The five-year project which seeks to create an inter-university research and innovation community for early career researchers in Uganda was launched on Friday November 13 at the UCU Main Campus in Mukono.
Under the project, the partners seek to; strengthen the capacity of early career researchers in teaching, research, and innovations; establish an inter-university large-scale soft research data infrastructure; promote joint research and organize agenda-setting activities for cutting-edge research; and enhance research outcome dissemination by digital approaches to support policy and the national research and innovation agenda.
These are hoped to address key challenges facing research in Uganda including; inadequate capacity and perspectives of early career researchers, narrow inter-university research networks, limited and uncoordinated research and innovation-based solutions, and limited advances in modern research and innovation dissemination.
Speaking at the launch, UCU Vice Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, commended the UCU School of Research and Postgraduate Studies and the partner universities for the “comprehensive move to raise research standards.”
He appealed to the team to create networks with the external world to help them go further and emphasized the need for collaborative effort to ensure that their works are published in order to keep their relevance and have an impact in the society.
The Dean of the UCU School of Research and Post Graduate Studies, Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Kukunda Bacwayo, who is the Co-Principal Investigator in the project, said that they have considered training and mentorship so as to build capacity in research.
She said that Uganda needs mentors to boost research in the country and collaboration would help them to follow up graduates and revive research.
The program In-charge, Mentorship, Dr. Loice Natukunda, said that they are mentoring new breed of researchers to help boost research in Uganda. She added that they are making progress with mentorship program which started in July 2020.
Dr. Norman Mukasa, who is a researcher from Muteesa 1 Royal University encouraged the team members to carry out various of research initiatives about COVID-19. He said many times Ugandan researchers focus on excuses instead of utilizing opportunities presented by circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The launch was organized by Network for Education and Multidisciplinary Research Africa (NEMRA). But, the collaboration is a product of a joint application for grant, done by the three institutions, headed by Dr. Loice Natukunda (Makerere University), Dr. Medard Twinamastiko (MUST), and Dr. Norman Mukasa (MRU). It is funded by a grant from the Makerere University Research and Innovation Fund (RIF2).