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