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Press Release: The O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative



Monday 12 October 2020, 12:00 GMT

The O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative: Meet the team aiming to contribute to transforming the African research landscape

Pretoria, South Africa: The O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative (ORTARChI) is pleased to announce that it has selected the Initiative’s first ten host institutions and individual research Chairholders. ORTARChI is an initiative of South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), in partnership with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation (OATF), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and seven councils of the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI).

“For the next five years, the Chairs at these public universities in seven countries across the African continent will conduct research and support high-end skills development on a diverse range of topics including climate, public health, entrepreneurship and youth employment. Aligned to the global concept of research Chairs, these world-class researchers will not only lead multidisciplinary research teams, but also train the next generation of researchers,”said Dr. Molapo Qhobela, Chief Executive Officer, NRF.

ORTARChI provides five years of funding amounting to approximately US$15million, granted after a rigorous review process and in recognition of institutional excellence and capacity in identified disciplines; commitment to supporting high-quality research leadership; and talent; as well as to individual, internationally-recognised researchers.

In addition to the support provided through the grant for postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, funds will be provided by the NRF and the OATF for 55 African female doctoral students studying under the supervision of the respective Chairholders.“Through international and regional strategic partnerships, the Chairs will contribute to the development of long-term, mutually beneficial, research collaboration on the African Continent,” said Dr Jean Lebel, President, IDRC.

The Initiative

This initiative builds on the work of Oliver Tambo, a prominent South African and pan-Africanist with a science education background, who believed in creating change through education and in cooperation and solidarity among African nations.

“This is an important new chapter in the ORTARChI story. The initiative was first announced in 2017 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the most important leaders of South Africa’s liberation struggle, O.R. Tambo, who led the African National Congress during the years of exile. Tambo was not only a committed pan-Africanist but also an advocate of science and technology,” said Zengeziwe Msimang, Chief Executive Officer, OATF.

The ORTARChI is an opportunity to promote the values for which O.R. Tambo stood. These values include integrity, courage of conviction, diplomacy and humility. The initiative also recognises African excellence in the fields of study about which he was so passionate. Tambo not only believed in Africa as a centre for excellence, but also that it was and would continue to be the home of innovation and brilliance.

“Building on this legacy of O.R Tambo, ORTARChI will enhance the higher education system, promoting research and development in Africa. Of significance is the Initiative’s contribution to the development of mutually beneficial medium and long term partnerships between and amongst countries within and beyond Africa. As a collective, the Research Chairs will also leverage partnerships with the civil society, private sector, and government, a highly commendable approach to implementing excellent research,” added Prof VitóriaLanga de Jesus, Executive Director of Mozambique’s National Research Fund (FNI).

Media Invitation

Members of the media and the public are invited to the official launch of the Chairs on 27 October, as part of the 2020 Tambo Month Celebrations. The virtual event will be a panel discussion led by South Africa’s Minister of Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande and will be held on what would have been O.R. Tambo’s 103rd birthday.

Details of the O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative Launch:

Date: Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Time: 14:30 – 16:30 SAST (12:30 – 14:30 GMT)

To register for the event, please go to:

The Research Chairs

Below is the full list of the 10 research Chairholders and host institutions:

Research ChairholderInstitution and CountryThematic AreaResearch Focus of Chair
Prof Gizaw Mengistu TsiduBotswana International University of Science & Technology, BotswanaClimate ChangeClimate change and adaptation in water, vegetation and livestock resources
Prof Almeida SitoeEduardo Mondlane University, MozambiqueClimate ChangeEcosystems for arid and semi-arid zones
Prof Olga Lompo and Dr Samiratou OuedraogoUniversité Joseph KI- ZERBO, Burkina FasoHealth SciencesCancer and public health
Prof  Kwesi Firibu SaaliaUniversity of GhanaFood SecurityFood safety and quality
Prof Nathaniel BosoKwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, GhanaHumanities and Social SciencesEntrepreneurship and youth employment
Prof Gerald MisinzoSokoine University of Agriculture, TanzaniaFood SecurityLivestock health
Prof Noble BanaddaMakerere University, UgandaFood SecuritySustainable agriculture
Prof Stephen SyampunganiCopperbelt University, ZambiaEnvironment and DevelopmentEnvironmental management
Prof Imasiku NyambeUniversity of ZambiaWater ResearchWater quality and catchment protection
Prof Hulda SwaiNelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, TanzaniaNanotechnologyAnti-malarial drug delivery

Please see below for the full Media Release


Mak Listed in 19 of 60 Projects to be Funded under NORHED II



The Main Building, Makerere University against an almost clear blue sky. Date taken 15th March 2013, Kampala Uganda.

Makerere University has been listed in 19 out of 60 projects awarded funding under the NORHED II programme set to run from 2021 to 2026. Launched by Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) in 2012, NORHED is Norway’s flagship programme on higher education and research for development.

According to the announcement on the Norad website, 199 applications were submitted to the call, out of which 60 will be funded to the tune of NOK 1.1 billion. Uganda is also listed among the countries with the highest number of projects alongside Tanzania, Ethiopia and Malawi.

Makerere University is listed in a total of nineteen (19) projects applied for by Norwegian institutions namely; the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) – three (3) projects, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) – four (4) projects, University of Agder (UiA) – three (3) projects, University of Bergen (UiB) – six (6) projects, University of Oslo (UiO) – two (2) projects, and The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) – one (1) project.

Makerere was listed most in Sub-programme: 3. Climate Change and Natural Resources (6 projects), followed by Sub-programme: 5. Humanities and Social Sciences (5 projects), Sub-programme: 1. Education and Teacher Training (4 projects) as well as Sub-programme 2. Health and Sub-programme: 6. Energy with two projects apiece. Below is the breakdown of the list in five of the six respective sub-programmes, excluding Sub-programme: 4. Political and Economic Governance where there was no project listed.

 Project titleApplicant organizationProject partners in Global South
Sub-programme: 1. Education and Teacher Training (4 projects)
1CABUTE – Capacity Building for Research-Based Teacher EducationUniversity of Bergen (UiB)Makerere University, Kyambogo University, UNITE – The Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education
2Transformative Education and Lifelong Learning for Sustainable GrowthUniversity of Agder (UiA)Jimma University, University of Rwanda, Makerere University
3Mathematics for sustainable development.University of Bergen (UiB)University of Dar Es Salaam, Makerere University
4Decolonizing Epistemologies: the Disciplines and the UniversityUniversity of Bergen (UiB)Makerere University
Sub-programme: 2. Health (2 projects)
5iCARTA – Institutionalisation of Advanced Research Training in AfricaUniversity of Bergen (UiB)African Population and Health Research Center, University of Malawi, University of Rwanda, University of the Witswatersrand, Makerere University
6Climate Change and Infectious Diseases – A One Health ApproachThe Arctic University of Norway (UiT)University of Bahr ElGhazal, Makerere University
Sub-programme: 3. Climate Change and Natural Resources (6 projects)
7Environmental Risk Management under Increasing Extremes and UncertaintyNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)Haramaya University, Institute of Resource Assessment, University of Dar es Salaam, Uganda Marty’s University, Makerere University
8Climate smart agriculture in Sub-Saharan AfricaNorwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)Wondo Genet college of Forestry and Natural Resources – Hawassa University, University of Juba, Makerere University, Gulu University, University of Zambia,
9Enhanced Capacity for Aquatic Resources in East and South AfricaNorwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)University of Nairobi, Mbeya University of Science and Technology, Egerton University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Eduardo Mondlane, University of Dar Es Salaam, Makerere University, University of Zambia
10Water ESSENCE Africa – creating synergy to meet the global challengesUniversity of Bergen (UiB)Addis Ababa University, University of Ghana, University for Development Studies, University of Nairobi, Machakos University, University of Rwanda University of Juba, Makerere University
11Co-creating knowledge for local adaptation to climate change in LDCsNorwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Pokhara University, University of Eduardo Mondlane, Makerere University
12Adaptive Environmental Monitoring Networks for East AfricaNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)University of Juba, Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology, Makerere University
Sub-programme: 5. Humanities and Social Sciences (5 projects)
13Refugees on the Move – South Sudanese in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda.University of Bergen (UiB)Addis Ababa University, University of Juba, University of Khartoum, Makerere University
14Medical and environmental anthropology for 21st century East AfricaUniversity of Oslo (UiO)University of Nairobi, Maseno University, Kenya Medical Research Institute, National Institute for Medical Research – Tanzania, Makerere University, University of Dar Es Salaam
15Building Resilient Communities through Inclusive Education in East AfricaUniversity of Agder (UiA)University of Rwanda, Institute of Social Work – Tanzania, Makerere University
16Gender and digitalization across context (GENDIG)University of Agder (UiA)University of Dar Es Salaam, Makerere University
17Partnership for Peace: Better Higher Education for Resilient SocietiesUniversity of Oslo (UiO)African School of Economics – Benin, Universidad de los Andes, Mekelle University, Birzeit University, Makerere University
Sub-programme: 6. Energy (2 projects)
18Capacity building for socially just and sustainable energy transitionsNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)University of Nairobi, University of Juba, Makerere University
19Energy Technology NetworkNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)Addis Ababa University, Mekelle University, University of Malawi, University of Eduardo Mondlane, University of Juba, University of Dar Es Salaam, Makerere University

Please click here to view the full list.

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UiB sweeps NORHED II funding



WATER WORLD: Archaeologist Tore Sætersdal (right) leads the Water ESSENCE Africa project, which was awarded NOK 18.5 million in the NORHED II call. The image shows him in 2013 at Makerere University, which is a partner in this and five other NORHED II projects with the University of Bergen. Photo: Sverre Ole Drønen, UiB

By Sverre Ole Drønen

NORHED is Norway’s national flagship programme on higher education and research for development. NORHED II represents the second time the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) awards funding through the programme. A total of 1.1 billion Norwegian kroner (NOK) were awarded to a total of 60 projects out of 199 applications, of which NOK 250 million were awarded to 13 University of Bergen (UiB) projects. This puts UiB top among Norway’s universities along with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), which was also awarded 13 projects.

The aim of the NORHED programme is to strengthen the capacity of higher education institutions in the global south to produce higher-quality graduates, more research, higher quality research, and more inclusive higher education. The programme is based on a collaborative partnership model between higher education institutions in Norway and the global south.

Makerere University in Uganda is involved in six projects, most of any partner in the global south. These include;

  • Mathematics for sustainable development,
  • Refugees on the Move – South Sudanese in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda,
  • Capacity Building for Research-Based Teacher Education (CABUTE),
  • Water ESSENCE Africa – creating synergy to meet the global challenges,
  • iCARTA – Institutionalisation of Advanced Research Training in Africa, and
  • Decolonizing Epistemologies: the Disciplines and the University

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Agriculture & Environment

My Academic Journey



Article Author Ms. Irene Bayiyana. Photo: RUFORUM

My name is Irene Bayiyana and I am one of the RUFORUM Alumni. I am an agricultural economist, with a master’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics and a PhD in Economics. Currently, I am working as a Research Officer/Agricultural Economist based at the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO)/ National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) – Namulonge. When I attained a bachelor’s degree, I worked as an assistant research fellow under Prof. Johnny Mugisha in the Department of agribusiness and natural resource economics at Makerere University. Through Prof. Johnny Mugisha, I got to know about the RUFORUM Grant on “Assessment of spatio-temporal bovine migratory routes and Transboundary animal disease infestation in Uganda”. Since I had the interest to advance my career, I applied for the scholarship

After my admission for the master’s degree, I wondered! what next? The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) had only offered a partial scholarship catering for only my tuition and part of research funds. RUFORUM scholarship covered my stipend, research balance and funds to attend the 2012 RUFORUM Biennial conference thus enabling me to complete my master’s degree.

I was able to realize my dream of becoming a good scientist in 2012 at the RUFORUM Biennial Conference. Through the facilitation to attend several conferences, RUFORUM gave me a chance to interact with a broad spectrum of scientists from whom I learnt and received positive criticism and feedback on what I was doing. Moreover, the encouragement and support from different scientists that I interacted with also spurred me on as an upcoming scientist.

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