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Natural Sciences

Call for Applications: Masters & PhD Scholarships at Mak, KYU, JOOUST in Collaboration with BOKU



Call for Applications for Masters and PhD Scholarships Tenable at Makerere University (MAK), Kyambogo University (KYU) and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) in collaboration with University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) under The APPEAR Academic Partnership Project ‘Environmental Chemistry for Sustainable Development (ECSDevelop)’

Project background

East Africa faces serious environmental challenges in relation to atmospheric, soil and water pollution. The Lake Victoria basin and the Albertine Graben have not been spared either. The Lake basin, which is being shared by Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya has been undergoing rapid urbanization in the last three decades; the high population density, rapid industrial growth and waste-water treatment plants in vicinity of Lake Victoria basin have been reported as sources of environmental contaminants such as plastic debris and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). It is expected that both Lake Victoria and Nile River act as sinks for pollutants e.g., microplastics (MPs); however, the extent of these interactions and MPs entrapment rates will be governed by many physical, biological and chemical factors. In addition, the project explores L. Victoria point source pollution identification and remediation. Since most of the pollutants on the Kenyan side of lake have been identified, stratified sampling of known pollutants will be done and mechanisms of removing the pollutants at its source determined. A policy brief will be prepared and made available to concerned authorities for action.

Furthermore, Uganda has established an ambitious agenda for its future with its 2040 Vision acting as a blueprint and framework envisaging a middle-income economy, and its hopes for infrastructural and social development are hinged on revenues expected from oil production in the Albertine Graben. In 2013, Uganda’s oil reserves were estimated to be 3.5 billion barrels, and were expected to yield at least USD $2 billion per year for 30 years once oil production commences. The Albertine Graben, covering an exploration area of about 25,000 km2 contains substantial oil seepages that lead to environmental degradation and thus impose threats to people’s health through food chains. Many bioremediation and chemical oxidation studies have been carried out but with limited remediation efficiency. In this project, candidates will explore multifaceted application of nanotechnology in the field of bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons. Understanding the interaction between the contaminant, the microorganism, and the nanomaterials is of crucial importance since positive and negative effects may be produced.

Project Objectives/Outcomes:

It is expected that through this project, we shall;

  • Exploit regional capacities to jointly streamline existing curricula on environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology.
  • Develop a novel cost-effective state-of-the-art technology to track and clean up contaminants in waste water.
  • Develop efficient remediation technologies for crude oil contaminated soils and water of the Albertine graben, Uganda.
  • Investigate seasonal fluxes, sources and trophic transfer of microplastics within the aquatic ecosystem of Lake Victoria and River Nile.

Scholarship design:

The project offers financial support to academically skilled master’s and PhD students with main focus on aforementioned priority areas. 4 PhD scholarships (2 tenable at MAK -Uganda, 1 tenable at KYU-Uganda, and 1 tenable at JOOUST-Kenya), and up to 5 Master scholarships (3 tenable at MAK, 1 tenable at KYU, and 1 tenable at JOOUST) will be considered for funding by ECSDevelop project. 50% of the scholarships will be awarded to females.

The scholarship covers:

  • Full tuition fees: Payable directly to the University according to an official invoice;
  • Stipend: EUR 2,400 and EUR 3,600 for MSc and PhD students, respectively, per year to support living expenses during project duration;
  • Field visits, study materials and laboratory consumables: One-off allowance;
  • Workshops on renewable resources/analytical skills and webinar series on biorefinery;
  • Research fellowships in BOKU, Austria: Students will be provided with money to cover their costs for accommodation, insurance and upkeep while in Austria at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU).

Interested applicants should submit the following sets of documents:

  1. An application letter for a Master’s or PhD scholarships;
  2. A current CV (at most 2 pages), including a detailed description of the previous education at the University level (all courses and grades) and a description of current research interests in line with the stated ECSDevelop project areas of focus;
  3. Citizenship Proof – Copy of national identity card or passport;
  4. Three recent passport size photos;
  5. A certified copy of the bachelor’s degree & certificate for Master’s applicants; Master’s degree & certificate for PhD applicants;
  6. A copy of admission letter to the MSc. Program at MAK or KYU or JOOUST for Master’s applicants;
  7. A research Concept Note maximum 5 pages with a detailed description of the applicant’s research interest.
  8. A motivation letter showing why they are interested in pursuing Masters or PhD studies and expected outputs from their master’s or PhD studies.
  9. At least two recommendation letters from your academic referees. The reference letters should be sent together with the application.

Application procedure:

  1. All application documents must be zipped up in one file folder;
  2. Electronic submission of application for scholarship with supporting documents should be sent to the Overall Project Coordinator of ECSDevelop, Dr. Christine Betty Nagawa on e-mail christine.nagawa[at] with a copy to ECSDevelop Project Coordinator at JOOUST, Dr. Solomon Omwoma Lugasi on e-mail slugasi[at]; and to the ECSDevelop project Coordinator KYU, Dr. Christine Kyarimpa on email ckyarimpa[at]
  3. No hard copies of application documents will be required given the prevailing covid-19 situation;
  4. Deadline for submission of applications is 30th January, 2022 17:00 hours, EAT. Only the shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews.

Selection Process:

These are competitive Masters & PhD scholarships. The applications shall be vetted by a selection panel consisting of professionals from MAK, KYU, JOOUST and BOKU. Previous working experiences with research projects will be an added advantage.

Please see Download below for detailed Call for Applications.

Natural Sciences

Two Nutrifish-sponsored PhD students win awards of best oral presentations at ICAFA



NutriFish team at the ICAFA conference held from 1st to 3rd September, 2022 in Jinja, Uganda. L-R: Dr. Winnie Nkalubo, PhD Students Julliet Nafula Ogubi and Herbert Nakiyende, Dr. Margaret Masette and Dr. Jackson Efitre (NutriFish PI).

Two of the NutriFish-sponsored PhD students, Nakiyende Herbert and Julliet Nafula Ogubi won the awards for the best and second-best oral presentations in the young scientists’ category at the International Conference on Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (ICAFA) held in Jinja, Uganda from 1st-3rd September 2022.  The conference was organized under the theme “Breaking new grounds to recognize and celebrate the contribution of small-scale fisheries towards food security and nutrition”.   

Julliet Nafula Ogubi (L) and Herbert Nakiyende (R) with their awards at the conference.
Julliet Nafula Ogubi (L) and Herbert Nakiyende (R) with their awards at the conference.

Supported by the International Research Development Centre (IDRC) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) through their joint programme, Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund (CultiAF), NutriFish aims to address the nutritional needs of vulnerable groups that cannot afford expensive commercial fish but are in critical need of high quality nutritious diets. The Project is coordinated by Dr. Jackson Efitre, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University.

Dr. Jackson Efitre (NuriFish PI) with Herbert Nakiyende.
Dr. Jackson Efitre (NuriFish PI) with Herbert Nakiyende.

The title for Nakiyende Herbert’s presentation was: “Are small pelagic fisheries a blessing or curse? Understanding fisher community perceptions towards light fishing on Lake Albert, Uganda”.

Light fishing, the technique of catching fish by light attraction was introduced to Lake Albert, Uganda around early 2000s, to target two small pelagic species (SPS), Engraulicypris bredoi (muziri) and Brycinus nurse (ragoogi). The introduction of light fishing coincided with a period when stocks of large-bodied fishes, such as Tilapia spp, Lates niloticus, Bagras bajad, Alestes baremose, and Hydrocynus forskahlii in the Ugandan waters of Lake Albert had started to decline. Although Lake Albert is shared by Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), light fishing is prohibited in DRC waters. This study evaluated socio-ecological consequences of light fishing on the fisheries and lakeside communities of Lake Albert in Uganda, to inform sustainable management. Data was collected in April 2021 from three landing sites (Ntoroko, Kaiso, and Dei), through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Light fishing has transformed the lake’s annual fish catch from < 60,000 tonnes (t) in early 2000s, mainly of large species to about 330,000 t, dominated by SPS (60 – 80%) by 2021. The SPS light fishery currently engages over 30% of total fishing boats and 60% of fishers in the Ugandan waters of the lake. The technique has also led to conflicts with fishers targeting the large-bodied species, the main concerns being: i) excessive light fishing effort; ii) competition for fishing grounds; iii) high by-catch (~10%) dominated by juveniles of the large species; and iv) destruction of passive fishing gears used in the large-bodied species fisheries. To ensure co-existence in the multi-species fishery and continued livelihood benefits (employment, income, and food) of the SPS light fishery, resting and closed periods and light-fishery effort control were proposed by 95.4% of respondents. Detailed scientific investigation of the light fishing methods is recommended, to guide on the proposed closed season and fishing effort controls.

Julliet Nafula Ogubi with her award at ICAFA.
Julliet Nafula Ogubi with her award at ICAFA.

Julliet Nafula Ogubi’s presentation was on: “Spoilage mechanisms and associated drivers in post-harvest loss management in freshwater small pelagic fishes in Africa”.

Small pelagic fishes (SPFs) are steadily being recognized for their contribution to livelihoods, food and nutritional security especially in developing countries. The SPFs are schooling fishes with a total length of 20 cm, preserved mainly by open sun-drying.  Despite the bulk harvests, post-harvest losses associated with spoilage continue to hamper their availability, accessibility and consumption. A review of available literature on similar marine species revealed that spoilage commences immediately after harvest and progresses through three cascading but overlapping processes: autolytic (enzymatic), microbial and chemical reactions causing physical, quality, nutritional and economic losses. Spoilage in SPF is accelerated by i) their large surface to volume ratio; ii) the reliance on fluctuating sun radiation for drying which depends on prevailing weather condition; c) limited drying spaces for large quantities landed.  With regard to magnitude of losses, spoilage-related quality deterioration and nutritional changes in fish are rarely evaluated, hence associated economic value is lacking. The magnitude of losses attributed directly to the spoilage mechanisms have not been determined in freshwater SPFs, yet cost-effective interventions target significant processes. Handling practices, especially stacking and mixing of different fish hauls as drivers of spoilage mechanisms have not also been evaluated.  In addition, the effect of prolonged trips and lack of controlled temperature on-board, are less understood. Therefore, an urgent in-depth assessment of quality and nutritional losses and the associated economic value; the contribution of each spoilage mechanism to the magnitude of losses and the effect of handling practices on the rate of spoilage among freshwater SPFs is needed.


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Natural Sciences

Dr. Perpetra Akite wins British Ecological Society Marsh Award for Ecologists in Africa



Dr. Perpetra Akite, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University.

Dr. Perpetra Akite has been awarded the Marsh Award for Ecologists in Africa.  This prize aims to celebrate the significant scientific achievements of African ecologists and raise their profile in the UK. It is provided by the Marsh Charitable Trust and administered by the British Ecological Society.

Dr. Akite is one of Uganda’s leading entomologists and experts in butterflies. She has made important advances in improving knowledge around insects in Uganda, contributing to assessing and mapping key ecologically sensitive species in the country. She has even had a moth named after her.  

Dr. Akite is also passionate about passing on her knowledge to younger generations and takes part in a great deal of outreach activities at both school and university level. Her goal is to encourage more young people – especially African girls – to begin a career in science.

The winners will be presented with their prizes during a ceremony held at the BES Annual Meeting which runs from 18th – 21st December in Edinburgh. The meeting will bring together over 1000 ecologists (in person and online) to discuss the latest advances in ecological research across the whole discipline.

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Natural Sciences

PESCA Call For Applications: Short Courses Training in Aquaculture



Stakeholders follow proceedings during the Makerere and PESCA-NARO/ARDC Kajjansi workshop held from 19th to 22nd July 2022 at MUZARDI. Researchers met to review and harmonize aquaculture training modules of the EU-supported project.




The Department of Zoology, Entomology, and Fisheries Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University was awarded a contract under the European Union-funded PESCA project implemented by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) for the provision of training services. The overall objective of the assignment is to support training that will improve knowledge, skills, and practices that enhance aquaculture production and productivity in Uganda. This will be achieved through the following specific objectives:

  1. Support the placement of undergraduate students to work (internships) with fish farmers or other suitable aquaculture value chain (AVC) actors;
  2. Conduct inclusive customized short-term training with gender considerations (women, men, youth, people with disabilities) including farmers, Producer Organizations (POs), feed & seed producers, service providers, and other aquaculture stakeholders; and
  3. Support MSc. research and training.

The expected outputs from the short-course trainings are:

  1. Trainees (farmers, Producer Organizations, feed & seed producers, service providers etc.) with job-demanded competency skills & knowledge;
  2. Increased engagement of AVC actors in the training of students & review of university curricula;
  3. Orientation of tertiary Fisheries and aquaculture training institutions’ curricula to practical thematic areas; and
  4. Compendium of different modules compiled and shared with partners.

A certificate of attendance will be issued to trainees who successfully complete the training.


Applications are invited for 180 fully funded bursaries for six (6) trainings covering relevant modules specified in (C) below. Each course is expected to be conducted within seven (7) days jointly with the Aquaculture Research and Development Center (ARDC), Kajjansi, National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NAFIRRI).


1.Hatchery operators and managersIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Fish seed production and hatchery management (including fingerling transportation; early stock management in grow-out pond); Fish diseases and health management; Aquaculture business planning and organisation.9th-14th October 2022
2.Fish farmers and farm managersIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Establishing a commercially viable aquaculture enterprise; Aquaculture business planning and organisation; Aquaculture production systems.23rd-28th October 2022
3. Producer groupsIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Aquaculture production systems; Fish diseases and health management; Aquaculture business planning and organisation (including group dynamics, resource mobilisation for group self-sustenance; fish marketing skills).6th-11th November 2022
4. Feed producersIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Fish feeds production; Fish feeding and feed management; Aquaculture business planning and organisation13th-18th November 2022
5. Aquaculture Extension workersIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Aquaculture production systems, Fish diseases and health management; Aquaculture business planning and organization; Aquaculture Extension workers (including service delivery; aquaculture extension methods and tools).7th November – 2nd December 2022
6. Food and Fish ProcessorsIntroduction to commercial aquaculture; Value addition for farmed fish; Aquaculture business planning and organisation.11th-16th December 2022


Target groupsSelection requirements for admission
Hatchery operators and managersAbility to read and write
Fish farmers and farm managersAbility to read and write
Producer groupsAbility to read, write and presentation of a registration certificate as a CBO or cooperative society
Feed producersAbility to read and write
Aquaculture Extension workersMinimum is a certificate in Fisheries and aquaculture
Food and Fish ProcessorsAbility to read and write


Application form should be electronically filled and submitted here: In addition, a signed recommendation from your District Fisheries Officer or Leader of Producer Organisation should also be sent to the Head of Department (, with a copy to the Team Leader, Dr. Jackson Efitre (, and the short courses Coordinators, Juliet Nattabi Kattabi ( and Rosemary Nalwanga ( by the deadline of 30th September, 2022 at 5:00PM.

The advert is linked below.

Mak_PESCA Short Courses_ZEFs_CoNAS Advert.pdf

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