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Mak-Sida Annual Review Meeting 2017 Kicks Off

L-R: First Secretary Research Cooperation-Dr. Gity Behravan, Swedish Ambassador to Uganda-H.E. Per Lindgärde, Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and Director Research & Graduate Training-Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi interact during the Mak-Sida ARM Opening Ceremony, 2nd October 2017, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

The Makerere University-Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) Annual Review Meeting (ARM) has today Monday 2nd October 2017 kicked off under the theme "Multidisciplinary Research for Social Transformation”. The colourful opening ceremony was presided over by the Ambassador of the Royal Swedish Embassy to Uganda H.E. Per Lindgärde. The Ambassador was accompanied by his First Secretary in charge of Research Cooperation, Dr. Gity Behravan. After a brief courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe in his office also attended by Director, Directorate of Research and Graduate Training, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi, the officials then made their way to the Main Hall for the day’s proceedings.

Makerere University is implementing the US$32million Bilateral Research Cooperation agreement for a five-year period (2015-2020). The main objective of the research program is to strengthen the capacity of public universities to conduct and sustain high quality research that will contribute to the development needs of Uganda and beyond.

Welcoming guests to the ARM, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi shared that the event was organized to discuss and appraise research undertakings, share information and learn about developments in the fields of Research, Technology and Innovation achieved in collaboration with Kyambogo University, Busitema University, Gulu University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST).

L-R: Mak Director QAD-Dr. Vincent Ssembaty, Paul Vanderlind and Therese Rantakokko-ISP, Uppsala listen to proceedings during the ARM

“Your Excellency, I am proud to report our contribution to policy formulation at different levels including: The Energy Policy for Uganda; The policy on use of energy-saving bulbs; land amendment bill; various policies in health, such as policies on HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB treatment and control, National Gender Policy; policies on peace and conflict management and good governance and, National Compensation Policy for Avian Influenza. The Sida research programme has supported most of these initiatives” said Prof. Buyinza.

In his remarks, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked the Royal Swedish Embassy in Uganda for honouring Makerere by choosing the institution to host the joint Review Meeting every year. “Over the past 16 years of collaboration, the Swedish government has invested to the tune of US$ 73 million into Uganda’s graduate training and scientific environments in the public universities; the main recipient being Makerere University. The Swedish support has played a fundamental role in strengthening our capacity to deliver our core functions.”  

Prof. Nawangwe reassured Ambassador Lindgärde of Makerere’s commitment to consolidate the achievements of the previous phases while taking a multidisciplinary approach. “Your Excellency, I would like to assure you that Makerere University will optimally and appropriately utilise the allocated resources as well as ensure timely implementation of all activities.”

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L) hands over the Branded ARM folder to H.E. Per Lindgärde during the event in the Makerere University Main Hall

During the previous phases of the Makerere-Sida Bilateral Research Cooperation the University has successfully trained 210 PhDs, 95 Masters Graduates and 20 post-doctoral fellows. Under the current research collaboration 337 university staff from Makerere, Kyambogo, Busitema, Gulu and Mbarara University of Science and Technology have been recruited and will be trained in partnership with eleven Swedish institutions.

In his address, H.E. Per Lindgärde congratulated Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe upon his election as Vice Chancellor of Uganda’s oldest and largest research University. “I appreciate that you already are familiar with our bilateral research cooperation through your involvement with the program in various capacities from its very start in 2000. This is indeed an advantage and will be of great help for you in ensuring that the Makerere University will be able to provide innovative teaching, learning and research services that are needed for effective implementation of our cooperation. The Swedish Embassy is looking forward to working closely with you in this endeavor.”

The Ambassador admitted that although improving higher education was a complex challenge, the sector remains essential to Uganda’s development. He noted that it was time for the nation to reassess its policies and allocate the resources needed to make higher education the dynamic engine that can power Uganda’s economy for decades to come.

H.E. Per Lindgärde, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Dr. Gity Behravan, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi and other officials pose for a group photo with participants in the ARM, 2nd October 2017, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Dr. Gity Behravan in her remarks reiterated the Ambassadors for the need for Uganda to accord more priority to funding research. “The lesson learned here is that funding of universities cannot be a lesser priority for a nation. Further, funding cannot be left to international donors, it is not sustainable. The issue of funding universities is a matter of development of and for a country, and needs to be steered nationally.”

Addressing the partnering universities on research uptake, Dr. Behravan noted that it is important that research findings and innovations should reach beyond the university. She urged all researchers to not only inform existing policies but also aim at critically appraising them, so as to come up with policy alternatives based on the new knowledge arising out of their research.

She further urged the research communities in the partnering universities to establish synergies with other Sida-funded programs especially as the final phase of the Makerere-Sida Bilateral Research program approaches its end. She commended the Department of Mathematics for already embracing this strategy and going ahead to develop a regional PhD curriculum in Mathematics, which has already been approved by the National Council for Higher Education.

The Department of Performing Arts and Film led by Dr. Sylvia Nannyonga Tamusuza (2nd L) put up  informative and entertaining performances during the Mak-Sida ARM 2017

As part of this year’s ARM, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences will showcase research under the Social Sciences and Gender Research Day, moderated by: Dr. Andrew Ellias State and Dr. Consolata Kabonesa. The rest of the ARM shall be conducted in the form of meetings at the various colleges.

Article by Public Relations Office

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