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Natural Sciences

CoNAS Annual Report 2020



Welcome to the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS); I have the pleasure to present to you our Annual Report for the year 2020.We thank the Almighty for taking us through a year of difficulty owing to the Covid19 pandemic which severally affected work at the university, nationally and globally. This is my 10th year serving as Principal of the College of Natural Sciences; I thank all the staff and leadership through the years for the support and hard work. We have been able to take the college to greater heights.

Our niche as a constituent College of Makerere University is teaching and carrying-out research in the basic and applied sciences. As you read this report, you will see many examples of how the College applies its expertise to serve our learners, Makerere University and Uganda as a nation through our teaching and research for a better future. All our work is premised on six strategic goals that guide the CoNAS 2020-2030 Strategic Plan: Goal 1: To increase the capacity of the College to train scientists for the country, the region and beyond Goal 2: To increase the number of demand driven high quality science programmes Goal 3: To strengthen demand driven scientific research and make the college more relevant to national development. Goal 4: To improve the operational efficiency of the College Goal 5: To create a conducive academic environment for students and staff and Goal 6: To maintain high academic standards that are recognized internationally.

Irrespective of the challenges arising from the Covid19 pandemic and curtailing of our work because of a lockdown for most of 2020, we are glad that our staff were able to produce multiple research papers, implement their research and still impart knowledge to our learners via ODEL supported by the Makerere University E-learning Environment online. This is the new normal and we have all had to adapt quickly and continue with our work as best as possible. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the College administration, staff and students for their continued support and participating in the activities of the College. Your hard work ensures that the College is able to move forward in realising its strategic goals.

As a requirement by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and University Senate, the College of Natural Sciences finalised review of its programmes and these have been to Senate and approved. From our research work by staff and students, the college has registered multiple research publications. The college realised a number of promotions as well as new recruitments to replace retiring staff and also fill gaps where staff had either resigned or died. I take this opportunity to recognize Prof. Deborah Baranga (Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences) and Prof. Sylvester Nyakana (Department of Plant Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology) who have served CoNAS and Makerere University diligently and rising through the ranks.

All that we have achieved through the year would not be possible without support from Government of Uganda, University Administration and partners, this we cannot take for granted. We hope for better in the year 2021 after the challenges of 2020.

As We Build for the Future

Professor J.Y.T Mugisha

Natural Sciences

Academia Encouraged to Take Lead in the National STI Ecosystem



1st National Policy Forum for Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Advancement for Development was organised by the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, 26th - 27th August 2021.

The First National Policy Forum for Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) ended with calls for academia in Uganda to take lead in the STI ecosystem by identifying talent, knowledge management as well as creation of links with industry to support innovations. This is based on the effective models witnessed across the world as associated with the universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Stanford in the United States of America, and University of Cape Town in South Africa. It was reiterated that a better STI ecosystem will help catalyze national development for Uganda.

Makerere University through its College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) organized, hosted, and virtually held the 1st National Policy Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovations (STIs) Advancement for Development on the August 26th and 27th, 2021 under the theme “Positioning STI to address emerging threats to national development”. Makerere University deemed it strategic to initiate a national multi-stakeholder dialogue with an aim of contributing to the discourse on the role of STI in socio-economic transformation of the country even in the face of global and national challenges such as Covid–19. Assoc. Prof. Arthur Tugume, Head – Department of  Plant Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology chaired the organizing team.

In the opening remarks delivered by the Deputy Vice Chancellor/ Academic Affairs, Makerere University Prof. Kakumba Umar on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University; Prof. Nawangwe Barnabas, he said ‘ Makerere is well positioned with capacity to support STI for national development in Uganda’. He thanked H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for the vision in establishing the Presidential Initiative for Science and Technology that benefited various colleges of Makerere University and enabled staff as well students to initiate innovations like the KIRA E.V. at the College of Engineering, Design, Art, and Technology. ‘The Government of Uganda has further committed 30bn Uganda shillings towards the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) that has supported over 700 projects since 2019’, as an institution, Makerere University is very grateful for this support, the Vice Chancellor noted.

The forum was officially opened by Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero – Minister for Science and Technology, who was the Chief Guest of the conference. In her speech, she thanked the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University and CoNAS for taking lead in the direction of STI especially during the Covid19 pandemic which has affected nations greatly. The Minister advised that ‘publication of research papers is good however, written material is not enough. We need action from government institutions, academia, students and general population otherwise Uganda will not change’. She further noted that ‘research, science and innovation has become too elitist ignoring the simple man/woman in the village reiterating that there has to be a mindset change otherwise nothing will happen’. We must involve the simple man, mother down in the village who is the client for a better Uganda, and I am hopeful that a detailed report of the discussions from this forum will be shared to guide us going forward, the Minister advised.

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Natural Sciences

5 PhD Scholarships at Mak in Collaboration with UiB



The JICA Building, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) as approached from the Mary Stuart Road Roundabout, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Call for Applications for 5 PhD Scholarships Tenable at Makerere University in collaboration with University of Bergen (UiB)-Norway under Norhed II Project ‘Mathematics for Sustainable Development-2021-2026’

The Norhed II supported project 2021-2026, is announcing a total of five scholarships for PhD students to conduct their studies at Makerere University. Three of the five scholarships will be offered in the area of Applied Mathematics and two in Mathematics Education. The training of the five PhD students will take place at Makerere University with possible short supervision visits to the University of Bergen or University of Dar es salaam depending on the supervision needs for a particular PhD student. We invite interested candidates to apply for the said PhD scholarships. The PhD training is expected to commence in October 2021 and will be supported for a period of four years on full-time basis. Applicants who are already admitted at Makerere University and still in their first year of PhD studies in the project’s areas of focus will also be considered. The training is preferably by coursework and dissertation on the existing PhD curricula in Mathematics and Mathematics Education at Makerere University. Some Makerere, Regional, Norwegian and University of Dar es Salaam staff will be involved in the teaching and supervision of the PhD students.

Eligibility for the THREE students for Applied Mathematics Area

The applicant must

  • Be holding at least a Master’s degree in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics (or equivalent);
  • Be a Ugandan citizen, preferably not above 45 years at the time of the closing date of receiving the applications.
  • Be able to stay in Norway or University of Dar es salaam for a period of at most three months a year for supervision when need arises;
  • Demonstrate the ability to think creatively and work independently and also be able to work in a team of researchers from Uganda, Tanzania and Norway.
  • Take on a PhD research project in any of the three areas; Data Science, Computational Mathematics or Mathematical applications in medicine. For details of some of the possible PhD research areas of focus for this project, contact the project Coordinator/PI- Assoc. Prof John Mango Magero (jmango1966[at] at the Department of Mathematics, Makerere University.

Eligibility for the TWO students for Mathematics Education Area

The applicant must

  • Be holding at least a Master’s degree in Mathematics Education (or equivalent);
  • Be a Ugandan citizen, preferably not above 45 years at the time of the closing date of receiving the applications
  • Be able to stay in Norway or University of Dar es salaam for a period of at most three months a year for supervision when need arises;
  • Demonstrate the ability to think creatively and work independently and also be able to work in a team of researchers from Uganda, Tanzania and Norway.
  • Take on a PhD research project in Mathematics Education for secondary level. The topic could be within e-learning, problem-based learning, gifted education, classroom dialogue, assessment, and other related areas. For details, contact the project Coordinator/PI-Assoc. Prof John Mango Magero ( at the Department of Mathematics, Makerere University or Dr. Mayende Godfrey and Dr Batiibwe Marjorie of the college of Education and External Studies.

Interested applicants should submit the following sets of documents:

  • An application letter for scholarship for PhD studentship;
  • A current CV (maximum five pages), which includes a detailed description of previous education at university level (all courses and grades) and a description of current research interests in line with the stated project areas of focus;
  • A copy of the Current Identity Card, National Identity Card or passport;
  • Three recent passport photos;
  • A certified copy of the applicant’s Master’s degree/diploma;
  • A softcopy of the applicant’s Master’s thesis;
  • A research concept note of maximum 5 pages (guidelines given below);
  •  At least two recommendation letters from your academic referees. The referee letters to be sent together with the application

The Concept Note must include:

  • A description of the applicant’s research interests in Applied Mathematics or Mathematics Education;
  • A description of the applicant’s background in this area/these areas;
  • A discussion on the applicant’s motivation for conducting PhD studies;
  •  A discussion on what outputs the applicant expects to realize through the PhD studies.


The applications shall be vetted by a panel comprising of some academic staff (including head) from the Department of Mathematics, Makerere University, Collaborators from College of Education and External Studies (CEES),Collaborators from Norway, PIs of the project at Makerere, Dar es Salaam and University of Bergen. A representative from Uganda Mathematical Society might be part of the panel.Evidence of already having a teaching position at University will be an added advantage.

Application procedure:

  1. Electronic submission of application for scholarship with supporting documents should be sent to the PI of the project at Makerere, Prof J M Mango on email jmango1966[at]

-Copy, Overall Coordinator of Norhed II projects at Mak 2021-2026; Email: mbuyinza[at];

-Copy, PI University of Bergen-Norway,   Guttorm.Alendal[at]

-Copy, Head, Department of Mathematics, Makerere University, hod.math[at]

  1. No hardcopies of the application documents will be required given the prevailing covid-19 situation.
  2. Application submission deadline is Monday 20th September 2021and interviews (where applicable) will be conducted at an appropriate date. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews.

Admission for PhD at Makerere University:

The admission for PhD in Mathematics or Mathematics Education is independent of the scholarship award and hence follows the existing admission processes/regulations to the mandated units/programmes at Makerere University. Successful candidates for the scholarship, if they do not have admission to Makerere already, they are encouraged to follow Makerere University PhD application procedure and secure admission to Makerere University before commencement of the PhD training in October 2021.

For further information, contact:

Prof. John Mango Magero
PI/Coordinator-Norhed II Project, Mathematics for Sustainable Development
Department of Mathematics,
Email:jmango1966[at]; mango.john[at];
Mobile: +256772649455

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Natural Sciences

Advancing Africa’s Natural Products Industry through Transdisciplinarity



Hon. Prof. Mondo Kagonyera (2nd R) is joined by L-R: Prof. Paul Waako, Dr. Alice Nabatanzi and Prof. John David Kabasa to cut cake during the 1st RNPIA Conference Opening Ceremony, 5th July 2021, Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala Uganda.

The 1st International Conference on Reimagining the Natural Products Industry in Africa (RNPIA-2021) under the patronage of Carnegie Corporation of New York through Future Africa, University of Pretoria, South Africa was convened by Dr. Alice Nabatanzi (5th – 7th July, 2021) at Imperial Royale Hotel. This year’s theme is Advancing Africa’s Natural Products Industry through Transdisciplinarity and Sustainable Innovations”.

The conference was presided over by two honourable guests; Hon. Prof. George Mondo Kagonyera, the Chancellor, Kabale University and former Chancellor, Makerere University, and Prof. Cheikh Mbow, Director Future Africa, University of Pretoria.

Hon. Prof. George Mondo Kagonyera addresses the RNPIA-2021 Conference

RNPIA-2021 Official Opening Ceremony

Hon. Prof. Mondo Kagonyera (2nd R) is joined by L-R: Prof. Paul Waako, Dr. Alice Nabatanzi and Prof. John David Kabasa to cut cake during the 1st RNPIA-2021 Conference Opening Ceremony

The conference was graced by the Principal, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Prof. John David Kabasa, the Vice Chancellor Busitema University, Prof. Paul Waako and the Director Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute (NCRI), Dr. Grace Nambatya.

The 3-day RNPIA-2021 conference was attended by over 400 online participants from all over the world and 50 physical participants. During the 3 days, a total of 50 presentations (MSc, PhD, Early Career) were made by participants from different universities across Africa. The Keynote speeches were delivered by:

Prof. Namrita Lall, University of Pretoria –Challenges and Coping Strategies faced by Female scientists for STEM Research

Prof. John R. S. Tabuti, Makerere University –Conservation of Traditional Medicines, Contribution of REDD+

Prof. Lyndy McGaw, University of Pretoria –Ethnoveterinary Medicine and an Overview of recent Surveys conducted in South Africa.

Other Guest Speakers included:

Dr. Marco Nuno De Canha, University of Pretoria –Navigating the sea of intellectual property: Technology transfer and patenting innovative ideas

Mr. Mongezi Mabena, South Africa –The Theoretical Framework, Processes and Challenges of Registering a Pharmaceutical Company

Prof. Fredrick Muyodi, Makerere University Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Face of Climate Change

Entrepreneurs in Natural Products from South Africa, Uganda and U.S.A. also showcased their products and gave stories of their entrepreneurial journeys. Representatives from the National Drug Authority (NDA), AFS, THETA were present at the conference.

NDA’s Dr. Brian Sekayombya makes his presentation on the role of the Authority in the promotion of traditional medicines in Uganda.

On the 3rd day of the RNPIA-2021 Conference, the Natural Products Industry Advancement Network Africa (NAPIANA) network was launched. NAPIANA is aimed at bridging the gaps along the Natural Products Value Chain in Africa through transdisciplinarity.

Dr. Alice Nabatanzi gave an overview of the Natural Products Industry in Africa and why the need for NAPIANA

Launching NAPIANA

The conference was officially closed by Dr. Grace Nambatya.

RNPIA-2021 Sponsors

Please click the embedded videos below to view the Conference proceedings

1st RNPIA-2021 Day 1

1st RNPIA-2021 Conference Day 1

1st RNPIA-2021 Day 2

1st RNPIA-2021 Conference Day 2

1st RNPIA-2021 Day 3

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