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Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards and PhD Call Launched

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On Thursday September 29th, 2022, Prof. Banarbas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor Makerere University joined the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee and Secretariat to launch yet another cohort of awardees benefiting from the Mak-RIF 4 awards. This cohort comprises of 71 multidisciplinary awardees bringing the number of currently supported and funded projects to over 800 within the various Colleges also engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University (funded through financial years 2019/2020,2020/2021, 2021/2022 and 2022/2023). Cumulatively, over the last three Financial Years, Mak-RIF has committed to award projects worth Ugx- 94,759,306,363. It was also during this session when the PhD Call for Proposals was rolled out. Details are shared on https://rif.mak.ac.ug/call-for-applications-phd-research-grants/

The Researchers and Innovators joined in the session virtually and Prof. Nawangwe and part of the Mak-RIF team convened in the Mak-RIF Boardroom.
The Researchers and Innovators joined in the session virtually and Prof. Nawangwe and part of the Mak-RIF team convened in the Mak-RIF Boardroom.

Makerere University through the Mak-RIF is supporting implementation of high impact research and innovation projects with funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda. 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. “As we move towards being research led university, we are grateful that the government of the republic of Uganda is increasingly attaching importance to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation through such funding to Makerere University. This is evident from the fact that we are now moving on to fund PhD students.” noted Prof. Nawangwe, Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor. For starters, we anticipate funding about 100 PhDs utilizing approximately 3 billion Uganda Shillings.

Prof. Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor Makerere University and Prof. Masagazi, Chairperson Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee.
Prof. Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor Makerere University and Prof. Masagazi, Chairperson Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee.

Some of the research and innovation outputs to-date include; Solar Powered Autoclaves for use in Rural Health Centers, the Pedal-Operated Seed Cleaner, an electronic partograph for improved monitoring of labor, to reduce maternal mortality, Integration of on – and off – grid decentralized renewable energy systems: Enabling Uganda’s largest distributor UMEME to pilot the integration of off – grid decentralized renewable energy systems (DREs) with grid systems to extend electricity access to unserved communities, the Organ and Tissue Biobanking project, Enhancing Value addition on Potato-Sorghum enterprises, Makerere University Decontaminator for N95 Face Masks and other items, the Touchless Hand Wash Device and automation of communal hand water pumps and shallow-well hand-pumps project: To reduce cross-infections during handwashing, the Low-Cost Medical Ventilator currently undergoing animal tests at Makerere University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity and Self-disinfecting gloves among other projects among others.

Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi during his remarks noted that; “This Financial Year has brought on board very important windows for funding. These include Commercialization which is allocated 1.5billion Uganda Shillings representing 5% of the total Mak-RIF budget for the current Financial Year. The PhD window for our PHD students will take 3 billion representing 10%. We envisage that this figure will increase during the subsequent years”.

Prof. Masagazi also noted that the numbers of Senior and experienced Researchers responding to the Mak-RIF calls is rising. This will help to mentor the junior researchers.

The Mak-RIF team has held capacity building engagements with several researchers at college level to build capacity for our staff in the science of research and innovations including reporting and accountability. Impact of such engagements is evidenced in the quality of proposals we receive. The secretariat is committed to providing support to the researchers throughout the whole process. Accountability and reporting. We have for the last three Financial Years received unqualified audit report and we pledge to continue with the good work. In addition, we have continued to encourage our researchers to produce and widely share Policy/Knowledge briefs and communicate findings through disseminations, stakeholder engagements, use of the media including social media and publishing in academic journals. More so, Mak-RIF’s work is widely shared verbally through strategic engagements and online specifically on our robust and dynamic Website rif.mak.ac.ug (this site is linked to the Makerere University main Website to allow for wider information sharing among other advantages), Social Media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube among others. I implore all of you to contribute to the conversations online for wider reach and better impact.

The new awardees were later inducted on Wednesday October 12, 2022, through Friday 14, 2022. It was during this session when awardees were taken through general project management tips, Intellectual property acquisition processes, processing of funds, accountability and reporting, procurement, stakeholder engagement and dissemination among others.

Induction of the Mak-RIF4 Awardees with all researchers and innovators online and the Mak-RIF Secretariat in the Mak-RIF Boardroom.
Induction of the Mak-RIF4 Awardees with all researchers and innovators online and the Mak-RIF Secretariat in the Mak-RIF Boardroom.

Congratulations to all the new awardees. We are all looking forward to the effective execution of all the supported/funded projects.

General

Advert: Admission to PhD in Public Health Programme 2024/2025

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The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites applications from suitable candidates for admission to a Three Year Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health (By Coursework & Dissertation) with the following Tracks for the 2024/2025 Academic Year tenable in the College of Health Sciences:

  • Health Systems,
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics,
  • Community Health and Behavioural Sciences,
  • Disease Control and
  • Environmental Health

In addition to the general admission requirements of Makerere University, Applicants should possess the following qualifications:

A master’s degree from a recognized and chartered university in health sciences e.g. Medicine (Human and Veterinary), Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Public Health, etc;

OR

A masters’ degree in Biological Sciences, Environmental Sciences, or Laboratory Sciences;

OR

A masters’ degree in Social Sciences i.e. Social Work, Sociology, Economics, Statistics, Demography, Monitoring and Evaluation with at least three consecutive years’ working experience in a health related program.

Candidates whose first language is not English or did not go through an education system with

English as the medium of instruction will be required to prove that they have sufficient command of the English language to cope with post-graduate studies at Makerere University.

Candidates for the Epidemiology and Biostatistics track should have undertaken both MPH 7103 Applied Biostatistics I and MPH 7203 Applied Biostatistics II, and any other course in statisticswith equivalent content, with a pass grade point of at least 3.0.

Candidates for the Health Systems track should have had at least three consecutive years work in a health related program except holders of master’s in health sciences.

Strictly observe the closing date of 31st May, 2024

Contact the offices of the Dean, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences for any further information regarding the programme.

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Research

11 CARTA Fellows Triumph with Postdoctoral Awards

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Dr. Henry Zakumumpa, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH). Photo: YouTube/Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC). Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

We celebrate our 11 outstanding fellows for receiving postdoctoral awards from CARTA after a competitive selection process. Among them are four recipients of fellowship grants: Nanfizat Abiket Alamukii, Adeyinka Olufolake Adefolarin, and Blessings Nyasilia Kaunda-Khangamwa. Additionally, seven fellows have received re-entry grants: Skye Nandi Adams, Christine Minoo Mbindyo, Priscille Musabirema, Oyeyemi Olajumoke Oyelade, Eniola Olubukola Cadmus, and Alex John Ntamatungiro. Join us on a journey to explore the topics, significance, and uniqueness of each fellow’s research, deserving of this prestigious recognition.

Fellowship Grants

Henry Zakumumpa

Affiliation: Makerere University, School of Public Health

Host institution: Moi University, College of Health Sciences

What is your research topic?

Leveraging differentiated service delivery models in Uganda to address the syndemics of HIV, hypertension, and diabetes

Why is your research important?

In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), we’re confronting a health crisis with rising non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like hypertension and diabetes, alongside ongoing challenges in HIV treatment. While diseases like HIV and malaria receive global support, NCDs like diabetes and hypertension often get overlooked. It’s frustrating, but we must bridge this gap to ensure care reaches those in need.

What is unique about your research?

Since 2004, Uganda’s received $5B+ in donor aid for HIV, driving innovations in care and treatment access. Building on this success, my study leverages HIV care platforms to combat hypertension and diabetes epidemics. Exploring community-based drug distribution, I aim to extend medication access for HIV and NCDs in Uganda and beyond.

What can you tell CARTA and your affiliation?

Thanks to CARTA and Makerere University, I can conduct crucial research on rising non-communicable diseases in Africa, contributing to vital solutions. Their commitment to empowering African-led research is pivotal in advancing agendas continent-wide. Grateful for this opportunity!

Source: CARTA

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Business & Management

Study Reveals Taxation Issues in Uganda’s Informal Economy

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Lack of a structured taxation framework for informal businesses - a significant cause of tax non-compliance among traders in Uganda. Underlying factors contributing to the shadow economy and its implications for the national tax system, a collaborative research project involving eight university scholars. Dissemination workshop by Principal Investigator Dr. Ismail Kintu and others, 25th April 2024, Nansana Municipality Council, Wakiso District, Uganda. East Africa. Group photo of the workshop participants.

A recent study by researchers at Makerere University’s College of Business and Management Sciences has identified the lack of a structured taxation framework for informal businesses as a significant cause of tax non-compliance among traders in Uganda. This revelation came from a collaborative research project involving eight university scholars, who examined the underlying factors contributing to the shadow economy and its implications for the national tax system.

The findings were presented by Dr. Ismail Kintu, the study’s Principal Investigator, at a dissemination workshop held in Nansana Municipality Council, Wakiso District, on Thursday. The research, initiated in 2022, aimed to assess traders’ perceptions of fairness within the taxation system and how this relates to voluntary tax compliance.

“Traders said the system is unfair to them,” Dr. Kintu explained during the workshop. “Our research aimed to understand what fairness means in Uganda’s context.” According to the study, fairness in the tax system is crucial for voluntary compliance, suggesting that taxes should be aligned with one’s revenue, and penalties should be applied equitably.

Dr. Kintu the PI of the research project. Lack of a structured taxation framework for informal businesses - a significant cause of tax non-compliance among traders in Uganda. Underlying factors contributing to the shadow economy and its implications for the national tax system, a collaborative research project involving eight university scholars. Dissemination workshop by Principal Investigator Dr. Ismail Kintu and others, 25th April 2024, Nansana Municipality Council, Wakiso District, Uganda. East Africa.
Dr. Kintu the PI of the research project.

The researchers developed a proposed framework for taxing the informal economy, emphasizing the importance of consulting key stakeholders, such as district commercial officers, tax consultants, and leaders from traders’ associations, before implementing tax policies. The framework recommends engaging these stakeholders in meetings with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Ministry of Finance to ensure that new tax policies are inclusive and fair.

The study also suggests the need for flexibility in tax collection, advocating for payment in installments and prior notification to traders before collecting taxes. This approach, the researchers argue, would help build trust and encourage compliance among informal traders.

The researchers’ proposed framework includes annual mapping of policy gaps in the informal economy and developing solutions to address them. This process would involve regular consultations with stakeholders to refine the tax system and maintain fairness.

Mr Festo Tandeka, the Town Clerk of Nansana Municipality. Lack of a structured taxation framework for informal businesses - a significant cause of tax non-compliance among traders in Uganda. Underlying factors contributing to the shadow economy and its implications for the national tax system, a collaborative research project involving eight university scholars. Dissemination workshop by Principal Investigator Dr. Ismail Kintu and others, 25th April 2024, Nansana Municipality Council, Wakiso District, Uganda. East Africa.
Mr Festo Tandeka, the Town Clerk of Nansana Municipality.

Local officials who attended the workshop expressed support for the research findings. Mr. Festo Tandeka, Nansana Municipality town clerk, encouraged traders to cultivate a culture of paying taxes but cautioned against excessive taxation. He recommended allowing tax payments in installments to avoid overburdening traders.

Similarly, Mr. Shaffic Ali Nsubuga, Nansana Municipality Deputy Resident District Commissioner, urged tax officers to approach tax collection with compassion, suggesting that prior notices be given to traders before taxes are collected.

The findings of the Makerere University study arrive at a critical time, as Ugandan traders have recently protested against increasing taxes. Mr. Joshua Mawerere, a youth representative from the Kampala City Traders Association, welcomed the study, noting that it brings clarity to issues surrounding tax policies. He urged the government to raise awareness about new tax systems, like the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS), which some traders mistakenly perceive as additional taxes.

The study’s comprehensive approach to understanding the informal economy’s taxation challenges may pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable tax system in Uganda, fostering greater compliance and reducing the size of the shadow economy.

The research was funded by the government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF). Speaking at the stakeholders’ engagement on April 25th, Ms Evelyn Nyacho who represented the chair of the grants committee, congratulated Dr. Kintu and team upon the timely research finding. She said the findings would help URA and the traders coming after a traders’ strike over taxation. She said Mak-RIF was happy to sponsor research that is aimed at solving society issues like taxation. “I was happy to learn that taxes can be pay in installments. I hope traders can embrace this flexibility in paying taxes,” she said. She appreciated government for the research funding to the university. The government commits Shs30 billion annually to research at Makerere University in an effort to spur development of the country.

The research team

Dr Kintu (PI), Prof Eria Hisali (Co. PI), Dr Fred Bateganya, Dr Willy Kagarura, Mr Patrick Lumala, Mr Nicholas Musoke, Ms Marion Atukunda, and Ms Winfred Nalwoga.

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