Makerere University through the Department of Journalism and Communication has set up a Multimedia Production Hub to improve research dissemination. Established with funding from the Government of Uganda through the Makerere Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the Hub is intended to equip Makerere researchers and innovators with practical skills to transform their research and innovations into publicly oriented multimedia content. It is one of the outputs of a wider research project titled, “Harnessing Multimedia Production for increased uptake and visibility of Research and Innovations at Makerere University”.
The Hub was officially launched by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe at the research dissemination seminar for the project held at Makerere University on 7th September 2021. Addressing participants, the Vice-Chancellor commended the project team for the great initiative. He said disseminating research was paramount for addressing challenges affecting society. “Many people are struggling to address issues that have been widely researched. If we disseminate all the work done at this University, we can transform the economy of our country very fast. The Hub is a great opportunity for us to do so. I implore the Mak-RIF to make this a permanent project so as to boost our research dissemination efforts,” he noted. He appreciated the Government of Uganda for the continued support towards research and innovations at Makerere University. “In the midst of a shortage of funds, the Government has continued to fund research and infrastructure development at Makerere University. We are deeply indebted”. Since 2019, the Government of Uganda has funded 580 research projects in various fields at Makerere University. The Vice-Chancellor applauded Mak-RIF for rigorously managing the Fund and ensuring it achieves its intended objective. “As a University, we must demonstrate why the Government must continue supporting research. We should therefore do research in a way that positively impacts our economy. On behalf of Management, we commit to continue supporting all staff whose projects demonstrate the ability to make Makerere a research-led University,” he explained.
Presenting their work, the Principal Investigator, Dr. William Tayeebwa said the project would greatly transform the incredible research at the University into easily accessible formats. He said under the project, the researchers had been supported to optimize the usage of social media platforms. “Together with Ultimate Multimedia Consult (UMC) that has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department, the project has assisted researchers to harness social media tools such as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to share their research and innovation outputs,” he noted. Dr. Tayeebwa explained that the skills provided to researchers and innovators through workshops and practical sessions ranged from writing policy briefs, press releases, and newspaper articles, to production of graphics, audio, and video content for blogs and vlogs in a bid to spur uptake of research by non-specialist users in Uganda and worldwide.
He said the project had created a mentorship scheme to link University researchers with key media personnel including journalists, editors, and social media influencers. “Adequate research uptake is essential for all stakeholders across all sectors of government, private and civil sectors, development partners, and the general public. As the largest producer of research and innovations in the country, Makerere University is uniquely placed to influence those sectors. It is our hope that in the short and medium-term, the University’s research outputs and innovations shall seamlessly be part of the public narrative and thereby help to improve the image of the institution while contributing to national development,” he said.
Addressing participants, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, also Alternate Chair 2 of the Grant Management Committee, Dr. Josephine Nabukenya applauded the project team for the initiative. She pledged continued support towards initiatives aimed at making the University visible.
The Head, Department of Journalism and Communication, also a member of the project, Dr. Aisha Nakiwala Sembatya appreciated Makerere University Management for according them an opportunity to make a contribution towards transforming Makerere into a research-led University.
During the dissemination workshop, the project team members including Dr. Sarah Namusoga – Kaale and Dr. Fred Kakooza showcased some of the outputs of the project. These included short video clips of the Mak-RIF research projects as well as social media pages, websites, podcasts, and fliers developed.
Other members of the research project included Dr. Charlotte Ntulume and Dr. Marion Alina.
The workshop was graced by the Chair, Grant Management Committee, Prof. William Bazeyo who extended appreciation to the Government of Uganda for funding large volumes of research at Makerere University. It was also attended by Dr. Sabrina Kitaka, a Member of the Grant Management Committee.
The Completed Projects Links
The videos are now part of this playlist.
Articles of the Projects on the Department of Journalism and Communication Website