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Strengthening Research Administration at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, School of Public Health

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By Stella Kakeeto

In 2021, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID) awarded Makerere University College of Health Sciences, School of Public Health (MakCHS, SPH) a grant for 18 months, aimed to make our university better at managing NIH Grant Awards. We’re thrilled to tell you about what we’ve done and the great things we’ve achieved.

Four experienced administrators from MakCHS, SPH took part in two intensive training sessions focused on managing grants at our partner institution, George Washington University (GWU), located in Washington, D.C. This choice was deliberate, as GWU is well-versed in handling a large number of NIH grants, making them experts in this field. Even the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t slow down our progress. The first training, held virtually from July to November 2021, formed the bedrock of our understanding of NIH grants administration principles and best practices. Through this online format, we were able to involve five junior administrators, making a total of nine individuals who benefited from the program. 

About the Strengthening Makerere University's Research Administration Capacity for efficient management of NIH Grant Awards (SMAC) Project.
About the Strengthening Makerere University’s Research Administration Capacity for efficient management of NIH Grant Awards (SMAC) Project.

Our commitment to excellence did not stop at GWU. Eight MakCHS, SPH administrators participated in specialized trainings organized by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in May and December 2021. These tailored sessions further solidified their grasp on program funding and grants administration, strengthening their expertise to navigate the complexities of NIAID/NIH grants with finesse.

The journey towards mastery continued with four MakCHS, SPH administrators attending the NIH virtual seminar on program funding in November 2021, followed by the NIH virtual Grants conference in February 2023. These specialized engagements honed their skills in grant proposal development, financial management, monitoring, and ethical considerations, painting them as truly empowered Institutional Grants Management Leaders.

The robust staff training and mentorship plan developed became the bedrock for illuminating NIH funding policies and regulations, nurturing a deep understanding among grants administrators and research investigators. Seventy-two junior administrators from MakCHS, SPH along with 28 from the East African region, engaged in 20 virtual training sessions. The success of this endeavor materialized through the Research Administrator Buddy Mentorship Program and RA Community of Practice, fostering collaboration and peer support networks that transcended borders. 

These strides have translated into remarkable success stories. Our senior administrators led the charge in submitting 12 NIH prime grant applications, with more than half of them receiving favorable reviews from NIH. This achievement stands as a significant milestone for MakCHS, SPH reflecting our growing expertise and impact.

Additionally, we’re proud to highlight the substantial support we extended to three mentees, enabling them to secure Fellowships at George Washington University through the University research administration program of IREX, funded by the Carnegie Foundation. This initiative not only underscores our commitment to continuous professional development but also serves as a testament to our dedication to global collaboration. 

SMAC mentees at George Washington University.
SMAC mentees at George Washington University.

Furthering our impact, our grant award (1G11AI160669-01) has been recognized as a model application on the official NIAID website. This acknowledgment has considerably elevated the visibility of our project activities and investigators. It has sparked interest and paved the way for collaboration and partnership opportunities, positioning our proposal as a source of inspiration and guidance for researchers and grant applicants.

The culmination of our efforts will be pronounced at the upcoming 2023 SRAI Conference in Seattle, Washington. During this event, the Principal Investigator of the SMAC Project Ms. Stella Kakeeto will be honored with the esteemed “Future of the Field” recognition, which prestigious accolade serves as a testament to the significance of our work in propelling knowledge and practices within the grants administration community. It also signifies the influential role our senior administrators have played in shaping the future of grants administration practices on a global scale. 

Congratulatory Message - Stella Kakeeto
Congratulatory Message – Stella Kakeeto

With these remarkable achievements as our foundation, we eagerly anticipate harnessing their power as we forge ahead, building an even brighter future for MakCHS, SPH and its contributions to the world of research administration.

Many thanks to our Project Advisory Committee led by Professor David Serwadda and our collaborators from GWU led by Dr. Paul Ndebele, along with the support of Professors Rhoda Wanyenze and Damalie Nakanjako, and Dr. David Musoke. A special thanks to Dr. LeShawndra Price and her team from NIAID. Your crucial support has been instrumental in our achievements.

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Advert: Mature Age Entry Scheme – Private Sponsorship 2024/2025

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Students sit for an exam in the pre-COVID era, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites applications for the Undergraduate
Programmes under the Mature Age Entry Scheme only for Private Sponsorship for
2024/2025 Academic Year.
Non-Refundable Application fee of Shs. 50,000/= for Ugandans OR $75 Equivalent for
Internationals, plus bank charge should be paid in any of the banks used by Uganda
Revenye Authority after generating a Payment Reference Number (PRN).

  • Apply using the Institution’s Applications Portal URL:https: //apply.mak.ac.ug
  • Application is for candidates who passed the Mature Age Entry Examinations of December 17, 2022 and February 24, 2024 only.
  • Any candidate who passed the examinations in mentioned above and was not admitted on Government/ Private sponsorship for December 17, 2022 sitting, and for Government sponsorship for February 24, 2024 sitting, is eligible to apply for admission on Private Sponsorship for 2024 /2025 Academic Year.

The closing date for applying will be Friday 26th July, 2024.

Further details can be accessed by following this link.

Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza
ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

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Diploma/Degree Holders Admission Lists 2024/25

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Main Library, Makerere University. Photo taken on 29th February 2016.

The Office of Academic Registrar, Makerere University has released lists of Diploma/Degree Holder applicants admitted under Private/Self Sponsorship for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that admission is subject to verification of academic documents by the awarding institutions.

The admission list is displayed here below:

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African Futures Research Leadership Program: Cohort 5 – Call for Scholars

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Participants at the initial AAP convening participate in design-thinking exercises to help imagine the future of partnerships between MSU and Africa. Photo: AAP

The Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) is seeking applicants for the fifth cohort of the AAP African Futures Research Leadership Program. This competitive visiting scholar program supports early career researchers from the AAP consortium to work for one year under the mentorship of faculty members from MSU and their home institution, focusing on building skills in research for impact, writing scholarly and/or policy publications, disseminating of research results, and developing grant proposals for external support. Scholars will also participate in a structured professional development program while building bridges and lasting connections with MSU contacts and across their cohort. 

The main objective of the African Futures program is to strengthen the capacity of a cadre of African researchers to return to their home institutions and become scientific leaders in their community, establish long-term partnerships with MSU faculty, co-create innovative solutions to Africa’s challenges, and in turn become trainers of the next generation of researchers. This program aims to address the gender gap in Africa, where only 30% of researchers are women, so scholars selected for the program will be women, or men who can demonstrate they are committed to support efforts towards gender equity in higher education institutions in Africa. The research areas that the scholars will engage in during the program should be aligned to AAP’s research priority areas

The AAP Management Team requests applications from early career researchers to participate in the next cohort, with work to begin virtually in February 2025. Scholars will spend September – December 2025 at MSU for the in-person portion of the program, followed by another period of virtual collaboration, ending in early 2026. The scholar and mentor team will receive a small grant for research and professional development activities including conference attendance and publication. Scholars will also receive a stipend during their time at MSU, visa application support, and round-trip travel from their home institution.

Eligibility

  • Citizen of an African country 
  • Completion of a PhD degree within the last 10 years 
  • Employed as an Academic Staff member at one of the AAP African consortium universities including Egerton University, Makerere University, University of Dar es Salaam, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Botswana, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University Cheikh Anta Diop, University of Arts and Humanities, Bamako, United States International University-Africa, and University of Pretoria 
  • Have documented approval of leave or sabbatical to participate in the program for the in-person period 
  • Have a mentor at their home institution that will serve as a collaborator and mentor
  • Research must be in one of the AAP priority areas
  • Applicants may only submit one proposal to AAP in this round of funding. Prior scholars are not eligible to apply. 

To learn more about the program, including how to apply, click below

Learn more

Applications to be an African Futures scholar are due August 18, 2024

Additional program dates:

  • Program start date (virtual): February 2025
  • In-person program: Sept – Dec 2025
  • Program end date: February 2026

Please contact Jose Jackson-Malete at jacks184@msu.edu or +1 517-353-6989 with any questions.

Source: AAP

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