On Friday August 12, 2022, a team of Researchers from Michigan State University, Kosmos Innovation Centre in Accra, Ghana and the Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) visited and engaged with the team at Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) and the Grants Administration and Management Support Unit (GAMSU). Prof. Grace Bantebya participated in this engagement and this was an opportunity for the Mak-RIF team to share details about Mak-RIF and GAMSU while highlighting some of the research and innovation outputs as shared on https://rif.mak.ac.ug/.
“RIF is at a stage where we are looking to consolidate and broaden networks, partnerships and build on what is being done” said Prof. Grace Bantebya. We are happy to promote our strategy of working with teams both within and outside Makerere University and Uganda.
In Makerere University, the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) has received funding for over 100 projects with a focus on the areas of value addition, combatting malnutrition, Low-cost irrigation and agriculture, reducing post-harvest loss among other disciplines. Some of the projects funded include; developing dry season feeding technologies for cattle production, packaging pig semen for artificial insemination in pig producing districts, automated boreholes and a low-cost seed cleaner among others.
Currently, the Mak-RIF team is seeking support on commercialization. We should have some discussions on how best to secure partnership for commercialization of some of the research outputs. Ms. Gloria Naggayi, Mak-RIF Research Support Officer noted that the Mak-CAES research and innovation teams were yielding more tangible outputs every year and these need to move to take steps forward
Ideas generated to inform next steps
- It is important that we brainstorm and coin possible ways through which other partners and organizations can fit into the Mak-RIF priorities” said Dr. John Bonnell, Director Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) https://www.canr.msu.edu/bheard/ at Michigan State University.
- Could we also together explore technical partnerships with international partners, working with Innovation Centers e.g., Kosmos Innovation Center, ACET among others to yield more results?”.
- Mindset shift is important; “can we use Design Thinking to change the way things are perceived and being done?” said Benjamin Gyan Kesse from Kosmos Innovation Center. There is need for this mind set shift so that we create solutions for the existing problems and not creating solutions then looking for problems.
- Makerere University could also explore attaching incentives to innovation and other achievements for example, can we have patents weighed the same way as publications, publications are used for promotion purposes too. These, it was noted motivates faculty and students to move forth with their work while boosting their efforts.
- With experience, it is also meaningful to put big money on a few things and yield more. The team was encouraged to meet with Prof. Goretti Nabanoga, Principal at CAES to tap into knowledge and skills from the Mak-CAES Innovation Scholars Program. Think through how faculty and students are utilizing their hours.
- It is also important to introduce the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee to a mindset shift engagement so that together we can recruit others to “mindset shift”. How to do this is something that can also be further brainstormed.
- There was need to strategically think of mapping our partners here in Uganda and reach out to them one by one. As you engage to seek partnership and or collaboration, “It is important that you stipulate what is in it for each partner” shared Ms. Freda Yawson, Senior Manager Infrastructure and Innovation at ACET.
- The team discussed more on enhancing collaborations with Business incubators, getting Ugandan products out to other countries, how can we make processes more efficient, and how to make use of the media to showcase our products. There is need to look for partnerships that make teams stronger and engaging the private sector in various ways.
- We also need to task our researchers (After doing their research) to show us what their research means to the community.
More Photos are shared and accessible on https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/169LXbCKbsontuDB8rt2LmaNdnVkmvPaJ
Compiled by Ms. Harriet Adong, Mak-RIF Communications Officer and Ms. Juliet Nabirye, Mak-RIF Monitoring and Evaluation Officer