The agreement worth US$32m (about Sh113.8b) was intended to fund the training of 337 academic staff and support institutional development until 2020
A total of 167 academic staff from five public universities have been awarded scholarships to pursue Masters, doctorates and post doctorates in various disciplines under the recently renewed five year research collaboration agreement between the governments of Uganda and Sweden.
Of these, 86 were awarded scholarships for PhDs, 55 masters and 28 post doctorate fellowships. Beneficiary Universities include Makerere, Kyambogo, Mbarara, Busitema, and Gulu.
Lecturers selected for PhDs will be trained at Makerere University, while masters' students will be trained at their respective universities, starting March 1.
Speaking at the award ceremony at Makerere University yesterday, Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza, the Director of Research and Graduate training at Makerere University said the lecturers would be locally trained since the partner universities have developed enough supervision capacity for masters and doctorate training.
"Over 750 academic staff out of the 1000 at Makerere University have acquired PhDs, and these are enough to supervise research and graduate training. It is also cheaper to train our lecturers locally, because one sandwich programme abroad, would train three lecturers locally," he said.
Signed on November 23rd last year, the agreement worth US$32m (about Sh113.8b) was intended to fund the training of 337 academic staff and support institutional development until 2020.
However, to allow for academic continuity at the five partner universities, Buyinza said the fund was divided into two cohorts, this one being the first.
"We could not take on all the 337 at once because that would cause a shortage of lecturers, yet Universities have to continue running. We however hope to re-advertise next month, so that the next cohort starts in August," he said.
Criteria for selection
According to Buyinza, the Makerere University directorate of research and graduate training made an open call to academic staff at public universities in September last year.
"We received over 400 applications, but had to sieve them through Makerere University's directorate of quality assurance, programme implementation committee and the steering committee, considering the Swedish and Ugandan government development priorities," he said.
He added that different schools and departments recommended lecturers depending on their staffing needs.
According to the agreement, the scholarships are aimed at increasing the capacity of partner public universities to generate knowledge and promote research uptake for national and regional development.
Awarding the scholarship certificates to the beneficiaries, Urban Andersson, the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda said the support is premised on important questions around research, science and technology which both governments prioritise in their quest for sustainable development.
"Researchers will dwell into subjects such as governance, social protection, climate change, infectious diseases, food security, communication technology, gender sexuality, religion, and ethics, among others," he said.
The research collaboration between Uganda and Sweden started in 2000, supporting learning and research at Makerere University to a tune of USD 73 million (about Sh 257 billion).
A total of 325 academic staff have been trained. These include 210 PhDs, 95 Masters Graduates and 20 Post-doctoral fellows.
Lecturers speak out
Kenneth Ogwal Owino of Gulu University has been a Computer Science teaching assistant for the last three years and said that the scholarship would earn him a promotion at the end of his masters.
"We shall be engaged in research and innovations which will be important for the development of the country."
Jackson Betihama, of Kyambogo University said that including lecturers from other public universities would improve research capacity in other universities.
"The fund previously supported Makerere University, other Universities will now boast of innovations."