The Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST), and the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the United States of America have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support more Ugandan scientists and researchers in various fields of health research and development.
The UNCST executive secretary, Dr. Peter Ndemere signed on behalf of UNCST while the director of the NIH USA, Dr. Francis Collins signed on behalf of NIH USA.
The signing took place on 28th September at the NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Witnessing the event was the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, who led the delegation of Ugandan scientists on the visit to the US.
The visit is to strengthen scientific cooperation between Uganda and USA, as well as share ideas on global best practice in the development and management of science, technology and innovation (STI) for national development and transformation.
“The Memorandum of Understanding will require UNCST to mobilise counterpart support to Ugandan scientists who will competitively apply for the NIH research grants” Tumwesigye said after the signing of the Memorandum.
He further noted that the contribution from UNCST will be towards postdoctoral fellowships, research administration and scientific equipment, that are required for training and mentoring more Ugandan scientists and researchers in health research and products.
“These will include diagnostic tools and vaccine development and Ugandan scientists will be trained both in Uganda and at the NIH in the USA” Tumwesigye stressed.
Uganda is the first country in Sub Saharan Africa to sign such Memorandum of Understanding with the NIH for joint cooperation in capacity building of Ugandan scientists and researchers in the health sector.
Uganda is the second largest recipient of the NIH research grants after South Africa.
The NIH grants for research in Uganda are targeting research in infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Ebola and other non-infectious diseases such as diabetes, cancer and the understanding of human genetics and their application in healthcare.
Other senior officials at the event included Dr. Roger Glass the Director of Fogarty International Centre of the NIH and Dr. Julius Ecuru, the Head of Research and Technology Management at UNCST.