in every Financial Year Starting July 2010. Therefore we have been receiving this money every financial year,” said Prof. Nawangwe.
During his presentation on Boosting Technology, Education and Innovation, the Principal, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), Dr. Henry Alinaitwe, said the College had so far produced eleven technical innovations including the rehabilitation and modernization of laboratories.
These projects focus on the increasing relevance and practice experience of graduates; improving the University’s relationship with all sectors of industries as well as the private sector; development of online laboratories, and utilization of indigenous materials in the production of home-based products.
“The Presidential Initiative supports three components at this college namely; modernization of laboratory infrastructure, industrial training and innovative projects aimed at increasing and retaining a pool of highly trained professionals, and developing business incubation facilities to support commercialization of staff and students ideas,” said the Principal.
Prof. Tickodri Togboa, Principal Investigator-CRTT, CEDAT presents the Kiira EV’s production Masterplan, 30th July 2014, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda
Speaking on behalf of the technical team of the Kiira EV project, Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri Togboa, Principal Investigator–Centre for Research in Transportation Technologies (CRTT), shared that the Centre has a vision to take the Kiira EV project forward and establish the first original equipment manufacturing plant in Uganda and East Africa.
“Our ambitions are to commercialize the Kiira EV and as such we are concurrently working on developing the concept plan as well as a master plan of the facility where the car is going to be made. I am grateful to announce that through the Presidential Initiative, the Government has donated 100 acres of land located in the Jinja industrial and Business Park on which the Kiira Motors Cooperation complex shall be built,” said Prof. Tickodri Togboa.
The Food Technology and Business Incubation Centre (FTBIC) is the first University-based technology and business incubator in the East and Central Africa. In his presentation, Prof. William Kyamuhangire from the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Science (CAES), took note of the strides made by the incubator in transforming the lives of Student entrepreneurs.
“FTBIC offers services like processing infrastructure and space, research and product Development support, Technology transfer, Enterprise Development, Outreach and Skills Development. As a result 15 companies have been established and 20 brands registered with over 30 products on market,” Prof. Kyamuhangire said.
The Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa gives a passionate delivery about the SPEDA model, 30th July 2014, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda
The transformation of a country from a peasantry to a middle-class economy may at times call for a radical shift in training. In this regard, the Principal, College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Research and Biosecurity (CoVAB) Prof. David Kabasa introduced the Skills, Production, Entrepreneurship Development leadership and Academic accreditation (SPEDA) model, through which individuals, groups, students, households or communities are enrolled, nurtured and moulded to fit productively into society.
Prof. Kabasa said, SPEDA is a specific university-mediated scheme developed in support of national efforts, which is driving community extension, mass skilling and mass creation of business, wealth and employment opportunities through summative learning, skilling and enterprising and technology exchange to appropriate prosperity for all.
“Therefore as a College we are implementing this model of higher education to promote skills for production, employment and development in the animal industry among post-secondary school leavers through academic–community–public–private partnerships, in order to translate science and education into livelihoods and inclusive economic growth,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Private Sector, Prof. Maggie Kigozi, thanked Makerere University for all the wonderful research and innovations produced thus far. She however advised the university to aggressively promote these great innovations among the public and private sectors
“I would like to encourage Makerere University to try and market their products among her stakeholders, so that we come to know of their existence. So many things are produced here but we do not know about them! Please endeavour to provide more information and data about the products made,” she said.
The Forum ran alongside a two-day, (30th – 31st July 2014) exhibition at the Freedom Square. Students from three colleges; the College of Engineering, Design Art and Technology (CEDAT), the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), specifically the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) showcased various Science and Technological innovations.
These included the Kiira EV car, solar pumps, aerial drones, a straw bale making machine, dairy products honey products, liquid detergents made from animal fats, maize mills, sickle cell testing equipment, malaria treatment kit, rain water harvesting technology, mobile antenatal care, electricity from biomass, Nevirapine medicine modification for prevention from mother to child transmission of HIV, among others.