‘Research and Innovations for a better Uganda’ 

Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) in partnership with the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) held the first-ever inaugural Open Day on the 15th April 2021 at the College of Computing and Information Sciences.

Assoc. Prof. Gilbert Maiga (Dean, SCIT), Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS), Hon. Judith Nabakooba (Minister of ICT & National Guidance) and Mr. Kenneth Bagarukayo (Commissioner, Ministry of ICT & National Guidance ) arrive at the Mak-RIF/CoCIS Open Day.

The Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund is a Government of the Republic of Uganda  funding stream to support generation and translation of high impact research and innovations to drive Uganda’s development Agenda. This unique initiative is being implemented under the Research and innovations Fund (RlF) at Makerere University in Kampala Uganda. It arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda.

The three objectives of the fund include;

  1. Develop and fund a robust research agenda based on National development priorities identified from academia, government, implementing partners and industries.
  2. Support the dissemination of high-quality research and innovations in a way that impacts on development policies and programs.
  3. Support the growth of research leadership capacity in the university.

Since FY 2019/20, the fund has supported 587 multidisciplinary research and innovation projects across the various colleges at Makerere University. The College of Computing and Information Sciences has up to date obtained 21 grants across the two financial years. It is upon this background that the Mak-RlF office in collaboration with College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) organized this Open Day event to showcase some of the outputs that have arisen from the different research and innovation projects in line with objective 2 of the Fund.

Crane Cloud project team explains their project outputs to the invited guests.

The half day event took take place at CoCIS Block B Quadrangle and brought together 24 research and innovation project teams.  These 24 project teams represented different areas of research disciplines including; Agriculture, Education, Environment, Health, COVID-19, Energy, Job Creation and Employment. Due to the COVID-19 SOPs and guidelines, the event limited the number of physical participants but to address this issue the organizing team setup a virtual online link where participants followed through the exhibition online.

Exhibition stalls at Mak-RIF/CoCIS Open Day
An ariel view of the exhibition grounds

The event kicked off with the arrival of the Guest of Honor and other invited guests who were given a quick tour of the research and innovations on exhibit. Led by Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS) representing the Vice Chancellor Makerere University and escorted by Prof. William Bazeyo (Chairman, GMC), Dr. Vincent Sembatya (Director, Quality Assurance), Assoc. Prof. Gilbert Maiga (Dean, School of Copoints and Informatics Technology) and other invited guests the team had an opportunity to witness firsthand the potential of research and innovations being conducted and nurtured at CoCIS. Some of the exhibitors to name a few that stood out included;

  1. MAK TMS – A University wide Timetable Management System for Makerere University (Dr. Joab Agaba, Principal Investigator). This particular research project peaked Prof. Bazeyo’s attention and he pledged additional funding to support its realization. He noted that once the MAK TMS research is completed it could be shared to benefit all other public universities in Uganda.
  2. COVID-19 RAPID RESPONSE (Male Vincent, Principal Investigator) whose project team conducted a needs assessment on reporting COVID-19 suspicious cases and monitoring of discharged patients. This project additionally creates awareness on the role of COVID-19 Rapid Response in reporting of COVID-19 suspicious cases and monitoring of discharged patients.
  3. CRANE CLOUD (Engineer Dr. Bainomugisha, Principal Investigator)- A multi-cloud platform for highly available cloud native services in resource constrained environments.
  4. A Mobile E- Governance Service Advisor – AMESA (Assoc. Prof. Gilbert Maiga, Principal Investigator). This research team conducted a needs assessment for citizen’s participation in e-governance at municipal level and disseminated the findings in order to create awareness on the role of citizen participation in e-governance for public services delivery.

After touring some of the exhibition stalls Assoc. Prof. Gilbert Maiga welcomed all participants and thanked the exhibitors (researchers and innovators) for honoring the invitation to participate in the engagement. 

He in turn invited Prof. Bazeyo representing Mak-RIF to say a few words on behalf of the funders. In his remarks, Prof. Bazeyo thanked the Government of the Republic of Uganda for funding research and innovations at Makerere University. He noted that this funding had not only benefited Makerere University but also other higher institutions of learning through collaborations and partnerships. He was impressed with some of the research and innovations on display and encouraged everyone to apply for the next call for Applications; Mak-RIF Round 3. He noted that Makerere University is endowed with brilliant and creative brains and for this reason, it was only appropriate for Mak-RIF to harness the brilliancy and creativity so as to positively respond to community’s most pressing challenges.

He then invited the Guest of Honor Prof. Tonny Oyana who represented the Vice Chancellor Makerere University at the engagement to speak to the researchers, faculty, students and the public. Prof. Oyana was impressed with the research and noted that it was inline with the new Makerere University 2020/21 – 2030/31 strategic plan before officially declaring the event open.  

Prof. William Bazeyo (in a black mask) listening to a researcher at the Open Day engagement.
Group photo of invited guests, Mak-CoCIS and the Mak-RIF team.

With the exhibition officially opened, a second tour of the exhibition stalls continued and it was then that the event was graced by Hon. Judith Nabakooba (Minister of ICT & National Guidance). She embraced the opportunity to see the research and innovations on display from CoCIS. She also gave a word of encouragement to the exhibitors to continue their research as the Government of Uganda is fully committed in the continued support of research and innovations in Uganda. She said ‘Even for you researchers and innovators who are facing challenges further disseminating your research and innovation outputs, our offices are open, come and we dialogue. Together we can devise best means to widely share about these unique homegrown solutions.

For details, please refer to the attached Mak-RIF/CoCIS Open Day project posters.

Mak-RIF/CoCIS Open Day in the Media

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