Makerere University on Friday, 14th June 2019 held the Inaugural Workshop for Deans and Directors in academic affairs under the theme “Building Institutional Capacity for Researcher Development, Funding and Management of Sponsored Research”. Organised by the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-DVCAA and the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT), the Friday event was the first in a series of training and sensitisation workshops for academic leaders at Makerere University, aimed at building a sustainable research culture and research management systems for quality and relevant research output. The workshops are supported by IREX's University Administration Support Program funded by Carnegie Corporation oF New York.
Welcoming participants to the Inaugural Workshop, the Director DRGT Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi shared that the University Management is committed to establishing Makerere as a fully-fledged research University over the period 2020-2030. This shall be achieved by placing emphasis on increasing graduate enrolment, establishing research infrastructure, strengthening research policies, mobilisation of research funding, fostering knowledge production and utilisation of research results for sustainable national development.
“This is the first in the series of training workshops. Similar ones for College Principals, and Heads of Academic Departments, Research Centres and Coordination Offices will follow in the course of the year,” added Prof. Buyinza.
Presenting the rationale for the workshop, the DVCAA Dr. Umar Kakumba who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe shared that it was a great pleasure to interact with colleagues who play a critical role in the academic affairs of Makerere University.
“Reputable Universities around the world are expected to be centres of excellence in research, innovations and knowledge or technological transfer for the wellbeing of communities and national welfare. Unfortunately research in sub-Saharan Africa has been undermined by deficiencies in research support systems, management and administration,” remarked Dr. Kakumba.
The DVCAA was however optimistic that a formalised Deans’ Forum, which was one of the expected outcomes of the Workshop, would nurture and institutionalise a vibrant research culture among research leaders and faculty. “We are here to inspire each other on how to excel in attracting grants and interacting with agents both within and without the country.”
Delivering the Keynote address on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Kakumba shared that universities the world over exist for the three fundamental purposes of: Generation of knowledge; Dissemination of knowledge, through teaching and learning; and Community outreach. He noted that research funding trends were steadily shifting from institutional core funding to competitive project funding and performance-based funding that rewards success in raising third-party funds.
The address also highlighted that at 38 researchers per one million people, Uganda falls way behind continental leaders Egypt and South Africa that reported approximately 679 and 437 researchers respectively for the same sample size. Scandinavian countries however reported figures above 6,000 researchers per one million people.
Nevertheless, it was noted that Makerere can take advantage of its historical brand as the region’s premier university as well as collaborations and partnerships with the world’s leading universities to boost its research potential. The University can also take advantage of its wide academic disciplinary specialities; at over 37% science, resident centres of excellence and alumni of high calibre spread across the globe to better leverage its research potential.
Chairing the first session on Research Governance and Organisational Capacity: Role of Central Research Office/Directorate, the Director Quality Assurance, Dr. Vincent Ssembatya while quoting the 2010 Association of Commonwealth Universities conference held in Cape Town, South Africa asserted that Universities must be “citadels not silos”.
“Universities are by nature made up of thousands of staff and students across various disciplines engaged in teaching and learning, research and knowledge transfer. They should be seen to fix the problems of communities that surround them” explained Dr. Ssembatya.
Sharing from personal experience, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi in his presentation revealed that the challenges of grants management are directly proportional to size; the bigger the grant the more the challenges faced.
“A Central Research Office is important in helping researchers to identify the potential risks associated with particular grants. Our research governance structure should be able to lead to enhancement of quantity, quality and relevant research output” said the Director DRGT.
Prof. Buyinza also shared that the revitalization of the Makerere University Press was timely, as it would help make institutional research more visible by translating findings and innovations into usable products for communities. He revealed that the Deans’ Forum would foster accountability as the research leaders freely exchange grants opportunities and effective management practices.
The second session made The Case for a Deans’ Forum: Effective Research Leadership for a Research-led University. The Dean School of Languages, Literature and Communication, Dr. Aaron Mushengyezi who chaired the session noted that the training workshops would inspire research teams and provide a platform for Deans to share best practices in resource mobilisation. He also called upon Deans to always share their grant writing skills with junior colleagues, “This will boost their confidence and motivate them to apply for more grants on their own.”
Quoting the SAGE Handbook of Research Management by Robert Dingwall and Mary Byrne McDonnell the session presenter and Dean, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze said “Research organizations particularly large ones such as universities may need units capable of doing both radical and incremental innovation.”
The same Handbook she said also notes that “innovation may be better placed in smaller organizations or smaller units within large organizations.”
Prof. Wanyenze shared that the MakSPH experience had shown that innovation thrives in diversity and oftentimes lies at the borderline of different disciplines. “If we do not reach out to those from different units, we could miss out on a lot of innovations” she explained.
Speaking on the capabilities that foster Effective Research Capabilities, Prof. Wanyenze said that scientific or scholarly credibility were no longer sufficient in today’s dynamic environment. “Dingwall R and McDonnell MB in their Handbook of Research Management describe five additional capabilities as; the Entrepreneur, the Networker, the Collaborator, the Mentor and the Multitasker.”
These capabilities, she said, could be developed by research leaders over time and/or achieved through appropriate team organization. The Dean further observed that teaching and research are synergistic and as such, delivering stability and small incremental change is required to address both. She nevertheless warned that cutting-edge research is inherently disruptive.
The third session of the day on Research Funding and Building Functional Networks for Makerere was chaired by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration)-DVCFA, Prof. William Bazeyo, a renowned grants mobiliser. In his remarks, the DVCFA thanked Dr. Kakumba for championing the Inaugural Deans’ Workshop and inviting him to chair the session.
He spoke on the importance of forging research networks, as these enable the collaborating parties to prolong the life of research and innovations beyond the duration and funding of projects under which they were nurtured.
“We must also establish an autonomous grants management system for all our units if we are to improve research management and output” added Prof. Bazeyo.
Delivering the presentation, MakSPH’s Dr. Roy William Mayega observed that whereas universities with their high concentrations of experts, facilities, ideas and mentors have a key role to play in research and innovations, funding that ensured sustainability and continuity of research remained a big problem. “Many low-income countries have not prioritised investments in research leading to weak research infrastructure and heavy reliance on grants.”
This was backed by a 2019 LASER-RAN assessment of 27 universities in Africa, which showed that over 70% of research funding originates from outside the continent. Whereas Governments were shown by the same assessment to contribute 9.7% of the research funding, the private sector at 3.8% made the least contribution.
Dr. Mayega also pointed out that research with no clear path to translation, disconnect with development priorities and inadequate grants writing capacity were threats to research in our universities. Others cited were; few super-experienced researchers, inadequate financial management capacity and bureaucracy.
“Our knowledge products are mostly academic publications that are not easily understood by funders. We need to translate our research into simpler language and impactful innovations” he explained.
Dr. Mayega therefore called for increased support to young researchers by putting in place grants targeting young scientists as well as supporting the publications and career paths of non-teaching research support staff. He also proposed increased internal cross-disciplinary networks, improved research-to-translation support and improved research support infrastructure as some of the incentives to help build functional research networks.
Charing the last session of the day, the Dean School of Women and Gender Studies, Dr. Sarah Ssali reassured the Deans and participants at the workshop that Makerere University was in the process of developing a policy on grants, which would incentivise more researchers and units to undertake research. “We will advocate for a policy that enables Schools or units from which the grants originate to share in or retain a good percentage of the overhead.”
Delivering the presentation on Incentivising Research & Researcher development in Universities, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Innovation & Extension and Acting DVCAA at Kampala International University (KIU), Prof. George Nasinyama expressed happiness to be back at his alma mater, an institution that he previously served as Deputy Director Research under DRGT.
Prof.Nasinyama revealed that there was a paradigm shift in the nature of knowledge generation from the Ivory Tower and its connotations of mono-disciplinary research to the Engaged University with its multidisciplinary, participative research that was uncertain and exploratory in nature. “However, there is also a third GloCal mode of Universities with local meaning but global reach, which place emphasis on clusters and networks and accountability to various stakeholders.”
He stated that many African Universities still faced challenges with massification and teaching overload which leads to the vicious cycle of ‘teach or perish’. This, he said, necessitates lecturers to rush from one overcrowded lecture room to another, resulting in reduced thirst for research (libido sciendi).
Prof. Nasinyama nevertheless said that researchers at Makerere University can be incentivised in three main ways namely; Government support to a research fund or through subsidy, Institutional incentives based on performance at either individual or departmental level, and support to researchers that bring income to the University by sharing overhead costs.
“In South Africa, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) provides a publication subsidy to universities of approximately US$9,000 per publication unit, which is equivalent to a peer-reviewed, accredited journal article or book chapter by one author. However, this scheme is absent in many African Countries” remarked Prof. Nasinyama giving an example of a Government subsidy.
At the conclusion of the Workshop, participants present, guided by the day's able moderator Dr. Patrick Byakagaba agreed to form a seven member Interim Deans’ Forum with the DVCAA Dr. Umar Kakumba as the Patron. Nominated members were; Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze-CHS (Chairperson), Dr. Edward Bbaale-CoBAMS (Vice Chairperson), Dr. Aaron Mushengyezi-CHUSS, Dr. Robert Tweyongyere-CoVAB, Dr. Grace Kibanja-CHUSS, Dr. Ronald Naluwairo-LAW and Dr. Gilbert Maiga-CoCIS.
Article by Public Relations Office
Rotary International President visits Mak
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.
At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted. President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.
President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims.
Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.
By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.
Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders
The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.
The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.
Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.
Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.
Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.
Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.
“Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.
The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.
The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.
At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.
“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.
On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.
Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.
“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.
Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.
Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.
She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.
Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.
She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.
On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”
At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.
She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.
“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.
Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.
“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.
Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.
He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”
Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.
Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.
Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”
Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.
“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.
The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”
She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.
The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.
Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal
The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25. For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.
Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.
Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY
Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG