The event was organised by CoNAS and the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT), Makerere University with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). This is an annual event held to showcase and share work accomplished by Sida supported projects and students. The event is rotated among the colleges, the previous one having been held at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT).
The Chairman of the organising committee, Dr. John Mango who is also the deputy principal of CoNAS welcomed participants to the science day research workshop. He acknowledged the support of the Principal, Prof. J.Y.T. Mugisha who serves as the coordinator of the Sida science sub-programme; DRGT; Prof. Sundin based at the International Science Programme who is the co-coordinator of the Sida science sub-programme and Sida staff. He explained that, science joined the Sida programmes under Sida phase four which is running and due to end in June 2015. At 1.1million US dollars, science received 4% of the total funding that Makerere University received.
Dr. Mango further explained that 7 PhD students are being supported by Sida and 3 of them are expected to submit their PhD theses this month. This will greatly enhance the capacity of academic staff at CoNAS which we thank Sida and the Royal Government of Sweden for. Dr. Mango thanked the organising committee members who he worked with to ensure the success of the workshop.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Mugisha welcomed everybody to CoNAS and thanked the organising committee for the work done. He noted that the 1.1million dollars that Sida gave to science for research and capacity building has a commendable multiplier effect. The return on investment in the years to come is huge in lieu of students that will be taught, publications and research innovations to be produced. He congratulated the students who have been working hard and been able to complete on time.
The Director of DRGT, Prof. Buyinza expressed his excitement over the annual review meeting and appreciated the support from the Embassy of Sweden over the years to Makerere University. He highlighted that, ‘basic sciences usually receive very little in terms of funding which affects the nexus of all other researches’. In choosing to support basic sciences, Sida has greatly contributed to innovations resulting from the basic sciences, he said. He explained that Sida has received the proposals for the next phase and results are expected by the end of the year.
The Senior Research Advisor at Sida, Dr Katri Pohjolainen and Ms. Susanne Spets, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden-Kampala attended the workshop. They expressed their excitement to attend the science day and looked forward to hearing results of the work done and challenges that were experienced. Ms. Spets said she also looks forward to the next phase of support. Dr
Pohjolainen reiterated the commitment of Sida to supporting and collaborating in basic sciences with partners.
The results and work of the projects shared during the workshop included:
- Dietary lipid oxidation in fish feeds: effects and use of alternative raw material
- The Pesticides project that investigates the emerging persistent organic pollutants in air and precipitation samples taken in the Ugandan part of the Lake Victoria watershed
- Integration of Nutri-Medicinal Plants as Therapeutics in Health Care Delivery in Uganda
- Phytochemistry and Bioactivity of selected plant species used by Rukararwe and Prometra herbalists in treatment of Malaria in Uganda
- The Green Chemistry Project focusing on coordination chemistry research involving usage of reactants and the products of their reactions, which are as far as possible environmental friendly
- The Environmental Monitoring project aimed at developing and trying out new technologies to restore vegetation in the polluted pyrite soil
- Mathematical modeling Project focused on studying the hydrodynamics of Lake Victoria because of its importance to Uganda and the region
In the closing remarks representing the DVC/AA, Prof. Mugisha thanked everybody for staying through the day. He congratulated the students and supervisors for the work accomplished. He requested Dr Pohjolainen to convey the sincere thanks of CoNAS and Makerere for the supported Sida and the Royal Government of Sweden have extended over the years. Certificates were awarded to the presenters during the workshop.
Prof. Buyinza expressed the excitement of DRGT as umbrella of research at Makerere University to the science demonstrated and ability to solve problems. He urged the researchers to work on protecting the intellectual property rights of their work.
Dr Pohjolainen thanked CoNAS for such a well organised event. She noted that the time keeping was impressive. She urged the scientists to prepare briefs for dissemination to the wider public as popular versions. She also expressed her hope that the presenters at this workshop would present their works at the International Science Conference due to take place in April 2015.