Government has launched four centres of excellence created at three universities in Uganda to conduct research that will be translated into new innovations.
The Eastern and Southern Africa Centres of Excellence project is funded by the World Bank grant worth $24m (sh86b) with the aim of strengthening the institutions’ capacity to teach and foster research in agriculture, health, education and industry.
The First Lady and education minister, Janet Museveni launched the grant at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala yesterday.
The three selected universities where the centres of excellence have been established are: Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Uganda Martyrs’ University, Nkozi.
Two of the four centres have been established at Makerere: one for materials, product development and nanotechnology and the other on crop improvement (plant breeding).
The centre established at MUST will spearhead research on pharm-biotechnology and traditional medicine while the facility at Nkozi will research on agro-ecology and livelihood systems.
Under the project, each of the centres will receive a $6m (sh21.5b) grant covering five years to train experts in the respective field and produce evidence to be turned into commercial value.
Mrs Museveni tasked the universities to use the grant to produce innovations that will improve the quality of life and transform the country to middle income status in line with Vision 2040.
“What the people of Uganda expect from the universities are innovations in technology that address societal problems and lead to transformation,” she said.