CoNAS Participates in the 2023 National Science Week Exhibition

Makerere University College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) is participating in the 2023 National Science Week exhibition taking place at Kololo Independence Grounds. The week-long exhibition officially opened by the President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni today, 9th November 2023, started on Monday, 6th November and will end on 11th November. It is being held under the theme; “Uganda Tusimbudde: Our Science-Led Journey towards Socio-Economic Transformation”.  

Dr Barbra Nerima (2nd Right) responding to an inquiry on the products being showcased by the Department of Biochemistry and Sports Science

About the National Science Week

The Annual event launched in 2021 is organized by the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Secretariat under the Office of the President. It serves a pivotal platform, strategically designed to showcase the milestones Uganda has achieved in science, technology and innovation, not only at the national scale but also at the global stage. This year’s edition will serve as a platform to honor Uganda’s exceptional science entrepreneurs and innovators who have made significant contributions to Uganda’s progress. Over 400 researchers and innovators are participating in this year’s edition, that is featuring a wide array of engaging activities, including; regional exhibitions, a dedicated press day, interactions with academia and students, insightful roundtable discussions, and an investor forum tailored to addressing the financial challenges faced by early-stage ventures and innovators in the country. Unlike the previous year, a total of 30 investors with a total investment capacity of 50 million USD are participating in the exhibition with the aim of supporting innovators looking for funding.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza launching the 2023 National Science Week

Speaking at the launch of the exhibition on 27th September 2023, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, highlighted the STI’s strategic commitment to eight core thematic areas intended to drive the country towards a Science-led economic transformation. These encompass Pathogen Economy; Mobility, Industry 4.0+; Export-Targeted STI; Import Substitution; Infrastructure Innovation; Productivity Acceleration; and Aeronautics and Space. “Our core thematic areas include the utilization of Artificial Intelligence to bolster industry and production, pioneering advancements in vaccine and drug development through pathogen research, venturing into space and aeronautics exploration, and propelling technological innovations aimed at optimizing transport and mobility,” she noted. “These thematic areas set the stage for Uganda’s transition from the brink of innovation to the realization of transformative innovative solutions poised to reshape the nation’s economic landscape, particularly in response to the youthful demographics”. Hon. Musenero further noted that the government’s primary objective is to export technology and break free from the dependency on imported science, technology, and innovation products that have dominated for decades.

The Deputy Principal of CoNAS, Prof. Juma Kasozi checking out some of the products being showcased by the College

According to a survey conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Uganda advanced to 119th out of 132 countries in the Global Innovation Index for the year 2022. This upward trend underscores Uganda’s unwavering dedication to advancing science and technology, signifying substantial advancements in this field.

CoNAS participation

Like last year, five groups of students from CoNAS supported by their supervisors are showcasing innovations at this year’s exhibition.

Department of Physics

Innovation – The Aflatoxin Biosensor gadget

The biosensor gadget is accurate and cost friendly as opposed to the HPLC. It detects aflatoxin contamination in cereals and other processed nuts. The project team – Ms. Ashaba Sheith Nyangoma, Ms. Dricuru Racheal, Mr. Kitayimbwa Julius, and Dr Denis Okello.

Hon. Musenero and Dr Vincent Sembatya (R), former Director of Quality Assurance at Makerere University and member of staff at CoNAS in one of the National Science Week panel discussions at Kololo Independence Grounds

Department of Chemistry

Innovation – Biodegradable pampers, pads, napkins, panty liners and bras

Production is done using cellulose extracted from banana fibre with the aim of minimizing environmental degradation resulting from the large amount of non-degradable waste. Project team – Mr. Kasekende Grace Nicholas, Ms. Kembabazi Melissa, Ms Angolere Brenda, and Dr Kasozi.

The President, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni and First Lady, also Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni arrive for the official opening ceremony

Department of Geology and Petroleum Studies

Innovation – Wind Solar Hybrid System

Production involves use of wind to generate mechanical power or electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power that can be used to run different machines. Project team – Ms. Nalule Pauline Justine, Ms. Nyachwo Scovia, Mr. Chanoguru Denis, and Dr John Mary Kiberu.

Department of Biochemistry and Sports Science

Innovation – Production of a mosquito repellent and bioprospecting of industrial enzymes

The repellent is made using organic extracts from plants and photochemical oils. Project team – Mr. Mally Anthony, Ms. Natukunda Bonita, Ms. Nyangoma Emily, Assoc. Prof. Hawumba F. Joseph, Dr Barbra Nerima, and Mr. John Omara.

Department of Plant Science, Microbiology and Biotechnology

Organic Air Freshener

The air freshener is made using organic extracts from plants which are chemical free and is safe for humans, pets with a pleasant scent. Project team – Mr. Senkindu Eric Kateyanira, Ms. Naggayi Harriet, Ms. Nakito Vanessa and Dr Tugume.

The CoNAS team was coordinated by the Deputy Principal, Prof. Juma Kasozi.

Pictorial of some of the other innovations being showcased at Kololo Independence Grounds:

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