On Friday 12th February, 2021 Makerere University with support from the Government of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) commissioned a first-of-its-kind Research Private Cloud Computing facility. Worth UGX1.6 Billion, the facility is situated in the Directorate for ICT Support (DICTS) offices, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT).
Presided over by the Acting (Ag.) Executive Director, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Eng. Irene Sewankambo, the ceremony was also graced by Senior Research Advisor, Embassy of Sweden in Uganda-Dr. Gity Behravan and the Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe represented by the Director Quality Assurance-Dr. Vincent Ssembatya.
Present were the Director Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT)-Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi, Director DICTS-Mr. Samuel Mugabi and the day’s host, Principal College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS)-Prof. Tonny Oyana.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Mugabi thanked Sida for being a long-term supporter of developing the ICT function and capacity at Makerere University, right from establishing the optic fibre backbone network at the Main, Mulago, MUBS and MUARIK Campuses to offering training for DICTS staff.
“We are now moving into the Web 3.0 era where the state-of-the-art Research Private Cloud Computing facility will enable us to do high performance computing, serve as a data repository for all 17 Mak-Sida projects and prepare Makerere University for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).”
Prof. Oyana, Principal Investigator (PI) of the Mak-Sida Project 381: Integrating ICT-based support in Research, Teaching and Innovations, expressed deep appreciation to Sida for the continued good will and support to infrastructure development at Makerere University.
“We strongly believe that now an opportunity exists for capacity building in DICTS to develop relevant IT knowledge and skills to grow cloud-based computing and storage applications to supportMakerere University’s research” remarked Prof. Oyana.
In the same breath, he recognized the presence of the Dean, School of Computing and Informatics Technology (SCIT)-Assoc. Prof. Gilbert Maiga and the Team Leader, Mak-Sida Math sub-programme-Dr. John Mango Magero and urged them to encourage recent PhD graduates to start using the facility to host their cloud-based activities.
Project Co-PI, Prof. Uno Fors in his virtual address congratulated Makerere University upon the impressive installation, noting that Stockholm University (SU) had only recently received its cloud computing facility and as such, was not far ahead of its partner. He pledged that SU would support technology-based training of trainers so as to facilitate skills transfer over the internet. “When the pandemic allows, I will come over” he added.
In his remarks, Prof. Buyinza, also Overall Coordinator of the Mak-Sida Programme sincerely thanked the Embassy in Uganda, People and Royal Government of Sweden for the enormous support to Makerere University over the years. He further expressed gratitude that this support was now being extended to research data management through the new facility.
“This is a one-of-a-kind facility to create access, storage and security for our research data and I thank the Project PI Prof. Tonny Oyana for taking the initiative and showing us that it was possible to pull off this high-stake investment” he added.
Speaking on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Vincent Ssembatya noted that Sida’s cooperation with Makerere University goes back more than 20 years and was glad that the state-of-the-art facility was being commissioned in the period leading up to Makerere’s celebration of 100 years of existence.
He shared that the University had embarked on implementation of its new 10 year strategic plan, which seeks to consolidate Makerere’s position as the global knowledge hub at the heart of Africa, representing a major paradigm shift. “We have in the past been engaged in a number of activities and we now want to see how best to support other universities and the country through initiatives like cloud computing.”
Dr. Ssembatya sincerely thanked the Swedish Embassy and Royal Government for the generosity and support that took into consideration Makerere’s present and future ICT needs. He pledged the University’s commitment to fully utilize the facility.
In her remarks, Dr. Behravan reiterated that institution-building, postgraduate training, and the existence of an environment that is conducive for research and research training are all part of the holistic effort supported by Swedish research funding to Uganda since the year 2000.
She expressed the Swedish Embassy’s gratitude to Makerere’s Institutional approach to addressing developments in the ICT environment, as shown by establishment of the new facility. “Today we are witnessing the fruit of a cost-sharing partnership between Sweden and Makerere whereby the University has shown a strong ownership in implementation of its ICT Policy and Master Plan and securing the sustainability of the ICT system and services in line with its strategic direction.”
The Senior Research Advisor thanked the Vice Chancellor for working with the Swedish Embassy to ensure that Makerere has a sustainable and affordable ICT environment. She equally thanked Prof. Oyana, Mr. Mugabi and their respective teams for continued engagement and believing that the project could be successfully executed. Finally, she thanked Prof. Buyinza and staff at DRGT for the support and guidance accorded to the project team.
The Guest of Honour, Eng. Sewankambo thanked the project team for inviting her to not only grace but also witness the historic moment. The Makerere University alumna of Electrical Engineering paid tribute to her alma mater for always being a model research and innovation institution. “I applaud Makerere University for being out there and recognizing that we as a nation are growing.”
She shared that Uganda was already implementing her National 4IR strategy and the NDPIII has a specific programme on digital transformation. One of the programme’s objectives is to promote ICT research, innovation and commercialisation of indigenous knowledge products.
“I am happy to note that the National Conference on Communications is going be hosted by Makerere University next month. The Conference will bring together players from Government and Academia to ensure that research developed is relevant to the country” she said.
The Ag. Executive Director UCC thanked the Swedish Embassy and Government for the specific support to ICT infrastructure development and urged all stakeholders to ensure that they harness the immense brain power to carry Uganda forward.
Article by Public Relations Office
See Downloads for the Mak Research Private Cloud Computing Brochure
Project PIs & Accountants Urged to follow Budget Controls, Approval Structures & Policies
Principal Investigators (PIs), research assistants and accountants in the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) on 23rd November 2023 were equipped with knowledge and skills on Accountability protocols to increase their knowledge on managing funds.
The half-day blended Workshop which attracted 30 participants was officially opened by the Principal CoCIS, Prof. Tonny Oyana and facilitated by the Manager Accounts and Reports Makerere University Mr. Lubowa S. Gyaviira and the Team Leader, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Mr. Tom Vok Elwana.
The training highlighted the common accountability challenges, accountability procedures and approvals and submission of accountability reports.
Noting delays in accountabilities, Prof. Oyana said, he would like to see the college conduct research and grow big rather than being blacklisted by development partners and donors.
The Principal said, the college has established itself in four principle areas of research where it draws credibility namely; the Sensing Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Human Computer Interaction research and Information seeking research.
He observed that sometimes researchers under estimate the reasons to be financially knowledgeable and hence the need for the training.
“Everything happens because of money. If you are a poor manager of your money, then, you cannot pursue the activities you set. So, financial responsibilities and discipline are very important if you are to be a good negotiator”, He said.
Motivated by the need to build a system that is prudent and robust and building an inclusive place to learn, work and succeed, Prof. Oyana shared his experience of what he has learnt as critical.
“First of all, know your financial status and spend within those limits. Never destroy someone’s credibility. I also recommend responsible financial discipline and not to go by peer pressure.
The minute you indicate a budget, you have controls. You don not shift budget items from other controls. If you want to spend and move items that are 10% and above, you need to get permission from the treasury”, Oyana advised.
The Principal also advised researchers to learn and follow the approval structures and policies, stick to their values and ethics and, ensure funds are used for intended activities. He advised scientists to strive for excellence and make good returns to those that entrust them with the resources.
Prof. Oyana extended the call for discipline in the laboratories on grounds that laboratories run on ethics and honesty. He stressed that it is good practice to follow scientific evidence because Science does not depend on rumours but on data and evidence.
Oyana also urged every researcher to have a research gap, be visionary and ensure laboratories have good practices and procedures and, provide data and scientific evidence to back hypotheses.
He reminded researchers that the primary duty of research is contributing to the body of knowledge and secondly to train and mentor young scientists to contribute to their knowledge.
Accountability procedures and approvals
Giving an overview of Accountability procedures and approvals, Mr. Lubowa Gyaviira represented by Mr. Tom Elwana underscored the need for researchers to know the regulations for accountability when planning.
Key Accountability procedures as extracted from relevant laws, policies and procedures that govern public financial management include but not limited to; Public Finance Management Act 2015; Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act; Treasury Instructions 2017 and; Makerere University Financial Manual 2014.
Elwana said accountability helps to establish whether the funds advanced were used for the intended purpose and whether all documentation relating to the accountability was presented for review.
Section 10 paragraph 10.20.11 and 10.20.12 of the Treasury Instructions, 2017, requires all advances to be retired as soon as the necessity for their use ceases to exist or within sixty (60) days upon completion of the activity or by closure of business of the last working day of the financial year in which the advance was issued.
“The Makerere University Financial Procedures Manual 2014 under section 4.6.4 enjoins staff to account for all advances received within 14 days of the completion of the activity and in any case not later than 60 days.
Failure to comply with standing instructions leads to the withholding further advances; Recovery from payroll; and or Disciplinary action in accordance with laid down procedures”, he said.
Elwana explained that staff advanced funds should follow the accountability and approval process from the unit accountant to the Internal Audit/examinations and compliance office which delivers to the Secretary Directorate of Internal Audit, who shall ensure it is stamped received, recorded in the register.
He said, a report for accountability must be attached and receipts indicating clearly amount of advance being accounted for while outstanding advances at end of year will be posted to the general ledger to make up the funds balance.
“Balances on advances not utilized at the end of the work/research should be surrendered to the Head of accounts and a receipt should be issued.
Failure to submit accountability will necessitate refund of all unaccounted for funds by the implementer.
After clearance of all accounted funds, a Journal Voucher (JV) is issued to show clearance of total amount accounted for,” Elwana emphasized
Submission of projects to GAMSU, a MUST for implementation of any activity
Elwana told researchers that all project PIs must not only register their projects and budgets with the Makerere University Grant Administration, Management and Support Unit (GAMSU) but also submit quarterly reports to this unit.
“GAMSU has an application and is calling upon PIs to submit their projects for capturing in their data. Failure to be captured, they may not implement their activities”, Elwana warned
Makerere University established GAMSU, which is tasked with the responsibility of overseeing all projects and grants within the university. This measure, Elwana explained, was an agreement with Government to allow the university oversee and receive the grants instead of the funds going directly to the consolidated fund.
The key responsibility of GAMSU is to ensure that reporting is streamlined within the university. GAMSU requires quarterly accountability reports from all grants and projects.
Submission of all budgets by all projects and grants is also mandatory as part of the accountability reports required by the University and Government.
As a matter of emphasis, on submission of accountability reports, PIs were advised to pay attention to their MoUs since different funders have different requirements.
Detailed presentations from the training follow below.
ICT Bootcamp for Vacists (P7, S4 & S6), Students & General Public
Makerere University, College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) is the main ICT training, research and consultancy Centre in Makerere University and the region. The College runs a Center for Innovations and Professional Skills Development (CiPSD), through which the College addresses various industrial challenges, like skills development, incubation of new ideas and nurturing of new technology-based business.
CiPSD has organised an ICT Bootcamp to equip participants with hands-on tech skills. Practical sessions are open to vacists (P.7, S.4 and S.6), Students and the general public.
DURATION : 2 Weeks – Instructor Led (Hands-on practical training)
Start Dates : 20th/11/2023 (P.7 & S.4 ) | 04th/12/2023 (S.6 & Others)
CERTIFICATE : Each participant will receive a certificate at the end of the training
BOOTCAMP REGISTRATION LINK : https://bitly.ws/X9kv
TARGET AUDIENCE :
- Vacists (P.7, S.4 & S.6)
- Anyone interested in acquiring hands-on tech skills.
- Microsoft Office Suite, Internet & Online Collaboration – 50,000/= (2 weeks)
- Programming/Dynamic Website Design, – 50,000/= (2 weeks)
- Graphics Design & Image Editing – 50,000/= (2 weeks)
- Networking & Systems Administration – 50,000/= (2 weeks)
- Computer Repair & Software Maintenance – 100,000/= (2 weeks)
- 3D Computer Animation – 50,000/= (2 weeks)
- Computerised Accounting – 350,000/= (3 weeks)
PAYMENT PROCEDURE: To book your slot, go to the Accounts Office, CIT Block A, Level 2, and get a reference number. Proceed to any nearest bank and deposit training fees.
The Center for Innovations and Professional Skills Development (CIPSD)
Block A – Front Office/Block B, Level 5
College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS)
Tel: +256 753 200013/ +256 392 000180 / +256 782 512897
CoCIS CIPSD Short Courses Nov, Dec 2023 & Jan 2024
Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) is the main ICT Training, Research and Consultancy Centre in Makerere University. The College has six Academic departments comprising of the Department of Computer Science, Department of Networks, Department of Information Technology, Department of Information Systems, Department of Library and Information Sciences, and the Department of Records and Archives management.
In addition to the mainstream degree programmes, C0CIS has a specialized Center for Innovations and Professional Skills Development CIPSD) which delivers state-of-art training in ICT e.g. the Cisco Networking Academy for Cisco related courses, the Microsoft IT Academy Program for Microsoft related courses, International Computer Driving License course, Oracle Certified Training center for Oracle, Linux and Unix Training center. The College is also an authorized Testing center, operating under PearsonVUE and Kryterion. Listed in the table below are the courses currently offered at the Center with their next start dates, duration, and cost.
- For SENIOR 4 & 6 VACISTS at affordable fees.
- Utilize your vacation and achieve an international certificate to help your future career and stand out from the crowd.
- Nov 2023 / Jan 2024 / April 2024 / July 2024 (For all courses)
Tel: +256 392 000 180
Mob: +256 782 512 897
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