Call for Applications Round 4

 Call for Applications Round 4


A1. Funding opportunity description

Makerere University received special funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, to support high impact Research and Innovations. 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. The fund is therefore aimed at complementing available funding to address unfunded priorities critical to accelerating development. Over the last three Financial Years (2019/2020, 2020/21 and 2021/2022), government appropriated 79 Billion Uganda Shillings. Between the three years, MakRIF has funded a total of 775 projects across all sectors critical for development, of which 204 have been completed. In the next Financial Year (2022/23), Makerere University expects to receive about 30 Billion Uganda shillings (about US$ 8,100,000) under the Government Research and Innovation Fund (RIF). Of this, at least 6 Billion Shillings will fund new ideas that respond to a widely consultative Research Agenda focused on national priorities while the rest will fund continuing projects from previous financial years, extension of multi-year projects, needs based priorities, and commercialization/scaling of prior funded projects. The Makerere University Research and Innovation Grants Management Committee (GMC) therefore announces the RIF Round 4, Track 1 (New Research & Innovation Agenda-Based Grants). Available funds are obligated for the Financial Year 2022/2023. The GMC therefore invites applications with original ideas that demonstrate a clear link to key thematic areas of the National Research and Innovation Agenda.

A2. Research for Economic Development

To transition to middle-income status, low-income countries must increasingly invest in research and innovations that provide solutions to persistent development challenges. Universities should be at the fore-front of driving this research agenda. The Government of Uganda is currently implementing the 3rd National Development Plan (NDP) (2020/21 – 2024/25). However, the NDP and sector specific plans require research to fill evidence gaps. The main objective of the RIF is to support R&I initiatives that contribute to better delivery of National Development initiatives in all sectors critical to the economy.

A3. Scope and Technical Description of the Research and Innovation Grant

The RIF GMC’s terms of reference include development of an instructive research agenda as the basis for identifying funding priorities. The GMC conducted a comprehensive stakeholder consultation to identify priority thematic areas of interest for national development. These consultations included meetings with representatives from key government sectors, semi-autonomous government agencies, the private-for-profit sector and civil society. The GMC triangulated this information with that from the National Development Plan III, the Makerere University Strategic Plan and Research Agenda and the critical areas spelled out in the National Budget for FY2022/2023. The RIF Round 4, Track 1 (Research & Innovation Agenda-Based Grants) will therefore specifically target research and innovation projects that align with priority thematic issues in the instructive Research Agenda that arose from these consultations. Research and Innovation ideas are therefore sought in the following thematic areas:

Theme 1: Transforming the Agricultural sector to drive development

SDGs targeted: 2,1,3

The overall aim of the Sector is to increase national income from agriculture as the backbone of the economy, ensure household food security and promote household nutrition from sustainable agricultural production, effective value chains and fair trade. The sector is seeking solutions that boost the transformative potential of agriculture for Uganda’s economy. Specifically, the grant is seeking ideas in the following sub-themes:

Priority sub-themes

  1. The sector seeks solutions to cost-effectively increase agricultural production of both regular food and cash crops (cereals, legumes, milk, bananas, coffee, cassava etc.), animal products (meat, dairy and poultry) and high value outputs (horticulture, aquaculture, high value crops). Solutions could include improved affordable technologies or approaches to production, plant and animal breeding for better disease, pest and drought resistance, affordable approaches to disease control, novel affordable animal feeds, novel approaches to agricultural water resource management and optimization during dry spells, affordable irrigation technologies, soil management and sustainable fertilisers, affordable mechanisation for modernisation of production. Solutions could also involve natural/herbal/organic approaches to pest/disease control
  2. Innovations in post-harvest handling and improvement of phytosanitary conditions of produce to reduce post-harvest losses but also ensure safety in the use of chemicals agricultural chemicals and drugs are needed as are approaches to reduce post-harvest losses/wastage (e.g. in the grain and poultry industries).
  3. Post production, the sector is seeking novel affordable approaches to local value addition to agricultural produce including novel affordable technologies for local produce processing and data driven approaches to value chain analysis.
  4. The sector needs solutions on Increasing the mobilisation, access and utilisation of agricultural finance
  5. The sector needs solutions on Increasing market access and competitiveness of agricultural products in domestic and international markets
Theme 2: Achieving Sustainable health as a means to sustainable development

SDGs targeted: 3,1,6,10

The solutions targeted in this sector mainly aim at achieving universal health coverage through sustainable health measures. A healthy population not only reduces the strain on household and national resources but is the driving force for economic development. The sector also acknowledges that many determinants of health are placed in other sectors, thereby necessitating a cross-sectoral approach. Evidence is needed on new measures to reduce the burden of preventable diseases, but also increase the quality of life for the population through health. Specifically, proposals are sought under the following sub-themes:

Priority sub themes

  1. The sector needs solutions on how to prioritise countrywide vaccination to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
  2. There is a need for research on increasing the capacity to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases and reduce the pressure on our health systems.
  3. We need ideas and solutions to fast-track the development of a National Health Insurance Policy.
  4. There is a need for novel ideas on how to fast-track virus research and domestic production of human and animal vaccines in Low and Middle Income countries. New biotechnology products for early characterization, diagnosis and pre-emptive screening for deadly threats as well as just-in-time vaccine development capacity for new disease strains are necessary. Tools and approaches for better surveillance and improved public health response to emergencies are pertinent.
  5. Research is needed to develop scientifically accredited indigenous medicines since evidence shows that about 70-80% of Uganda’s population still rely on traditional medicines for their Primary Health Care.
Theme 3: Re-imagining Education to unlock capacity for economic development

SDGs targeted: 3,8,5,10

Education is the driving force for capacity development to develop the skills necessary to drive enterprise and innovation. The main expressed need of the sector is how to leverage the advantages of Uganda’s demographic dividend by providing education that imparts skills crucial for productivity in the 21st Century and for the world of work. The priority subthemes for the sector are laid out as follows:

Priority Sub-themes

  1. Research and innovations are needed to generate solutions and recommendations on how to best restore education to normality and attain pre-COVID-19 levels of access to education.
  2. Research on ways to increase education participation of girls, refugees and other vulnerable populations is also needed, including keeping children in schools (especially the girl-child), incentivizing parent participation in supporting the welfare of children in schools. Research that elucidates approaches for increasing the utility of higher education in improving performance of the private sector and industry is much needed. Given that the education sector is at the cross-roads for influencing many other SDGs in other sectors, evidence is needed on better models for integration of sector needs into formal education processes.
  3. Research and Innovations on how to Improve the productivity of the labour force through strengthening skills development.
Theme 4: Water, sanitation and the environment: A pre-requisite to sustainable development

SDGs targeted: 6,3,12,13

The main aim of the sector is to increase access to safe water for domestic use and water for production, and to safeguard the environment through sustainable development approaches. This is in a context where inadequate coverage with safe-water sources and water stress from recurrent dry spells abound leads to a high burden of sanitation related diseases, but also recurrent agricultural losses due to insufficient water. There are major gender disparities in the consequences of access to safe water. The sector seeks solutions under the following sub-themes:

Priority Sub-themes

  1. Research and Innovations to ensure safe water supply systems in rural areas in order to increase the number of water point systems and promote appropriate sanitation and hygiene technologies.
  2. Research and innovations to promote commercial tree planting.
  3. Research and innovations addressing wetland encroachment and restoration of wetlands.
Theme 5: Harnessing the social sector, culture and arts to drive development

SDGs targeted: 8,10,5

The most pertinent challenge faced by the country regarding social development is youth unemployment partly driven by lack of job and lack of skills. Other challenges relate to a lack of community agency to drive self-reliance as well as socio-cultural disparities that drive marginalisation of some populations. Solutions are requested in the following subthemes:

Priority sub themes

  1. Research into ways to complete the implementation of the PDM as a delivery strategy for transitioning households out of the subsistence to income economy.
  2. Research that aims at strengthening the Supervision of SACCOs including those formed under the EMYOOGA program and Parish Development Model (PDM).
  3. There is a need for research that will equip and operationalize community mobilisation and empowerment (CME) institutions and structures for effective citizen mobilisation and dissemination of information to guide and shape the mind-sets/attitudes of the population.
  4. The sector requires evidence on how to stimulate jobs from a predominantly informal economy and also how to rapidly skill the youth to meet the needs of the job market (including soft and hard skills).
  5. The sector needs novel approaches to leveraging the creative arts as a force for development, a source of jobs for youth and as a source of increased contribution to the country’s revenue.
  6. Solutions are needed to reduce the marginalisation gap faced by vulnerable groups in society. Research is needed on how to overcome gender barriers to the advancement of society including gender-based violence, gender and ageing, and mainstreaming of gender into operational plans.
  7. Solutions are needed on how to strengthen the role of the state to take on a more active role in development; development of a National Employment Strategy, in a process that will be consultative and reflective of the country's characteristics.
Theme 6. Harnessing Tourism, wildlife and heritage for development

SDGs targeted: 15,14,13,8,1,12

Uganda’s tourism sector is growing and the country is well positioned to be the leading tourist destination for the region. However, much more still needs to be done to unleash the county’s untapped tourism potential which is much higher than it is currently, and which can be a major source of revenue. Research and innovations are sought in the following priority sub-themes:

Priority sub-themes

  1. Innovations to sustain upstream investment in ongoing product development and tourism-related infrastructure.
  2. Ideas and solutions to Increase access to tourism recovery financing.
  3. Research is needed on approaches to boost Uganda’s current tourism potential by increasing visibility and demand for the available tourism products. Solutions are also needed to reduce the cost of accessibility to Uganda’s tourism destinations, novel ways in which local communities can benefit from local tourism, and how to increase domestic tourism by Ugandans.
  4. Innovative ways to hire and deploy market destination representative firms in key markets.
  5. Solutions are also needed for better wild-life conservation to protect the country’s wild-life diversity. Evidence of better approaches to wild-life disease management and epizootics is also needed. The sector also needs new tools, technologies and approaches to eliminate illicit trade on wild-life products. Management of human-wildlife conflicts in districts hosting/surrounding conservation.
Theme 7: Sustainable Planning, finance and monitoring as catalysts for growth

SDGs targeted: 1,8,11,12

Planning and finance are key cross-cutting sectors affecting development. Successful attainment of development goals need adequate monitoring of national plans as well as sustainable financing methods including a progressive tax base. Solutions are needed in the following sub-themes:

Priority Sub-themes

  1. The sector expressed the need for research and innovations that foster effective implementation of the National Development Plan and the Vision 2040. They need novel tools for collection of routine data from informal sectors of the economy including crowd-sourcing of economic data as well as mining and visualisation of big data to predict economic trends. Tools that support dynamic tracking of development initiatives and geo-location of development projects are welcome. There is also a need for new approaches for increasing the ability of communities to demand for better accountability from public programs.
  2. The sector needs research and ideas to implement the Government financing strategy including investing the short-term surplus cash, rolling out the use of Mobile money platform for Ugandans to invest in Government Securities, develop a system that will facilitate the Diaspora to invest in government securities and continue exploring new financing options enshrined in the Government of Uganda financing strategy
  3. Research is needed on how to operationalize the National Development Planning Research Agenda aimed at increasing the participation of non-actors in planning and budgeting; and citizen participation in Local Government Economic Development (LED).
  4. We need solutions on implementation of the Domestic Revenue Mobilisation Strategy aimed at raising the contribution of domestic revenues by 0.5 percentage points of Gross Domestic Product each Financial Year; and fast-track the activities of Extractive Industries.
  5. We need solutions to support the preparation of the pre-feasibility and feasibility and value chain studies in priority NDP III projects or areas.
  6. Novel solutions are needed to sustain the efforts geared towards analysing and negotiating for cheapest financing options available to reduce the cost of borrowing.
  7. Research is required on how to widen the automation of all systems in Government over the medium term. These include interfacing the Programme Budgeting System (PBS), Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP), Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPP), Fixed Asset module, Debt Management and Financial Analysis Program (DMFAS), Automated Information Management System (AIMs), Integrated Bank of Projects (IBP), Case management system among other systems.
  8. Strengthen Integrated Debt Management function through specialised training, Debt data Reconciliations /validation, Missions to bilateral creditors, and workshops and team building activities aimed at improving data integrity.
  9. Research is needed on innovative ways of enforcement of Standards for all Tier 4 Microfinance Institutions and Money Lenders under Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority.
Theme 8: Leveraging public service and local administration for efficient service delivery

SDGs targeted: 12,8,16,17

The mandate of the Public Service sector is to deliver effective and efficient social services to the people in a way that effectively reaches the last mile with a professional and competent civil service. The sector seeks solutions in the following sub-themes:

Priority Sub-themes:

  1. The sector expressed the need for better tools and approaches to ensuring an efficient civil service that is accountable to the people in implementing government programs. Furthermore, there is a need for approaches to digital transformation of public service delivery including strengthening of e-governance for better efficiency. Evidence is also needed on how to better account for public servants’ time, especially in peripheral service delivery workplaces and how to ensure better provision of value for money.
  2. There is need for research and evidence on better approaches to engagement of communities to mobilise them for development initiatives in ways that contribute to self-reliance and ways to optimise the use of digital identification to improve accountability and citizen services.
  3. Research is needed on how to develop and operationalize a digital/online content repository for information on Government of Uganda’s programs and projects.
  4. We need solutions on best practices for implementation of the Parish Development Model as a delivery strategy for transitioning households out of the subsistence to income economy.
Theme 9: Defence and security: Achieving sustainable peace and stability

SDGs targeted: 16

The defence and security sector has the mandate to ensure peace, security and the rule of law for citizens. A stable and secure country is not only crucial for economic investment but is key to a good quality of life for the citizens. This is coordinated through the armed forces, and other support systems for a secure country. The sector seeks research and innovation ideas in the following sub-thematic areas:

Priority Sub-themes

  1. The Sector has an interest in research and innovation outputs that improve the livelihoods of the men and women in uniform. Areas of interest to combatants’ livelihoods include: Strategies for addressing gender-based violence among combatants’ households, establish regional Command centres and toll-free lines to ease reporting of violent crimes including women murders and Kidnap cases thus strengthening people centred delivery security, law and order services, addressing post-traumatic stress disorder, improving food-security for combatant families and re-imagining the food rations for active combatants. The Sector is also interested in solutions that lead to better livelihoods for veterans of the armed forces including sustainable models for their economic empowerment.
  2. With the increase in conflict in our border countries, the sector needs solutions to enhance security and peace through coordination with other actors at national, regional and international levels.
  3. We need solutions to strengthen the promotion of downward accountability through public empowerment for anti-corruption.
  4. Reinforce investigation and prosecution of corruption cases before courts of law; Combat money laundering and recover illicitly acquired assets.
  5. A few years after the roll out of the CCTV project to control crime and maintain peace and security, there is a need to establish the efficiency of the project and identify gaps for improvement in identifying black spots in other parts of the country.
  6. Research is required on how to enhance the deployment of Intelligence Officers in the areas with heightened crime and Night deployment of both foot and motorised patrols in the crime prone areas.
  7. There is a need to strengthen community engagement for crime prevention through the community policing model of neighbourhood watch, popular vigilance LC I and intelligence-based investigations.
  8. Increase the use of technology by automating processes and systems to expedite investigations and prosecution of corruption cases
Theme 10: Strengthening law, governance, human rights and international cooperation as prerequisites for development

SDGs targeted: 16,17,10

This sector is vested in ensuring that justice is accessible to everyone, and that democracy and protection by the law are ubiquitous. The sector also seeks to ensure adequate protection of human rights. The diplomacy sub-sector aims to promote regional and international cooperation for peace and mutual development. Solutions are needed in the following sub-thematic areas:

Priority Sub-themes

  1. Research is needed on how to strengthen implementation of existing case management reforms such as Mediation, Plea Bargain, Small Claims Procedure, Case Backlog Reduction Strategy, child-friendly procedures, automation of Court processes, daily hearings of criminal cases in the High Court.
  2. Ideas are also needed on how to apply emerging technologies (e.g. digital technology, artificial intelligence and big-data) to improve the process of delivering justice. Approaches to increased use of ICTs in the courts are also needed.
  3. As the Government seeks to equip all the 53 border stations, 6 regional offices and 19 missions abroad with all hardware and software, e-immigration system consumables and e-immigration system roll-out peripherals, there is need to develop curriculum/guidelines on how to continuously build capacity of the staff in these offices
  4. Research is needed on how to upgrade and roll out the e-passport system and e-immigration system to all Ugandan missions abroad to enable complete and free movement of citizens across the country.
  5. The sector needs evidence on how to undertake research studies to enhance evidence-based legislation. The studies will help to uphold the universal principles of human rights, gender equality, and the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals. The sector needs ideas on how to build capacity of Local Government Officials on the drafting of Ordinances and Bye laws, so as to improve on the pieces of draft legislation from Local Governments.
Theme 11: Harnessing Information and Communication Technology to drive development

SDGs targeted: 9,8,10

Information and Communication Technology is a cross-cutting sector that supports other sectors. The sector provides a backbone for communication to support service delivery but also promotes the use of ICT tools for more efficiency. The Sector is in the process of building an ICT backbone to support other sectors and to facilitate economic transformation. Research and innovations are needed in the following sub-themes:

Priority sub-themes

  1. The sector would also like to increase capacity for use of data (including big data and artificial intelligence) for development including fore-casting, planning, monitoring of programs and for development of applications that can improve service delivery. The sector would like innovations that increase the capacity of other sectors to develop and use electronic records such as the flagship e-services and rolled out e-services across all NDPIII programs (e.g. eGP, iHMIS, PBMIS).
  2. The sector would like to expand the innovative use of digital media and emerging technologies in economic activities and professional service delivery (e.g. mobile phones, drones, nano-technolology, and robotics).
  3. There is a need for research on how best to coordinate and implement the cyber security strategy and create awareness and sensitization on the Data Protection and Privacy Act and other cyber laws.
  4. Evidence is required on how best the Government can collaborate with the private sector and partner in the development of local assembly plants to foster manufacturing, and Production.
  5. We need information on how best to coordinate the implementation of the National Strategy on 4IR, including but not limited to awareness campaigns on 4IR opportunities and risks
Theme 12: Works, manufacturing, science and technology as tools to accelerate development

SDGs targeted: 9,11,13,10

The works Sector is a services sector that supports other sectors through infrastructure development. The sector also includes the industrial and manufacturing sub-sector which is the engine for national development. The sector therefore relies on technology, investments in industrial development and a major national focus on industry driven economic transformation. Evidence is needed in the following priority sub-themes:

Priority sub-themes

  1. There is a need for innovative solutions to sensitise farmers/producers on trade procedures and standards with emphasis on exporting and supporting the refurbishment of storage facilities.
  2. There is a need for innovative solutions to improve the quality and standards of products manufactured in Uganda and expand the services of Uganda National Bureau Standards.
  3. There is a need for research and innovations on the establishment of Border Export Zones at key strategic border points to increase cross border trade.
  4. Research and innovations to enhance value addition and industrialization.
  5. Research and innovations to inform development of regional science, technology and innovation policies; promotion of scientific knowledge, technology advancement and innovation; strengthening support towards the application of science technology and innovation for socio-economic development.
  6. Research and innovations to enhance implementation of integrated physical and economic development in new cities.
Theme 13: Solutions to catalyse business and enterprise

SDGs targeted: 1,8,9,12

The business sector drives the economy. Uganda is ranked as the most entrepreneurial country in the world and the majority of start-ups and businesses are informal. However, the rate at which new businesses fail is high. Innovations are needed to develop a robust business sector that can survive strong economic head-winds to create a sustainable economy.

Priority Sub-themes

  1. Research and innovations on supporting and promoting local content and building capacity of local providers to compete favourably in public procurement and enforcing the Implementation of the Guidelines on Preference and Reservation Schemes, implementation of the existing local content policy, and other related legal and institutional framework.
  2. Research and innovations to harmonise Legal Metrology procedures and processes in accordance with EAC and other Regional Agreements to minimise Non Technical Barriers to trade.
  3. Research and Innovations to expand the existing scope for accreditation to ensure recognition of UNBS certification services, testing and metrology services, as well as inclusion of Imports Inspection, market surveillance and Legal Metrology.
  4. Research on the legal reform process to strengthen the current Free Zones scheme to accommodate Special Economic Zones in order to attract a wider range of export oriented investments.
  5. There is need for research that will provide evidence on priority enterprises in every parish; in order to inform the Parish Development Model Enterprises.
  6. There is need for research to support the private sector to create jobs in the key growth areas.
Theme 14: Energy and Minerals as drivers of rapid economic development

SDGs targeted: 7,1,8,12

Energy drives production in the economy while minerals are a source of wealth that can accelerate national development. There is a need for more innovations in the energy and mineral sector as a direct link to increased revenue and jobs. Solutions are needed in the following priority sub-themes:

Priority sub-themes

  1. Research and Innovations to increase deployment of new renewable energy solutions
  2. Research and innovations to maintain existing investments in exploration and quantification of mineral wealth.
  3. Research and innovations to organise, formulate and regulate artisanal and small-scale miners.
  4. Research and innovations towards development and implementation of an incentive regime for actors in the priority mineral value chains
  5. Research and innovations to support Establishment of Quality Management System for oil and gas operations considering gender and equity aspects

The Government Research & Innovation (R&I) 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 unfunded priorities, those for which funding has been inadequate, or for which available funding only covers one or a few of the components needed to inform development initiatives in a holistic way. This grant is not primarily meant to supplement existing research projects that already have funding from other sources. However, researchers can apply on the platform of existing projects if they provide a strong justification that there are important funding gaps in the current research project and the added deliverables expected from the additional support to the existing research effort. This grant also emphasizes a multi-sectoral approach. Research groups are therefore encouraged to work with other sectors that complement their technical focus.

A4. Categories and size of grants to be issued:

Grants will be issued in the following categories:

Res= primarily research/research ecosystem-based; Innov= primarily Innovation-based


* The R&I Grants Management Committee reserves the right to determine/change the number and size of awards based on prevailing circumstances informed by demand, quality of applications, availability of funds and level of utilization of funds by grantees. 50% of all awards will go to research or ecosystem strengthening projects while 50% will go innovation-based projects.

**Experience from earlier RIF calls showed that most applicants (Over 50%) target Category 1 which creates a lot of competition and many otherwise good proposals being un-funded. Applicants for RIF-4 are encouraged to consider all categories.

*** Junior Faculty Researchers are STRONGLY encouraged to apply. (Junior Faculty are not defined by age, but by rank and research experience. They are specifically defined as researchers at the rank of Lecturer or below and researchers with less than 5 years of experience in research/innovation or less than 2 years as independent researchers/innovators, or have never been PIs for a research/innovation project greater than US$ 100,000 (or 365 Million Uganda Shillings).

A5. Grant principles

This grant is guided by the following principles:

  • A commitment to results and impact: This grant is committed to results and impact. The expectation is that researchers will address the most pressing development issues and that the findings generated from the research and innovation activities supported by this grant will be of use to policy makers, program implementers or the private sector. Research teams ought to demonstrate attainment of tangible and useful deliverables within 1 year of implementation, including projects that require multi-year funding.
  • Equity and inclusion: Measures will be taken to ensure that all colleges will benefit from the fund. The GMC will also ensure that women researchers and junior faculty are well represented in the grant portfolio. However, equity will not mean equal allocation, because the nature, capacity and cost of research and innovation initiatives differs markedly across disciplines.
  • Multi-disciplinarity: The development challenges we are seeking to solve require more than the effort of one sector. It is therefore important that researchers demonstrate a multi-disciplinary approach to the research-to-translation continuum, reflected through the problems selected, the technical proposals, and their team composition.
  • Accountability and utilization of funds: To protect the University’s and the researchers’ reputation and ensure continuity of this funding, accountability for the RIF will be of utmost importance. All funds disbursed should be accounted for in a timely way and to acceptable standards (both financial and implementation). The GMC will therefore regularly track all awardee performance. Researchers with substantial accountability arrears and those who do not utilize allocated funds will in the absence of an acceptable justification be temporarily stopped from accessing these funds in the future.


B1. Guidelines for Eligibility

B1. Guidelines for Eligibility

This grant targets researchers and innovators from Makerere University. This includes Makerere University appointed academic staff (Assistant Lecturers, Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Associate Professors and Professors) and research staff (research fellows and senior research fellows) who hold a valid and current appointment specifically issued by the Directorate of Human Resources of Makerere University. Academic staff from all Colleges of Makerere University are eligible to apply as well as senior staff from the following administrative units (Library, Gender Mainstreaming, Guidance and Counselling, Quality Assurance, Planning, and the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training). Individual researchers or research teams will be required to have a letter of support from the Head of the academic unit under which the lead researcher is tenured. Researchers from other institutions of higher learning are not eligible to apply as principal investigators nor co-PI. However, researchers from other HEIs can be included as co-investigators or resource persons. Students may not apply as PIs but may also be part of a research team whose PI is an academic staff of Makerere. Collaborations with research personnel with a minimum of a master’s degree from government agencies, civil society organizations, independent research institutions, business and industry is encouraged. To be eligible for funding, a research team should meet the following criteria:

  • The Principal Investigator (PI) shall be an academic or research staff of Makerere University on permanent or fulltime contract or a senior staff member from one of the administrative units linked to research (Library, Gender Mainstreaming, Quality Assurance, Guidance and Counselling, Planning and the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT)).
  • The PI shall be actively in service (not on study or sabbatical leave).
  • The PI shall obtain a letter of support from his/her department or school or College (any one of the three).
  • The PI shall attach a copy of his/her appointment letter or most-recent letter of promotion issued by the Directorate of Human Resource of Makerere University
  • A researcher cannot be a PI on more than ONE It is allowable for any person to be a team member on up to a maximum of three applications.
  • For each application, it is a requirement to indicate a co-Principal Investigator who will be co-signatory to the contract upon award and will be jointly responsible for the results; the requirements for one to be a co-PI are similar to those required of a PI.
  • Researchers from Makerere University are encouraged to collaborate with resource persons from civil society organizations, government sectors, other universities within and outside Uganda, independent research institutions, business and industry as part of their teams; in such cases, the external team members will provide a letter of support from their institution.
  • Research fellows working in projects within academic units but are not appointed centrally by Makerere University are not eligible as PIs but may be part of a research team. Students in general are not eligible to apply as PIs. However, students with strong ideas can market them to their academic supervisors/mentors who can apply on their behalf.

Researchers should note carefully the following:

PIs who currently hold an active RIF award (RIF-1, 2, 3) are eligible to apply. However, they will only be considered for award if prior to the final selection activity, they will have completed the close-out report for any pending projects from previous awards and submitted all accountabilities. The close-out reports and full accountability should have been submitted by Friday 29th July 2022.



C1. The research problem

The RIF is meant to fill research gaps arising from development priorities of government and it’s implementing partners. Only research/innovation problems that have a clear link to the national development priorities and align with the thematic priorities of the comprehensive multi-stakeholder research agenda will be funded. The proposed solution (research or innovation) must be articulated clearly including the knowledge or intervention gap it is trying to address. Research problems will also be assessed on the basis of their responsiveness to the needs of government, public, industry and academia. Researchers should ask themselves the question: “If you were a decision-maker in a government sector, would this research be very useful to you?” Three broad types of research gaps are anticipated: 1) Those that need primary research to fill a critical knowledge gap, 2) Those that need an innovation (technology or approach) to address a critical pain point or community need, and 3) Those that target R&I ecosystem enhancement to overcome a major barrier that prevents high-value research from being conducted.  For projects that require research, the research problem (i.e., the discrepancy between the current knowledge and the desired knowledge) should be clearly articulated. For projects that are innovation-based, a clear articulation of the stakeholder need/pain-point that needs the solution should be articulated. For projects that require ecosystem enhancement, the discrepancy between the existing capacity for research services and the desired capacity should be clearly articulated. All three types of problems should be aligned to one or more themes in the research agenda.

C2. The proposed solution

Researchers should clearly articulate the objectives of the planned research and the proposed solutions. Researchers should also describe the critical content of the solution (i.e. the ‘research methodology’ for projects that are primarily research, or the ‘technical approach’ for projects that are innovation based, or the content of the planned enhancement for projects targeting R&I ecosystem enhancement).  Researchers should defend the relevance of the proposed solution to addressing key development outcomes of the respective sector and its alignment to one or more thematic areas specified in this call. Researchers/innovators should also demonstrate that the research is feasible and will result in tangible results within one (1) year of execution. Research projects that require multi-year implementation will only be considered if they can show actionable intermediate results attainable within 1 implementation year. Apart from a summary of the proposed approach, researchers will provide a more detailed description of their technical approach to enable a robust assessment of the rigor of the proposed methodology. For research-based projects, researchers should describe clearly but concisely the methods proposed, demonstrating scientific merit and rigor. For innovation-based projects, researchers should describe concisely the design approach to be used and the stage of the solution proposed. For R&I ecosystem enhancement-based projects, a description of the content of the enhancement (e.g. specialized training activities or specialized equipment to be procured, its installation, specialized training in its use) should be provided. (Note: Training in basic research skills or procuring simple routine equipment shall not be considered unless it is part of a holistic system upgrade).

C3. Outputs, outcomes and impact

Researchers will be expected to describe clearly the outputs anticipated to arise from their research projects. Outputs are the immediate tangible results of the research or innovation activities undertaken. Beyond outputs, applicants will describe the anticipated outcomes and impacts of the solution they propose. The target populations (primary and secondary) to be involved in and impacted by the research should be clearly described as well as the anticipated reach of the outcomes and impacts stated. 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.

Often times, science requires more than one year of implementation to effectively answer the required study questions. However, since the available funding has been committed for one Financial Year, all proposed projects including multi-year projects must articulate clearly the deliverables expected to be attained within one (1) year. Within a particular funding round, research proposals will not receive grants that span more than one year. However, cognizant of the fact that some projects require longer timelines, Level 2 and Level 3 funding will be provided for in the subsequent years. Projects wishing to attract Level 2 and Level 3 funding will compete for this funding with new applications for extension funding.

C4. Team composition

Researchers may apply individually or in teams. Team applications will be at an added advantage but is not absolute. Individuals or teams should demonstrate that they have the technical expertise to execute the planned study. Disciplines relevant to the proposed research question/innovation challenge should be represented. For research areas where a multi-sectoral/multi-disciplinary approach is clearly needed, the extent to which the composition of the team covers the pertinent sectors/disciplines will be important. Teams that include an industry, business, sector or implementing agency partner will have an added advantage.

C5. Provision for capacity development

Research and innovations that include a capacity-building component will be at an advantage. Researchers should articulate how they expect their research project to build capacity for stakeholders and their own department. Examples could include mentorship of junior researchers, equipment, and training of investigators, students, research fellows or research assistants. Co-designing of the research methodology or participation in field implementation, data management or analysis are other possible avenues for capacity building. Projects may include provisions for students to benefit from the research process and may even involve teams of students from different academic disciplines working together.

C6. Dissemination Plan/Scalability/Sustainability

Since this fund is aimed at supporting government and its partners to improve service delivery and to accelerate development, researchers/Innovators should show a clear plan for dissemination their findings to audiences critical for policy and program change so as to achieve impact at scale. For primarily research-based projects, 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. policy briefs, knowledge briefs, publications etc.). Research without a clear link to dissemination or policy/program impact will not be funded. 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. Teams that already have the necessary connections to sector ministries, implementing partner agencies (e.g. NGOs) or industry partners should articulate these connections.

For research and innovation initiatives that are expected to run longer than 3 years, researchers should articulate the sustainability of their projects beyond the RIF funding. Sustainability may also mean availability of co-funding or continued funding beyond RIF. However for projects that have already received or anticipate funding from elsewhere, researchers should show how the RIF funding fits into the broader funding structure.

C7. Ethical implications and Environmental Impact

For research or innovation projects involving human subjects and are not benign investigations, researchers should clearly articulate the anticipated ethical challenges if any, how subjects will be protected and how they will obtain the relevant ethical certifications. If your research involves animal subjects, in what ways are animal subjects involved and how will the animals be protected? How will animal welfare be ensured? For research that involves changes to the physical environment, researchers should explain the measures to ensure minimal damage to the environment, and to monitor and act on such damage.

C8. Conflict of interest declaration

Researchers will declare if there is any conflict of interest regarding their project e.g., if it is co-funded by an industry partner that may compromise the impartiality of the team or the outcomes of the study. Teams with strong linkages to GMC members should declare this so that it is duly addressed during the selection process.

C9. Budget

Researchers will prepare a summary budget for their project. 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. Projects requiring multi-year implementation should indicate so in the application. However, such projects should only provide a budget for one Financial Year. Multi-year budgets will only be funded to the extent needed for this financial year and within the grant caps indicated for the various award categories. Failure to articulate a one (1) year budget might lead to disqualification. The budgets will include the following sections:

  • 0 Personnel costs
  • 0 Travel
  • 0 Supplies and services
  • 0 Equipment
  • 0 Program activity costs
  • 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’ allowances for their additional time input into the project. The latter should be justified by specifying the extra-time demands 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.

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. Teams that do not attach a detailed budget and budget justification might not be evaluated. The level of efficiency in the budget will be a major evaluation criterion. Lumpsums will not be accepted.

C10. Workplan

Researchers will provide a list of key milestones for the project clearly demonstrating the deliverables expected at each point. These will be used as the basis for tracking implementation of activities towards project goals and outputs. Given the time implications of 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.



D1. Submission of applications

For the present round, applications will open on Wednesday 22nd June 2022. Submission of applications will be done via an online platform: Applicants must first register in the grants website and create and account in order to access the application. Applicants who already have an account in the system should use their log-in credentials to access the application. The Grants Committee will not consider applications submitted by any other means. Applicants are therefore advised to prepare their submissions on-time. If an applicant experiences any challenges in the submission process, they should send an email to: . The closing date for submissions is Friday 22nd July 2022.

D2. Application form

The application form is available on-line at the following link: Because it is a one-step application, applicants should read and understand all the key requirements of the different sections of the form so as to provide all the critical information required within the word limit provided. All entries will be conducted on-line. However, applicants can down-load a PDF/MS Word version of the form to enable preparations before filling in the domains. Applicants can also copy and paste information into the online application domains.

D3. 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 requires 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 as a principal investigator. However, it is allowable for a PI on a submitted project to be a team member on up to two other submitted projects.

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.

D4. Applicant support

Sensitization: The GMC will hold a Zoom-based public meeting on Friday 24th June 2022 to present key aspects of the grant. Subsequent sessions will be held with the Colleges on dates to be provided.

Q&A: Applicants will have an opportunity to ask questions and obtain answers/clarifications regarding this RFP or any part of the application process. The question submission period will run from Tuesday 28th June 2022 to Tuesday 5th July 2022. Questions should be submitted to The Questions and Answers will be posted on the FAQ section on the platform website  by Wednesday 6thJuly 2022.

Webinar: The Grants Management Committee will host a public webinar via Zoom or Facebook Live on Friday 08/07/2022 as a support opportunity for potential applicants needing additional support. College level sensitization activities may also be conducted.

D5. Review of applications

A three (3) step application evaluation process will be used. Step 1 will involve determination of eligibility. This will be conducted by the GMC Secretariat to select only those applications that fit within the eligibility criteria specified in sub-section B1 of this document. Step 2 will involve a detailed technical review, undertaken by an independent team of credible reviewers (Ugandan and international) appointed by the GMC and aligned to the technical expertise required of the different applications. The review process will take a cross-disciplinary approach in which in addition to subject matter experts, reviewers from other disciplines that align with the core-discipline of the research idea will be engaged. Reviewers will conduct an electronic scoring of the applications based on standardized criteria. Each proposal will be reviewed by at least 3 reviewers. A shortlist of the best proposals will be provided to the GMC. In Step 3 of the review, the GMC which will select from the best-scoring proposals the ones to be funded. This will be strongly guided by the scores and recommendations from Step 2. However, the GMC will consider additional aspects like clear link to the funder’s vision and the research agenda themes as well as impact within the relevant sector, equity between Colleges, consideration of gender and junior faculty, the budgets and the funds available.

D6. Evaluation criteria

All applications will go through a strict 3-phase review and evaluation in accordance with the Mak-RIF guidelines. Applicants may be invited to answer questions or respond to queries from reviewers or selection committee if needed.

D7. Notification of successful applicants

Successful applicants will be informed by email to their designated point of contact. Successful teams will also be profiled on the Grants website: Researchers should be cognizant of the fact that not all research applicants should expect to be funded - this is a normal part of grants processes. The GMC will be as impartial and as technical as possible in the selection process to ensure that the best projects win. Not winning a grant should therefore not be construed as being a result of an unfair selection processes. GMC members have sworn an oath of impartiality and readiness to serve with diligence.

D8. Tracking your application

The grant website will contain information on the status of the applications at the different stages. Tracking will be provided for the entire batch of applications and not for individual applications.

D9. Post-award processes

Due to the urgent need to produce results and ensure accountability, the GMC and its Secretariat will conduct a series of post-award activities to awardees. While these will target as little interference as possible, they will be focused on ensuring that set milestones are achieved, the evidence of anticipated deliverables is available and that funds are accounted for in time. In particular, support processes will include:

  • Induction: A brief post award induction, in form of an online course and a Zoom-based Induction workshop. The online course will be mandatory before signing the contracts
  • Procurement plan: Before signing contracts, successful awardees will be required to develop a procurement plan covering all procurables in their budget
  • Contracting: The GMC will execute an agreement with the awardees on the terms and conditions of the award.
  • Capacity building: The GMC Secretariat will provide inductive orientation for researchers (open to both awardees and non-awardees) on 1) Research project management; 2) Financial Management; 3) Research Leadership; 4) Gender and inclusiveness in research and 5) Research translation for impact. Schedules of these trainings will be made available in due course. These courses will also be made continually available for long term capacity building.
  • Release of funds: Release of funds will be in phases incumbent on proper accountability and demonstration of milestones achieved in the previous payment phase.
  • Tracking of deliverables, performance and accountability: The Grant Secretariat will conduct continuous checks on awardees to ensure deliverables are met, funds are utilized, and releases are accounted for. Consistent failure to demonstrate deliverables or utilize funds might lead to issuance of unspent balances to other grantees. Therefore for the avoidance of large amounts of unspent balances, the GMC will maintain dynamic tracking of performance of projects and might decide to reallocate non-performing awards to those that need them.
  • Reporting: Awardee researchers will provide interim reports every three (3) months using a standard reporting form that will be provided by the GMC.
D10. Intellectual property

Intellectual Property derived through the Government grants will be owned jointly by the awardee Teams and Makerere University. All awardee teams grant to Makerere University and the Government of Uganda are non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual license to use any resultant or derived intellectual property (e.g., product, service, or technology) that will be developed using the Government grants for development work of public benefit without encumbrance. However, for projects that have a commercial value, researchers will clearly delineate any intellectual property included that is their creation. The GMC will undertake a determination of what percentage of stake the university will claim on the basis of its investment into the idea. Notwithstanding this, the researchers retain the bulk of the claim to intellectual property arising from their project. All proceeds accruing from commercialization of IP generated via government grants, following the conclusion of the grant period will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis amongst the parties, but with the researchers taking a controlling stake.

D11. Grant timeline

D12. Subsequent RFAs within this Financial Year’s funding

At the discretion of the Grants Management Committee, subsequent calls within this round or new rounds of calls may be issued within this Financial Year, depending on availability of resources, performance of awardees, and other provisions within the Terms of Reference for management of the Government RIF.

Download the Call Document: Call Document

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