Carnegie-Supported NERLP Project Teams Disseminate Research Findings

Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th L), DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (3rd L), Fmr. DVCAA-Dr. Ernest Okello-Ogwang (R), Director DRGT-Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (3rd R) and other officials pose for a group photo with NERLP Research Teams after the research dissemination workshop on 28th October 2020, CTF2, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

Today, Wednesday 28th October 2020, we held a successful dissemination conference of the Carnegie-funded postdoctoral research training project titled “Nurturing Emerging Research Leaders through Post-Doctoral Training at Makerere University, NERLP”, 2017 – 2019. In his opening remarks, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice Chancellor and Chief Guest applauded the Carnegie Corporation of New York for being the one of the foreign partners that played a crucial role in the process of revitalization of Makerere University.

He reminded the participants that Carnegie support for Makerere goes as far back as 1943.  The Vice Chancellor noted that over the last decade, a deliberate effort was made to build a critical mass of staff with PhDs. He noted that the postgraduate training and postdoctoral research has helped Makerere not only to nurture but also to retain its staff. Likewise, the beneficiaries of the travel and publication grants and the participants of the skills enhancement workshops have also come to develop a stake in the Makerere system. The international stature of Makerere has in the process been enhanced along with the deepening of Makerere’s linkages with partner research institutions.

Prof. Nawangwe appreciated that the postgraduate training and postdoctoral research under NERLP project has appreciably helped to strengthen the early-career academics’ research skills and turned many into research leaders that are capable of writing grant applications, publishing their research results, supervision and mentoring graduate students, and transforming society through policy dialogue.

This project’s architecture fits in well the current staffing constraints at Makerere University, because it was difficult to grant participants sabbatical study leave. It is for this reason that the fellows have conducted their research projects within the country with short research visits to regional Universities and research institutions and travel to disseminate research findings at international conferences.

The Vice Chancellor commended the project’s successes record including the increased the fellows’ capacity to carry out quality and relevant research at the University; improved research environment and retention of academic staff at the University; increased visibility of the University as a key policy influencer and adviser in Uganda and the region; improved publication culture contributing to better university ranking; and most importantly enhanced international exposure and opportunities for collaboration as a result of growth of international stature of Makerere University.

The workshop was graced by the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Prof. Ernest Okello-Ogwang, who gave a resounding keynote address on the importance of research leadership and the need to nurture early-career Faculty if Makerere University is to remain a premier University. Prof Okello-Ogwang emphasised the critical need to nurture the fresh PhD graduates by providing research funds to train them at Postdoctoral level. This, he noted, would enhance their research productivity and create a community of scholars with the potential to become leaders in their fields. This will in turn improve the quality of supervision, publication scholarship and contribute to the strategic direction of Makerere as a research-led university.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor  (Academic Affairs) and current Chairperson of the Carnegie Project Implementation Committee, Prof. Umar Kakumba, observed that the  success of the NERLP project has totally depended on the effort, talent, and energy of postdoctoral fellows who have written and submitted papers on a variety of topics. He paid special gratitude to Ms. Andrea Johnson, the Program Director, Higher Education and Research in Africa, International Programs, Carnegie Corporation of New York for her vision and strategic focus on research training in Africa.

The project has supported 15 teams to conduct research. These comprised of the Senior Mentor, the Postdoctoral fellow, and a Masters degree to conduct quality research. The support has included funds to conduct quality research; professional skills enhancement training courses; tuition and research costs for the masters degree student attached to the teams; mentorship and research team building; grants to enable fellows travel and disseminate their research results at International conferences; dissemination and outreach activities; maintenance and sustenance of web portal as a source of  research information; and provision of funds for academic writing and publication.

All the 15 Postdoctoral fellows presented their research findings highlighting the key results (academic and innovations) and salient policy recommendations. Evidently, the project has had a great impact on
society, the University and the research community in different forms. We are proud of the 15 Postdoctoral  fellows and wish them a rewarding research career as they transit into research leadership.

Please see Downloads for the NERLP Book of Abstracts

Professor Buyinza Mukadasi, Director, DRGT, Makerere University

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