Makerere University College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) through the Department of Physics is hosting the 2023 Annual Meeting for the Energy Technology Network (EnergyNet) Project.
The three-day meeting taking place at the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering is being attended by partners from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Makerere University (Uganda), Mekelle University (Ethiopia), Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) and Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique). It was officially opened by the Principal, CoNAS, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta on 9th January 2023.
EnergyNet is a six-year (2021-2026) project supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) under NORHED II. The project is a network of African universities collaborating on education and research in Energy Technology. Prof. Ole Jorgen Nydal from NTNU is the main coordinator of the Project. At Makerere University, the project is coordinated by Dr Nyeinga Karidewa, Lecturer in the Department of Physics.
Objectives of the project
i) To increase the quality of MSc/PhD educational programmes in Renewable Energy by training PhDs and MSc students in energy
ii) Conduct research in small scale renewable energy systems
iii) Bring results from the laboratory to the society
Purpose of the project workshop
The workshop was convened to share reports on the progress of the project at each of the partner institutions, complete the project activity report for 2022, and to develop a work plan and budget for 2023. The workshop featured several presentations covering both technical and social aspects of the research in energy.
Research areas by the partner institutions under the project
- Solar thermal energy storage systems for off grid cooking applications
- Modelling and simulating back heating sources and multiple cookers integrated with heat storage
Dar es Saalam University (Tanzania)
- Solar refrigeration
- Mini hydropower – using pumps
Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique)
- Solar cooker technologies acceptance among pastoral communities in disaster areas
- Solar thermal technology – charging by evacuated tubes
Addis Ababa University
The AAiT team at Addis Ababa University is working with two PhDs in thematic areas of refrigeration and solar thermal cooking. The first system is used for milk cooling and pasteurization with potential application for dairy farmers. The second one focuses on design, development, and experimental investigation of photovoltaic based institutional injera baking system with phase change materials with potential application in Universities, correction centres and hospitals where injera is baked in mass. Abdulkadir Aman Hassen (PhD) is the project coordinator from AAU. Other coordinators are; Boaventura Cuamba, Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique); Joseph Kihedu, University of Dar es Salaam; Mulu Bayray, Mekelle University; Ishmael B.M. Kosamu, University of Malawi, and Tito Achire, Juba University.
During the workshop, PhD students on the project presented progress reports and plans for 2023. Mr. Richard Ochaya from UNHCR presented energy challenges faced in refugee camps in Uganda, and the need to work closely with universities to find sustainable solutions.
The partner universities have a long history of collaboration on research and education in renewable energy. The experiences and the results from the group (programmes and research), will be shared as support for capacity building at the University of Malawi and the University of Juba (South Sudan) which are at an earlier stage on the research capacity path.
The research tasks have been solution oriented, with the exploration of new and innovative technical solutions for small scale energy components and systems related to hydro and wind power, solar and bio energy for cooking and solar refrigeration technology. Focus is on thermal energy solutions (heating, cooling, cooking) and the integration of heat batteries with electrical batteries in micro grid systems. Emphasis is on qualifying and implementing new technical solutions emerging from university research, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. The educational part includes a new multidisciplinary PhD programme combining technical, socioeconomic and environmental studies. The quality of the existing master programmes will be enhanced by joint curriculum reviews, improvement of research based teaching and migration towards more digital teaching methods.
Mak Paves Path to Biodiversity Leadership: Inaugural ABS Project Workshop Strengthening Uganda’s Nagoya Protocol Capacity
By Laban Lwasa
In a groundbreaking event that unfolded at Makerere University‘s Telepresence Center on November 7, 2023, the Inception Workshop for the ABS Project took center stage, hosted by the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Department of Plant Sciences, Microbiology, and Biotechnology. Prof. Tumps Ireeta, Principal of CoNAS, set the tone with a warm welcome, highlighting Uganda’s rich biodiversity and the pivotal role of the Nagoya Protocol in ensuring the legal utilization of genetic resources. The collaboration between NEMA and Makerere University, supported by the GEF, aims to equip professionals with ABS knowledge and position Makerere at the forefront of Nagoya Protocol compliance.
Prof. Arthur Kajungu Tugume, Dean of the School of Biosciences, emphasized the project’s significance in institutional capacity strengthening for the Nagoya Protocol’s implementation in Uganda, showcasing the School of Biosciences as a hub for genetic resource research and training. The pilot project, in collaboration with NEMA, GEF, and UNEP, aims to expand countrywide and potentially across the African continent. It seeks to empower a skilled workforce informed on ABS issues, contributing to economic development and poverty eradication as aligned with SDG 1.
Mr. Achuu Peter, Project Manager from NEMA, highlighted Uganda’s extraordinary biodiversity and the need to explore the benefits of genetic resources for medicines, food, and more. He emphasized the importance of the Nagoya Protocol in mitigating biodiversity loss and highlighted challenges faced by Uganda in terms of weak institutional capacity, inadequate policies, and lack of coordination for ABS. The project focuses on strengthening ABS frameworks, capacity building, community-level management, and raising awareness to ensure equitable benefits from genetic resource utilization.
Mr. Daniel Abowe, UNCST ABS Project Officer, shed light on the complex landscape of national ABS laws in Uganda, resulting in legal complexity and high transaction costs for users. He also detailed the Uganda research approval process, emphasizing UNCST’s role in ABS implementation, which includes issuing access permits and ensuring benefit-sharing agreements. The multifaceted project aims to align Uganda with the Nagoya Protocol’s goals and foster collaboration between higher institutions and local communities for the management of genetic resources.
Dr. Katuura Esther, the Project Principal Investigator at Makerere University, highlighted the institution’s pivotal role in training and research. Makerere University aspires to be a thought leader, committed to providing transformative teaching, learning, research, and services that cater to dynamic national and global needs. The institution’s strategic goals encompass leadership in high-quality programs, knowledge dissemination, research, scholarship promotion, and corporate social responsibility. Dr. Esther also addressed the challenges and opportunities in preserving indigenous knowledge, emphasizing the role of digital technologies and collaboration between research institutions and local communities.
The programs designated for updating at Makerere University are a comprehensive effort to align with the Nagoya Protocol. Notable among these programs are BSc Applied and Economic Botany, BSc in Conservation Biology, Bachelor of Biotechnology, Masters in Botany, Masters in Genetics, Masters in Plant Pathology and Crop Science, and Masters in Economic Botany. This holistic approach aims to contribute to the conservation and equitable utilization of genetic resources.
Dr. Cyprian Misinde, the Director of Quality Assurance at Makerere University, emphasized the importance of incorporating international and global standards into the academic curriculum. He underscored the crucial role of projects like ABS in enhancing the capacity of professionals and equipping them to become part of a globally competitive workforce. This workshop marked a significant stride in Uganda’s journey towards sustainable biodiversity management and conservation, creating a ripple effect that extends far beyond its borders, leaving a lasting impact on the world stage.
Laban Lwasa is the Senior Administrative Assistant, Makerere University, Grants Administration and Management Support Unit (GAMSU)
Ugandan student Dorothy Akoth wins 2023 GBIF Graduate Researchers Award
Ms. Dorothy Akoth, a Master’s student at the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University has been named one of two winners of the 2023 GBIF Graduate Researchers Award. An expert jury selected Akoth, who was nominated by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology together with National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI), for the instrumental role of her research in improving the knowledge of the distribution and imperilment status of 110 native fish species outside the iconic Haplochromine tribe of East African cichlids. The student was supervised by Prof. Fredrick Muyodi and Dr. Jackson Efitre
from the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences at CoNAS, Makerere University, and Dr Vanny Natugonza of Busitema University.
Since its inception in 2010, the annual GBIF Graduate Researchers Award (previously the Young Researchers Award) has sought to promote and encourage innovation in biodiversity-related research using data shared through the GBIF network.
CARTA Fellow Anywar Selected as Fellow of ASLP
Godwin Anywar (cohort 6 graduate, Makerere University) was selected as a fellow of the Africa Science Leadership Programme (ASLP) based at the Future Africa Campus at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, on September 8, 2023.
Within the month, he:
- Will be participating in the Uganda-Swiss Museum Cooperation Workshop from September 24 – October 4, 2023, in Kampala, Uganda, and will present on ‘Traditional Medicine in Transition.’
- Presented a keynote paper on ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing during the PhD Journey’ at the Makerere University Business School (MUBS) 27th Annual International Management Conference (AIMC) under the theme “Leveraging Governance, Human Capital and Technology for Sustainability in Kampala – Uganda on September 25 – 27, 2023.
- Presented a paper on ‘The Cannabis/Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) Landscape in Africa: An Overview of its Cultivation and Legal Aspects’ at the 20th International Napreca Conference on Natural Network for East and Central Africa (NAPRECA) in Harare, Zimbabwe on September 20, 2023.
- Attended the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Science Forum at the University of Nairobi on September 20, 2023, to celebrate 50 years of DAAD in East Africa.
Source: CARTA Newsletter Issue 69
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