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Call for Applications: PhD Research Grants

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BACKGROUND

Funding opportunity description: Makerere University received special funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, to support high impact Research and Innovations that will accelerate national development. The Financial Year 2022/23 will be the fourth year of this fund’s availability. The fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of socio-economic transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. Over the last three Financial Years (2019/2020, 2020/21 and 2021/2022), government appropriated 79 Billion Uganda Shillings to support this Fund. Between the two years, MakRIF has funded a total of 775 projects across all sectors critical for development. In the next Financial Year (2022/23), Makerere University expects to receive about 30 Billion Uganda shillings (about US$ 8.1 million) under the Government Research and Innovation Fund (RIF). Of this, at least 3 Billion Shillings will fund PhD research ideas that generate knowledge that addresses national development priorities. The Makerere University Research and Innovation Grants Management Committee (GMC) therefore announces the RIF Round 4, Track 2 (PhD Research Grants). Available funds are obligated for the Financial Year 2022/2023, with an expectation of actionable results that speak to the National Research and Innovation Agenda. The GMC therefore invites applications from PhD students with original research ideas that demonstrate a clear link to key thematic areas of the National Research and Innovation Agenda. 

This is a closed call that is open to only PhD students. This funding call is specifically targeted to PhD students that are full time at Makerere University.

Grant amounts and estimated number of awards: The GMC estimates to award the following number and amount of PhD Research Grants:

CategoryAmount per awardApproximate NumberTotal amount
Category 1: Arts and HumanitiesUp to 25,000,000/=50*1,250,000,000/=
Category 2: SciencesUp to 35,000,000/=50*1,750,000,000/=
Total 1003,000,000,000/=

*Note: The numbers shown are only indicative. The MakRIF GMC reserves the right to adjust the numbers based on the quality of the proposals submitted.

Applicants should take into consideration the following:

  • Given that the MakRIF funds are received on an annual basis, and are tied to a specific financial year, the current grant only commits to funding the awardee for a period of one year. This award therefore covers one financial year.
  • However, the MakRIF GMC is cognizant of the fact that PhD research often spreads over more than one year in which case it requires multi-year funding. Because of this reality, PhD students who are funded under this round will be eligible for extension funding in the following financial year. Second year funding will not be automatic but will be conditional to the following: 1) Availability of funds, 2) Showing cause as to which additional areas of research will be covered in the second year of funding, 3) Successful execution and completion of all the objectives for Year 1 funding, evidenced by full submission of the required deliverables; 4) Full technical and financial accountability for all the funds given to the researcher during the current year of funding. Students would have to apply for the follow-on funding through the next year’s PhD Research Grant call.
  • The GMC recognizes that the amounts indicated for this award may not be sufficient to cover all the necessary costs for a student’s project. In such cases, the award should be considered as a contribution and the students should mobilize additional funding to bridge the resource gaps.
  • The number of awards indicated are only estimated and the GMC retains the discretion to determine the amount and number of awards based on the actual funding that MakRIF funders will make available and the number of quality proposals submitted. 

Scope and Technical Description of the Research and Innovation Grant

The GMC conducted a comprehensive stakeholder consultation to identify priority thematic areas of interest for national development. The GMC triangulated this information with that from the National Development Plan III, the Makerere University Strategic Plan and Research Agenda to develop an instructive MakRIF research agenda that responds to national development priorities. The RIF Round 4, Track 2 (PhD Research Grants) will therefore specifically target research and innovation projects that align with priority thematic issues in the MakRIF instructive Research Agenda under 14 thematic areas as follows:

Theme 1: Transforming the Agricultural sector to drive development

Theme 2: Achieving Sustainable health as a means to sustainable development

Theme 3: Re-imagining Education to unlock capacity for economic development

Theme 4: Water, sanitation and the environment: A pre-requisite to sustainable development

Theme 5: Harnessing the social sector, culture and arts to drive development

Theme 6. Harnessing Tourism, wildlife and heritage for development

Theme 7: Sustainable Planning, finance and monitoring as catalysts for growth

Theme 8: Leveraging public service and local administration for efficient service delivery

Theme 9: Defence and security: Achieving sustainable peace and stability

Theme 10: Strengthening law, governance, human rights and international cooperation as prerequisites for development

Theme 11: Harnessing Information and Communication Technology to drive development

Theme 12: Works, manufacturing, science and technology as tools to accelerate development

Theme 13: Solutions to catalyse business and enterprise

Theme 14: Energy and Minerals as drivers of rapid economic development

Click here to view details of each theme.

The Mak-RIF PhD Research Grants will cover all technical disciplines in Makerere University as long as the research questions align with the instructive research agenda themes above. Particular attention will be paid to ideas that have clear potential for scalability to drive development.

Note: This grant covers the coasts of research. It does not cover payment of tuition or living stipends for the PhD students. 

Eligibility

The PhD research grants will only be open to PhD students who have been approved for full registration at Makerere University. Students who have already received full scholarships under other award programs are not eligible to apply for these grants as this will constitute double funding. In line with this, PhD students who are members of academic faculty of Makerere University are not eligible since they are covered by the Staff Development Program. This funding is only open to Makerere University students. PhD students registered in other universities are not eligible for this funding. Further specifications on the awards are as follows:

  1. Applicants must be at a stage where they have been approved for full registration as PhD students at Makerere University. Being at the stage of full registration means that they have developed a full research proposal that has been approved by the respective Higher Degrees Research Committee in their academic unit, and that they have been have been recommended for full registration OR are fully registered by Makerere University. Applicants will be required to provide evidence of one of the following: Minutes of the Higher Degrees Research Committee in their Academic college, showing approval of their research proposal, OR a full registration certificate.
  2. Because the research funds are provided for one year funding cycles, PhD students with provisional registration will not be eligible for funding under this award since the time required for them to complete full proposal development and to start data collection is unlikely to fit within the financial year. 
  3. These grants are limited to PhD students who do not have prior funding for their studies or whose funding is inadequate to cover their research. Applicants in the latter category must make full disclosure of their other funding sources and what they cover.
  4. Applicants should provide a letter of support from any one of the following: 1) The Head of their Department, or 2) The Dean of their School, or 3) the Principal of their College (Only one of these is sufficient).
  5. Applicants should provide a letter of support from one of their Supervisors within Makerere University. The letter should clearly indicate that they do not have other funding that fully covers their research/training activities, or where such funding is available, they should indicate what aspects of the student’s study program it covers and the funding gap. The supporting Supervisor will be designated as a co-Investigator on the research project.

GRANT GUIDELINES

MakRIF PhD Research Grant applicants will submit a competitive project proposal for the available funding. The proposal ought to specify the objectives for the full research project. It should also indicate which of the full research objectives will be specifically met by the available funding for this financial year. 

Students intending to apply for multi-year funding in the subsequent years will be required to indicate so. In such cases, the students should indicate which study objectives would be covered by the extension funding.

The research problem: The proposal should clearly articulate the knowledge gap that the researcher targets to address, and why it is important to address this knowledge gap. The research problem should be aligned to at least one theme in the MakRIF research agenda. 

The proposed solution: PhD Researchers should present the proposed solution in form of the research focus for the current phase of the funding. They should clearly articulate the objectives of the planned research. Researchers should also describe the critical content of the solution (i.e., the ‘research methodology’). Researchers should defend the relevance of the proposed solution to addressing key development outcomes in the respective sector and its alignment to one or more thematic areas specified in this call. Researchers should also demonstrate that at least one objective of their research project is implementable within one (1) year and will result in tangible results within one year of execution. 

Research projects that require multi-year implementation will only be considered if they can show actionable intermediate results or objectives attainable within 1 implementation year, since funding will be on a yearly basis. Apart from a summary of the proposed approach, researchers will provide a more detailed description of their technical approach (research methodology) to enable a robust assessment of the rigor of the proposed methodology. 

Outputs, outcomes and impact: Researchers should articulate the overall scientific outputs, outcomes and anticipated impact of the PhD research project. They should state the primary (Direct) and secondary (Indirect) beneficiaries of the planned research project. They should state the anticipated outputs (the outputs of the activities of the entire project as well as the specific milestones to be attained with the one-year funding) and the outcomes (both the outcomes of the entire project and those for the current funding phase). Researchers should also state the anticipated impact of the the project (Note: Impact might not be achievable in one or even a few years in which case the current phase only contributes to it). Since this funding is specific to the current financial year, projects must demonstrate clearly the deliverables they expect within one year, matching the level of investment made and attainable in the 1-year timeframe. Multi-year projects should show clearly what will be achieved in the current year of funding as well as what would be achieved overall when the full PhD research is completed in the subsequent years.

Translation and dissemination for impact: Since this fund is aimed at supporting government and its partners to improve service delivery and to accelerate development, researchers should show a clear plan for disseminating their findings to audiences critical for policy and program change so as to achieve impact at scale. This will include a clear description of the knowledge translation and dissemination plan to stakeholders in the relevant sectors including the knowledge products anticipated to arise from the study (e.g., publications, policy briefs, knowledge briefs, etc.). Innovation-based projects should articulate a scaling strategy, including linkage to scaling partners within the industry (for commercially viable enterprises), or within the relevant public sectors (for innovations targeted to the public) or within relevant implementing agencies (for social enterprises). Innovations targeting commercial interest should demonstrate the anticipated commercial potential, anticipated demand, anticipated patents/copy-rights/industrial design claims/trademarks if applicable and the path to commercialization. Innovations targeting social impact (social innovations) should elucidate the path to wide scale community uptake. 

Ethical implications: The implications of the research to human subjects, animal subjects and the environment should be articulated where necessary including how key ethical or environmental concerns arising from the study will be addressed. It is anticipated that at the time of full registration, projects requiring ethical approval will have already obtained that approval from their respective ethics committees.

Budget: Researchers will prepare a summary budget for the one-year phase of their project as well as a detailed budget. Budgets should be submitted in the official currency (Uganda Shillings).  Because these are university funds, academic units (Departments, Schools and Colleges) will not charge institutional overheads to any of the research funds. Budgets should not spread beyond one Financial Year. Even if the projects to be funded under this mechanism are multi-year, researchers should provide a budget for only one Financial Year. The budgets will include the following sections:

  • 1.0 Personnel costs
  • 2.0 Travel
  • 3.0 Supplies and services
  • 4.0 Equipment
  • 5.0 Program activity costs
  • 6.0 Dissemination

Under Personnel costs, applicants should not budget for ‘Salaries’ for staff who are paid a salary by Makerere University or another Government of Uganda institution (whether on permanent or contract terms) as this would constitute double payment from government funds. However, such researchers can budget for ‘activity-based’ time input or ‘level-of-effort-based’ costs for their additional time input into the project in form of allowances. The latter should be justified by specifying the extra-time demands from the project for each individual involved. 

Researchers can budget for salaries for critical project staff that are not paid by Makerere or the Government of Uganda e.g., Project Coordinators, Administrative Assistants, Research Officers etc. Regular Personnel costs excluding field research assistants should not exceed 33% of the budget. Field research assistants (or Data collectors) if needed should not be included under ‘Personnel costs’ but should instead be included under ‘Program Activity Costs’. All salaries and all repetitive allowances will be subject to mandatory statutory deductions at source, to pay the relevant taxes. Because these funds are earmarked to support actual research, PhD students cannot budget for a monthly stipend under this award.

In addition to the summary budget, research teams will be required to attach a detailed budget (As an MS Excel attachment) that breaks down all expenditure line items, inclusive of a budget justification that explains the rationale behind the different budget items. The total budget in the budget summary should exactly match that in the detailed breakdown. You should budget within the category that your project was funded in RIF-1. Budgeting in another category will lead to disqualification. The total budget should not exceed the highest amount indicated for the respective funding category in which your project lies. Exceeding the indicated category maximum can result in disqualification.

PhD Researchers can also budget for Tuition.

Workplan: Researchers will provide a list of key milestones for the project clearly demonstrating the deliverables expected at each point during the extension phase of the project. These milestones will be used as the basis for tracking implementation of activities towards project goals and outputs. Given the one-year time-frame for the awards, it will be important that researchers commit to a clear time-bound set of deliverables all achievable within one year for the main deliverable targeted during the current period of funding. Failure to articulate a one (1) year plan will imply inability to utilize the grant funds within one (1) year

GRANT PROCESS

Submission of applications: Submission of the applications will be online at http://rif.mak.ac.ug/portal All submissions must be online and must be made within the stipulated period. To access the application form, the PhD Research Fund applicant will be required to create a MakRIF account. In your account, select the appropriate funding opportunity and fill out the application form. 

Rules governing applications: All applications should be written in English. All applications should be submitted via the online portal mentioned above. Complete applications must be submitted not later than 11.59pm East African Time on the closing date. No submissions after closure of applications will be accepted. Any attempt at solicitation of acceptance beyond this date will not be entertained. The Grants Committee bears no responsibility for submissions that are not completed in time and incomplete submissions will not be considered. If none of the submitted applications meets the requirements to receive a grant, the call may be reopened at the sole discretion of the Grants Management Committee. An individual researcher should not submit more than ONE application.

Participants agree to assume any and all risks, and to waive claims against Makerere University and the Grants Management Committee for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in this grant implementation.

Evaluation and selection of projects: Applications will be reviewed by the GMC. Submission of an application does not mean the project must be funded. The GMC will evaluate five main aspects of the project:

  1. The alignment of the proposed research to national priorities as stipulated in the MakRIF research agenda
  2. Clear articulation of the knowledge gap and how the planned research will contribute to building new knowledge
  3. Quality of the proposal in terms of the relevance and innovativeness of the proposed solution, the planned activities and the articulation of a sound methodology
  4. Clear stipulation of outputs and outcomes and feasibility of tangible achievements within one year of funding
  5. Potential impact and transformativeness of the proposed research idea
  6. Submission of a realistic budget

Notification of successful applicants: Successful applicants will be informed by email to their designated point of contact.

Grant timeline:

MilestoneDate
Issuance of RFA Thur 29th Sept 2022 (Closed to PhD students only)
Closing date for applicationsSunday 23rd Oct 2022
SelectionMonday 24th October 2022 to Friday 18th November 2022
Award notificationFriday 18th November 2022
InductionTuesday 22nd November 2022

To submit application, please create an account on https://rif.mak.ac.ug/portal and login to start the application process.

Agriculture & Environment

FoodLAND Project Research Dissemination: Nakaseke District Farmers Sensitized on Modern Agricultural Practices & Proper Nutrition

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Participants including leaders of farmer groups in Nakaseke and District officials at the training venue at Butalangu District Headquarters. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.

******Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project aims to develop, implement and validate innovative, scalable, and sustainable technologies aimed at supporting the nutrition performance of local food systems in Africa, while strengthening agro-biodiversity and food diversity as well as diversity of healthy diets.


Experiences of Nakaseke District farmers

Farmers in Nakaseke District are indebted for the support and training received from the FoodLAND Project. Although many had been engaged in the activity, they lacked knowledge and skills of modern farming. Connected to FoodLAND through VEDCO, a non-governmental and not for profit agricultural organization, the farmers have acquired skills on value addition, precision irrigation/fertigation, smart storage systems, gardening and hydroponics systems, biodegradable mulching, precision crop protection systems, precision harvesting systems and agro-ecological intensification practices.

Dr. Richard Bukenya disseminated the project findings and achievements on behalf of the PI. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Dr. Richard Bukenya disseminated the project findings and achievements on behalf of the PI.

According to Ms. Nakawuba Sarah, a widow and tomato farmer in Kapeeka Sub County, Nakaseke District, the knowledge acquired has enabled her to expand, and gain more profits. “I extend my gratitude to FoodLAND and the funders of the project. The knowledge acquired over time has enabled me to expand my farm and earn more money. Due to ignorance, we used to be exploited – people would buy our products cheaply because we lacked knowledge of preservation. The training on value addition has helped us learn how to preserve our products and we are now benefiting more from them. At the time my husband died, we had just a small house built on his father’s land. I am happy that with the support received from VEDCO and FoodLAND, I have bought a plot of land, built a house, and I am able to pay school fees for my children. I once again thank VEDCO and the FoodLAND. Although the FoodLAND project is ending soon, I request that they do not leave us. They should continue training us so that we further improve our skills.”

Mr. Lubowa Samuel Sunday, also a farmer in Kapeeka Sub County, Nakaseke District is equally grateful. Through FoodLAND, several farmers in Nakaseke District have acquired knowledge of climate smart agriculture. “Farming in the dry season is no longer a challenge. Our harvest has increased and we are now earning more. However we still face a number of challenges including the high cost of fertilizers and pesticides. We appeal to the project team to conduct more research on natural remedies for the challenges we are experiencing.”

Participants during one of the training sessions. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Participants during one of the training sessions.

Ms. Nankya Jane, a coffee and banana farmer Semuto Sub County, Nakaseke District, the irrigation skills acquired through the project have greatly improved her farm. “The place where I do my farming was so dry, and this, in many cases, affected my yields. Through VEDCO, we were taken to the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) where we acquired skills on proper irrigation and value addition using technologies developed by the FoodLAND Project. If I had acquired these skills when I started 7 years ago, I would be very far. My appeal is that you continue offering training to us. There is a lot more that we need to learn.”

About the FoodLAND project

Launched in 2020, the main objective of the FoodLAND project was to develop, implement and validate innovative, scalable and sustainable technologies aimed at supporting the nutrition performance of local food systems in Africa, while strengthening agro-biodiversity and food diversity as well as diversity of healthy diets.

Butalangu Town Clerk, Ms. Rashida Mutebi on behalf of the Chief Administrative Officer appreciated the project for reaching out and working with the local communities to improve their livelihoods. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Butalangu Town Clerk, Ms. Rashida Mutebi on behalf of the Chief Administrative Officer appreciated the project for reaching out and working with the local communities to improve their livelihoods.

Funded to the tune of 7 million euro by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, and led by Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna (Italy), the project committed to developing a range of innovations for local agriculture and aquaculture development, as well as to nudging consumers towards healthier eating behaviour in six African countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The project specifically aimed to empower smallholder farmers and food operators, foster nutrition responsive and sustainable agro-biodiversity, reinforce the productivity and resilience of food supply chains, and create new market opportunities at both the local and global scales, thereby encouraging the flourishing of rural communities. The project was envisaged to create a network of 14 local Food Hubs—paired with 14 separate cities in these countries—that would mobilise relevant actors in rural, urban and peri-urban communities and serve as injection points for testing and introducing the innovations. The 28 partners that comprise the FoodLAND consortium (18 of them African institutions while the other 10 are European) were expected to work together to develop, implement and validate 12 technological innovations; which include organizational and technological innovations for both vegetable and fish farming and food processing systems, together with 17 novel local food products, ranging from fresh, dried and processed vegetables and fish to composite flours and therapeutic foods.

DPMO Wandera James addressing participants. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
DPMO Wandera James addressing participants.

In Uganda, the project was implemented in 6 districts namely; Masaka, Nakaseke, Kamuli, Lwengo, Mukono and Wakiso, and was led by Prof. John Muyonga from the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University. Other members on the project were: Prof. Johnny Mugisha from CAES; Dr. Cassius Aruho, Dr. Puline Nakyewa, Dr. Margaret Masette, Dr. Getrude Atukunda and Dr. Justus Rutaisire from NARO; Mr. Henry Nsereko from VEDCO; and Prof. Dorothy Nakimbugwe from Nutreal.

To date, the project team in Uganda has registered a number of achievements including;

  1. New nutrient enhanced food products – Noodles containing orange fleshed sweet potatoes and biofortified beans; instant flours containing orange fleshed sweet potatoes, biofortified beans and grain amaranth; and dry eggplant. Arrangements are in place for commercialization of the technologies by SMEs.
  2. Establishment of infrastructure at MUARIK for research and training on fertigation (irrigation that supplies water together with manure) and precision irrigation.
  3. Development of technology for smart cold storage of perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables. The technology allows for remote monitoring of temperature and relative humidity.
  4. Development of technology for rodent control in stores. This technology has been shown to be effective in preventing of rodent damage to food in stores.
  5. Promotion of agro-ecological intensification – Applying ecological principles to ensure sustainable agricultural production.
  6. Testing application of bio-based packaging of food
  7. Training of 100 farmers in different production technologies.
  8. Training of 3 M.Sc.
  9. Developing of nutrition guidelines for adults and the elderly.
Mr. Baraka Price training the farmers on precision irrigation. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Mr. Baraka Price training the farmers on precision irrigation.

Dissemination of the project findings and achievements to farmers and district leaders in Nakaseke

On 16th July 2024, the project team held a dissemination workshop for Nakaseke District leaders and farmers to sensitize them on different aspects including the research findings and recommendations for improved farming practices. Coordinated by Ms. Josephine Kisakye, and conducted at Butalangu District Headquarters, the workshop was attended by representatives of farmer groups in Nakaseke as well as the district officials, including the CAO, DHO, DPMO and RDC. On behalf of the Project Coordinator, Dr Richard Bukenya, also a member of staff in the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition briefed the farmers on the findings of the project, highlighting the project objectives and progress made thus far, including the technologies, novel raw materials, ingredients and food products developed.  Under the project, a number of technologies for smart farming have been developed and are being tested. These include: Digital tools for precision agriculture, farming management systems like the rodent control system as part of smart storage systems, and the food processing systems like the solar drier.

The farmers receiving training on value addition. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
The farmers receiving training on value addition.

During the workshop, Mr. Barak Price, a student on the project sensitized participants on the rodent control system. He also trained the farmers on precision irrigation/fertigation. The farmers were also taken through the processes of value addition. Ms. Josephine Kisakye, a researcher on the project discussed the nutrition recommendations developed by the project. In the course of the project activities, it was noted that diets in Uganda are mainly composed of starchy staples, especially cereals, roots, tubers and bananas, with legumes constituting the main protein source. Intake of micronutrient-rich foods is low, despite various interventions to promote consumption of fruits, and vegetables. Ugandan adult and elderly population in both rural and urban areas were found to be at risk of under-nutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies. Nutritional recommendations included: i) Daily consumption of locally available fruits and vegetables, whole starchy staples, and protein-rich foods; including beans, peas, nuts, fish, eggs, and meat; ii) Limiting the consumption of fried foods, salt, alcohol, and sweetened beverages; iii) Hydrate with fluids, preferably water; Regular engagement in moderate-intensity physical activity like brisk walking, digging, swimming, aerobics, and cycling; vi) Undertaking medical examination at intervals of no longer than 6 months to facilitate timely detection and treatment of ailments like diabetes, hypertension, high plasma cholesterol and cancers.

Some of the products developed under the project. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Some of the products developed under the project.

Appreciation by the District officials

Butalangu Town Clerk, Ms. Rashida Mutebi on behalf of the Chief Administrative Officer appreciated the project for reaching out and working with the local communities to improve their livelihoods. “The trainings on value addition will go a long way in saving our farmers losses,” she noted, calling for resilience and cooperation amongst the farmers. “It is important that you work together. Always share best practices if you are to improve yourselves and gain more from farming. I also implore you to always keep records of your farming activities.”

In his remarks, Nakaseke District Health Officer, Dr Alija Simon noted that the challenge of non-communicable diseases was on the raise due to poor feeding habits. He expressed gratitude to the project for incorporating the important aspect of nutrition in its research.

Ms. Josephine Kisakye sensitizing the farmers on the nutritional recommendations developed under the project. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Ms. Josephine Kisakye sensitizing the farmers on the nutritional recommendations developed under the project.

DPMO Wandera James appreciated the Government of Uganda for investing in farming. He also appreciated the project team for the trainings offered to the farmers in the district, noting that value addition was a key area of focus in the Parish Development Model. “Nakaseke is now becoming a food hub. I thank Makerere University for working with the communities. Initially, research was done but stopped in the shelves of the University. We are happy that you are now working with the communities to identify solutions to the challenges undermining agriculture. Research should be conducted for development.”

Addressing participants, the Assistant RDC, Nakaseke District, Mr. Muhoozi Michael appreciated Makerere University, specifically the FoodLAND Project, calling for more innervations to support farmers in the district out of poverty. He implored the farmer groups to form a cooperative, noting that the latter forms a better platform for soliciting support.  

Nakaseke District Health Officer, Dr Alija Simon decried the high level of NCDs as a result of unhealthy feeding habits. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Nakaseke District Health Officer, Dr Alija Simon decried the high level of NCDs as a result of unhealthy feeding habits.

A similar dissemination exercise was conducted in Kamuli District in Eastern Uganda.

More photos from the FoodLAND project Nakaseke Dissemination

The Assistant RDC, Nakaseke District, Mr. Muhoozi Michael appreciated Makerere University, specifically the FoodLAND Project, calling for more interventions to support farmers in the district out of poverty. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
The Assistant RDC, Nakaseke District, Mr. Muhoozi Michael appreciated Makerere University, specifically the FoodLAND Project, calling for more interventions to support farmers in the district out of poverty.

Ms. Nankya Jane, a farmer in Semuto Sub County, Nakaseke District, also beneficiary of the FoodLAND Project training irrigating her farm. She's grateful for the training received from the project. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Ms. Nankya Jane, a farmer in Semuto Sub County, Nakaseke District, also beneficiary of the FoodLAND Project training irrigating her farm. She’s grateful for the training received from the project.

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Humanities & Social Sciences

Mak develops new model to aid teaching of Maths in Lower Secondary Curriculum

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Makerere University has developed a new Mobile Application to aid the teaching of Mathematics using performing arts in Lower Secondary Curriculum.

“Mathematics is very important in life. The Government Policy on Science Education declared mathematics compulsory for lower secondary school learners as the driver of all sciences. However, the performance of students in mathematics is inadequate. Most students fear mathematics. Others believe mathematics is very hard,” said Prof. Sylvia Antonia Nakimera Nannyonga-Tamusuza, the Principal Investigator of the project.

She noted that despite numerous government interventions, including improving teachers’ conditions, teaching facilities and infrastructure, learners’ performance of Mathematics is still not impressive. 

Principal Investigator – Prof. Sylvia Antonia Nakimera Nannyonga-Tamusuza

To address this problem, Prof. Nannyonga-Tamusuza working with a team of researchers from Makerere University and the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) focused on using the power of performing arts, which includes music, dance, drama, story-telling, and visual-audio arts to make the studying of mathematics more captivating and enjoyable.

The research team developed the MusickingMaths App to enhance the teaching of Mathematics through music. The App is an interactive digital platform between the learner and the knowledge facilitator to support the learners in creating songs about mathematical concepts learned. 

Prof. Nannyonga-Tamusuza explained that the created songs are shared with the knowledge facilitator for evaluation and feedback on the learners’ performance of the mathematical concepts.

She made the remarks during the dissemination of research findings of the project titled Integrating Performing Arts to Enhance Teaching/Learning Mathematics in Lower Senior Secondary Schools in Uganda (IPATELMASS) at Makerere University on June 25, 2024.

Prof. Nannyonga-Tamusuza explained that the new model is an intervention to improve the teaching/learning of mathematics in lower secondary schools in Uganda. She pointed out that IPATELMASS is a participatory action-based research project whose main objective was to inform the development of an Integrated Performing Arts-Mathematics Teaching Learning (IPAMTeL).

Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the collaborative venture brought together researchers from the performing arts and mathematics experts from Makerere University, the National Curriculum Development Centre, National Teachers’ Colleges and mathematics teachers from Mubende. 

“This Project speaks to Uganda’s National Development Plan IV, which attributes the poor economic performance to the limited application of science, innovation, and technology,” Prof. Nannyonga-Tamusuza elaborated.

The findings of this research, which was conducted using learners from Mubende Army Secondary School and Kitenga Secondary School in Mubende District, indicate that learners improved in comprehension, critical-thinking skills, concentration span, and memory retention of mathematical concepts and principles.

Other outcomes include improved understanding: learners were better at comprehending mathematical concepts through visualisation and experiencing abstract ideas through performance and dramatization, learners improved other intrinsic values, such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and tolerance.

Prof.Nannyonga-Tamusuza told participants that the learners developed positive attitudes towards Mathematics.

“Learners’ attitudes shifted, making them more positive and open to learning mathematics,” Prof. Nannyonga-Tamusuza added.

Learners and their teacher from Mubende Army School

This was re-affirmed by the learners from Mubende Army School who testified that their participation in the research project completely changed their negative perception about mathematics. “Participating in the Makerere University project proved to us that mathematics can be taught anytime (in the morning, afternoon and evening hours).  Previously, we thought math was so hard, that it could only be taught in the morning hours.”

Consequently, the learners from Mubende Army School appreciated Makerere University for integrating performing arts into the teaching of math, which has made learning enjoyable.

The research team came up with a number of recommendations including; the need for teacher training and professional development and specialised training for teachers to integrate performing arts into mathematics instruction effectively. As such, resources and funding must be allocated to professional development programs that provide teachers with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Chief Guest Hajji Ismael Mulindwa, Director of Basic and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education and Sports

Additionally, researchers recommended: further research on how student learning and achievement can be assessed or evaluated in arts-integrated mathematics education, research and development; the need to support ongoing research and evaluation of the effectiveness of arts-integrated mathematics education and community engagement; as well as policies that encourage partnerships between schools, arts organisations, and community stakeholders so as to enhance arts-integrated education.

The Principal, College of Humanities and Social Science (CHUSS), Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala who represented Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe appealed to the Government of Uganda to provide more research funds saying times have changed due to technological advancement. 

Prof. Nambalirwa Nkabala proclaimed that the launch of the model that integrates performing arts into the learning of math, was testimony that both the sciences and humanities can work together to make the world a better place.

She commended Prof. Nannyonga-Tamusuza and the research team from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for taking on a multi-disciplinary approach to research that brought on board scientists, mathematicians, as well as partners in the education sector namely the National Curriculum Development Centre and the schools.

She appreciated the research team for coming up with a solution to address the inadequate performance of students in mathematics.

“With research that seeks to improve the studying of mathematics, Makerere University is fully endowed to make contribution towards the development of Uganda,” Prof. Nambalirwa Nkabala stated.

Launching the IPAMTeL model, the Chief Guest Hajji Ismael Mulindwa, Director of Basic and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education and Sports applauded Makerere University for taking the lead in solving a national problem.

Part of the audience following proceedings

“I encourage our schools to emulate Makerere to spice up mathematics,” he guided. “I appeal to researchers to do more research in the education sector so as to inform policy.”

Hajji Mulindwa hailed the University Management and the Grants Management Committee for putting the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund to good use.

On behalf of the National Curriculum Development Centre, Dr. Bernadette Nambi, the Director Curriculum Review and Instructional Material Development said the model will not only enhance teaching in the lower curriculum, but also contribute to holistic learning. She noted that the model makes the student the centre of learning and helps teachers to bring mathematics closer to the learners through making it easier for learners to remember concepts.

The Academic Registrar of Makerere University, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi implored the different units at Makerere University to work together to bring the best out of each discipline. “This is the away to go. I believe the time is right for the different departments to work together,” Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi said.

He appealed to the university lecturers to invest more time in mindset change and create awareness about the need for the same among the teaching class and community at large.

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Mak Environmental Economists Explore Uganda’s Albertine Oil Fields: Identifying Research and Collaboration Opportunities

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The Team during a visit to the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) office in Hoima. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.

A team of environmental economists from Makerere University recently visited the Albertine oil fields in Uganda to assess ongoing operations in terms of oil and gas exploration and uncover potential research and collaboration opportunities.

 The field visit conducted from 17th-20th July 2024 by the EfD –Mak centre  in the districts of Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube  aimed to bridge the gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities,  environmental management and sustainable development.

The Team at the Kingfisher oil well. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The Team at the Kingfisher oil well.

The centre has established two layers of policy engagement by registering key policy actors both at national and subnational levels. This year’s centre theme is “Energy Efficiency”. The theme was selected following the need for transformation from biomass dependence to cleaner energy sources at household level, but also the need for cleaner energies in manufacturing, transport among others.

The reliance on biomass is a key global challenge towards environmental protection and reversing climate change effects. In Uganda, over 85% and 13% of the population use firewood and charcoal for cooking respectively.

The Team visits the Luweero Industries Ltd waste treatment plant. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The Team visits the Luweero Industries Ltd waste treatment plant.

Established in 2018 and inaugurated at Makerere University in 2019, the EfD Mak centre strives to foster transdisciplinary research, knowledge transfer, and research-to-policy engagement and community interventions in environmental economics.

In view of the above, the centre organized a three day outreach in three districts and held her inaugural Annual General Meeting and launched a policy dialogue on 18th July 2024 at Glory Summit Hotel in Hoima which attracted over 60 people including district leadership, community based organisations, civil servants, private sector and academia.

Prof. Johnny Mugisha (5th Left) with other members of the team at the first Oil driller sunk by Tullow Oil at Kasamene Site. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
Prof. Johnny Mugisha (5th Left) with other members of the team at the first Oil driller sunk by Tullow Oil at Kasamene Site.

 For the last two days, the researchers  led by the Centre Deputy Director Prof Johnny Mugisha visited the  Uganda Petroleum Authority in Hoima, visited  oil wells including the Central Processing Facility, King fisher, Tilenga Industrial Park,  Kasemene site 1, the Luwero Industries Ltd Oil waste treatment plant and the Kabalega International Airport.

“The objective of visiting the oil and gas sites and companies  is to enable our research fellows  familiarize with activities and operations in Uganda’s oil and gas with a view of fostering researchable projects, constructive dialogue and policy developments on critical  issues related to sustainable development, environmental stewardship, environmental risk management and responsible oil and gas operations in the sensitive ecosystem of Lake Albert and Murchison Falls National park”, team leader, Prof. Mugisha explained.

The team visits the Central Processing Facility. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The team visits the Central Processing Facility.

The centre’s areas of interest included the environmental impact assessment and monitoring, petroleum waste management practices, integration of biodiversity conservation, community engagement and socio economic impacts.

Other areas of interest were regulatory framework and compliance, water resource management and protection, climate change resilience and adaptation strategies, corporate social responsibility initiatives, long term environmental management plans and how Makerere University can collaborate effectively with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, CNOOC, UNOC and Total Uganda to enhance research and knowledge sharing on sustainable practices, environmental conservation and petroleum management.

EfD Researchers Gain Critical Insights from Oil and Gas Community Visits

Researchers concluded a three-day visit to oil and gas communities, gaining firsthand insights into the sector’s impact and future prospects. The visit emphasized the need for informed research and sustainable planning to maximize the benefits of Uganda’s oil and gas resources and prepare for future challenges.

The Team receives a talk at the Luweero Industries Ltd waste treatment plant. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The Team receives a talk at the Luweero Industries Ltd waste treatment plant.

Firsthand Observations Critical: Dr. Madina Mwagale Guloba, Senior Research Fellow at EfD Mak, emphasized the value of seeing conditions on the ground to counteract misinformation about oil and gas exploration. “Seeing is believing, and seeing also learning from a point of view is very critical,” she stated. Dr. Guloba dispelled what she termed “corridor talk,” noting that community members affected by oil projects appeared happier and saw more opportunities. She stressed the importance of sustainable planning, saying, “In the next 30 years, people would have gotten even more opportunities.”

Cross-Cutting Research Needed: Prof. Johnny Mugisha, Deputy Centre Director, emphasized the necessity of interdisciplinary research, noting the interdependence of the petroleum sector and farming communities. He underscored that Makerere University needs to boost its research and outreach efforts to aid policy development. “From interactions in Hoima, Bulisa, and with people in the oil sector, the lessons learned indicate that Makerere University has much more to contribute, especially in research, outreach, and grassroots stakeholder engagement. We often view the petroleum and gas sector as separate from farming communities, but our experiences show a significant relationship and interaction between them. Therefore, research should not be limited to one entity but should be cross-cutting,” stated Mugisha.

The Team visits the home of the resettled beneficiary engaged in adding value to cassava. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The Team visits the home of the resettled beneficiary engaged in adding value to cassava.

On-the-Ground Engagement: Dr. Alex Tatwangire, Research Fellow and Lecturer, emphasized the value of direct stakeholder interaction, noting effective environmental mitigation plans and agricultural integration in restoring livelihoods for project-affected persons. He called for continued research to address policy gaps. The visit highlighted the importance of informed research and sustainable planning in maximizing the benefits of Uganda’s oil and gas resources while preparing for future opportunities.

Reflecting on his experience, Dr. Tatwangire remarked, “This engagement with stakeholders on the policy of energy utilization in Hoima has been incredibly useful. We’ve had the chance to observe the oil extraction process firsthand. Reading about it and hearing about it is one thing, but going on the ground and interacting with everyone involved provides a much richer understanding.”

Dr. Alex Tatwangire at the house of one of the resettled beneficiaries. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
Dr. Alex Tatwangire at the house of one of the resettled beneficiaries.

He continued, “Seeing the wells, well pads, regulations, infrastructure, and the oil pipeline being laid, and being assured that oil will flow within a year, has been enlightening. We’ve learned a lot about the connections between the environment and how plans are in place to mitigate environmental damage. We also saw how agriculture is integrated into livelihood restoration for project-affected persons, with strategies to strengthen these livelihoods through training, seeds, and advanced technologies.”

Dr. Tatwangire concluded, “I return with a great appreciation for the progress being made. As researchers, our role is to identify gaps, explore research questions, and provide the evidence policymakers need to improve policy planning. I am grateful to EfD, our financiers, and Makerere University for these opportunities, and I hope for more such engagements to enhance our relevance in policy debates and development.”

Jane Anyango is the Communication Officer EfD Uganda

More photos from the Field Visit

The first Oil driller sunk by Tullow Oil at Kasamene Site. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The first Oil driller sunk by Tullow Oil at Kasamene Site.

First Crude Oil storage tanks at Kasamene Site 1. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
First Crude Oil storage tanks at Kasamene Site 1.

The Team visits the home of the resettled beneficiary engaged in adding value to cassava. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The Team visits the home of the resettled beneficiary engaged in adding value to cassava.
A stopover at a pipeline connecting to Tilenga. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
A stopover at a pipeline connecting to Tilenga.

A visit to Kabalega International Airport. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
A visit to Kabalega International Airport.

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