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Makerere Don appointed head of innovation fund

By Agnes Nantambi

Added 8th December 2019 10:07 AM

Bazeyo who is also the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of finance will be serving along with other ten experts in different fields which are in dire need of the funds to enhance commercialisation of innovations.

Makerere Don appointed head of innovation fund

Members of the committee pose for a photo with the officials from the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation. Photo by Agnes Nantambi

Bazeyo who is also the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of finance will be serving along with other ten experts in different fields which are in dire need of the funds to enhance commercialisation of innovations.

 RESEARCH  INNOVATION

Makerere University Don Prof. William Bazeyo has been appointed head of the innovation fund committee of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MOSTI).

The Eleven member National Research and Innovation programme steering committee comes to serve when government has injected sh10b into the innovation fund.

Bazeyo who is also the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of finance will be serving along with other ten experts in different fields which are in dire need of the funds to enhance commercialisation of innovations.

They include Prof.Vinand Nantulya, Dr.Grace Nambatya, Dr.Cyprian Ebong, David Bikhado ofungi, Barbara Mulwana, Prof.Enos Kiremire, Jane Okot P Bitek, Annabela Habbinka,Vincent Kedi and Wardah Mummy Rajab.

They will be handling innovators from different fields like the field of medical science, natural and environmental sciences, agricultural and allied sciences, economics, finance and entrepreneurship, electrical engineering and chemical science.

 The Minister of Science Technology and Innovations Dr Elioda Tumwesigye on the right interacts with Prof.William Bazeyo the deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of finance also the Committee chairman during the launch of the committee.

Others are in the fields of Law, ICT, Geotechnical Engineering and Social sciences.

The committee comes at the time when innovators had lost direction on how to transform their innovations into marketable products due to lack of support.

The Minister for Science Technology and Innovations Dr.Elioda Tumwesigye while launching the committee recently said its major role is to operationalise the innovation fund to ensure that the right people get the right amount of money to transform their innovations.

"This committee is responsible for management of the business of the National Research and Innovation Programme in accordance with sound business principles to enable effectiveness, efficiency and transparency, "he said

Other functions he said include identifying the key tracts to benefit from the National Research and Innovation Programme on an annual basis

"It has to establish criteria for assessing the eligibility of the awardees to receive support from the National Research and Innovation Programme; this will be done through establishing procedures for application for support from the Programme.

 It will also Specify the financial limits to be accessed by an Awardee, approve and recommend the projects that score high and deemed most competitive by the Funding Proposal Assessors for funding in addition to appointing the Funding Proposal Assessor, "he said

Speaking during the function, Tumwesigye stressed that the committee is responding to the Presidents request to have an innovation fund to support innovators.

"The whole country has been waiting for operationalization of the fund. We want to help the innovators turn their ideas and creativity into products or services through translating research and development into commercialized outcomes, "he said

He observed that many students with good ideas at the universities end up riding boda-bodas due to lack of support to transform their ideas.

Many professors he said are pre-occupied in publications and presenting their findings at conferences just to help them upgrade in teaching.

"We want to help them benefit from their researches, that is why the president decided to put systems that can help to provide funding and mentorship to the scientists to turn their ideas into prototypes and make marketable products, "he said.

"I come to this committee with a lot of hope and belief that with my experience and interaction with the international world, Uganda is destined to grow since I have been a researcher for more than 26 years winning a number of grants and awards ranging from $40m to $50m, "he said.

He explained that Innovation without money, one cannot go far noting that government, had never funded research in training institutions until recently when it allocated sh30b to Makerere for research

He revealed that out of sh30b into Makerere, 704 quality research proposals have been received with 223 funded implying that the sh30bn is just a drop in the ocean.

"I come to this committee with experience to win money and also supervising money with conditions, we are now training innovators  on how to pitch their ideas before giving them mentors to help in modifying them to make them competitive, "he said

Dr Grace Nambatya representing the Natural products said that innovation in Natural products is an area which has totally been lacking funds.

"We have promising products for Diabetes, Sickle Cell Anemia, and TB, but they are all at the lab level. we need to link herbalists to researchers to help in addressing issues like Antimicrobial resistance, "she said.

 

 

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