Research Grants Office opened at CAES by the Vice Chancellor
• This is the 3rd Grants office in Makerere University
• Funded by SIDA Carnegie Foundation at a cost of $7000 through the Directorate of Graduate Research and Training and Quality Assurance
• VC calls on senior staff to support and build capacity of junior staff in research
• DGRT calls on Management to recruit Desk Grants Officers in each college
Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) has opened the Research Grants Office to assist staff in securing resources to support cutting edge research, innovation and outreach to the community. This is third pilot Grants office in Makerere University including the College of Health Sciences and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The VC represeantative Prof Fred Masagazi cuts the tape to open the office
The CAES Research Grants office has been renovated and furnished with financial support from SIDA Carnegie Foundation through the Directorate of Quality Assurance and the Directorate of Graduate Research and Training (DGRT) at an estimated cost of $7000 . The cost also covers remuneration of the Desk Officer for one year .The office space was offered by the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences (SFEGS) Prof. Mnason Tweheyo.
The office was opened on Tuesday 26th May, 2015 by the Vice Chancellor who was represented by the Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs Prof. Fred Masagazi at the SFEGS. The function was also graced by officials from Makerere University’s Directorates of Quality Assurance and the DGRT, CAES student leaders and other university staff.
Speaking on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Fred Masagazi who is the Principal, College of Education and External Studies (CEES) commended CAES for the multi-stakeholder engagements that bring to bear research problems to be addressed by university based research teams.
Dean SFEGS, Dr. Vincent Sembatya, Prof. Fred Masagazi, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, Dr. Gorettie Nabanoga , Prof. George Nasinyama and Prof. Moses Tenywa on the high table singing the anthems
Prof. Masagazi observed that this initiative was in line with Makerere University’s core functions of Research and innovation, “Makerere University aims at consolidating and enhancing its research profile. The university also aspires to enhance transformation of knowledge, research and innovation”. He said.
He said the University was looking forward to the development of highly professional staff in adequate numbers for innovative and adaptive training and research as well as engagement with public and private institutions in advocacy and policy support needed to underpin agricultural development while sustaining the environment.
“I call upon the CAES senior staff to support young staff to strengthen their capacities in teaching, research and innovation. As Vice Chancellor, I reaffirm the university Management’s commitment for a continued collaboration for better services” he said.
Representing the Director, Directorate of Graduate Research and Training, Prof. George Nasinyama described the office launch as a momentous occasion urging other colleges to learn from CAES experience.
Participants tour the office
Prof. George Nasinyama explained that in principle, every college is supposed to have the Grants office linked to the Directorate of Graduate Research and Training. He said a proposal was written to SIDA through the secretariat of the region implementation within the Directorate of Quality Assurance to pilot the ideas in two colleges of CHUS and CAES.
“A criterion was drawn up and we thought of those units with appreciable grants and one of them was CAES. I must say that you are doing well in terms of grants and that is how CAES was selected as a pilot”. He said. The arrangement according to Prof. Nasinyama was for SIDA to provide seed money for equipment and a Desk officer for one year after which the college would take over to facilitate the Desk officer and office activities from the projects overheads.
In CAES the Principal identified a senior staff Prof. Moses Tenywa Makooma as Grants Office Coordinator to champion this initiative and has offered proborno services with no salary.
Prof. Bernard Bashaasha speaking during the launch
Citing the success stories from the University of Ghana where Desk Officers are part of the university structure, Prof. Nasinyama implored the Makerere University management to recruit Grants Desk officers in every college to avoid overloading university staff who already have defined roles and responsibilities.
“We do not pay attention to the specified requirements of the funder. So the Desk officer will assist right from identifying the funding agencies up to ensuring that there is compliance of the proposal to the funders conditions and uniformity of the structure”, the professor observed.
Prof. Nasinyama also expressed the need for the university to look at the issue of Institutional Review Boards (IRBS) to reduce on costs. He disclosed that he had a draft proposal where he thinks of the establishment of three IRB s focussing on Health related research, Humanities and social sciences research and one on Animal research rather than having many IRBs at every college.
The Principal CAES, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha said the office is intended to serve the needs of the experts and the novice and will provide a platform to move beyond self, and service the wider good by building the capacity of others.
“Make no mistake, we will all one day grow old, get tired and the joy will be in seeing those you have mentored proposer and mentor others to extend your chain of influence. If you are a young and upcoming researcher, the office gives you an opportunity to learn and improve your grant writing and research skills”. The Principal said.
Inside the CAES Grants Office
Prof. Bashaasha described the opening of the Grants office as part of a new beginning for CAES. He said the research office is consistent with the college’s multiple mandates of teaching, research, outreach and policy influence; and goes beyond in the sense that it promises to address the finance needs of the College as well as enhancing the ranking of the University.
The Principal expressed happiness over the opening of the CAES Grants office saying, it was a fulfilment of the promise he made.
“My business plan promised you a CAES Research Enterprise Service (RES) to complement staff efforts to look out for competitive funding opportunities, prepare competitive proposals while at the same time supporting the proposal preparation initiatives of individual members of staff. I promised to support both individual and institutional proposals to increase the research resource envelope”. He went on to say :
“I pledged that the centre would be headed by an experienced fundraiser and senior person at the rank of Associate Professor and above. I am happy to note that we are realizing this promise today with Prof. Tenywa coordination this effort. Efforts to hire an experienced fundraiser are in advanced stages.” Prof. Bashaasha pledged.
Prof. Bashaasha told participants that the college has over 300 projects taking on 90 percent of the graduate students but the college can do even better. This, he said, highlights the symbiotic relationship between research and training.
He underscored the role of research in generating new information for economic development and policy, a requirement for staff promotion, a yard stick to University rankings and a source of funds supplementing the university income.
“The University resource envelope continues to shrink. Operational funds have dropped significantly. College operational activities would have grounded to a halt without support from the research resources”. He noted.
The Principal further said that the college had unfinished business in the name of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) and requires independence in this area. He thanked the research committee of the School of Public Health - College of Health Sciences for handling many of CAES IRB needs to date pledging to make concrete proposals in the near future.
He thanked the Directorate of Graduate Research and Training and Quality Assurance for the immense support and the Development partners who have made resources available for to the realization of this effort. He implored staff to rally behind and support this office.
The CAES Grants office Coordinator Prof. Moses Tenywa Makooma said universities are increasingly becoming competitive and Makerere University to keep in leading positions is encouraging colleges to establish and strengthen the resource mobilisation function.
Prof. Moses Tenywa Makooma giving his remarks
Prof. Tenywa observed that staff and students find it more difficult to access resources to support research that meets both institutional and individual interests because of several reasons including the changed nature of calls to reflect multidisciplinary from production to consumption, regionality and expected to deliver international public good.
Increasingly, the professor noted that university staff finds it difficult to write winning proposals to leapfrog development into a knowledge based society.
“The launch of the CAES Grants office is timely for building resource mobilisation capacity and guiding proposal development process, improving ability of staff to identify and respond to funding opportunities, prepare and submit quality proposals and manage resources to provide value for money”, Prof. Tenywa said.
He said this institutional initiative is envisioned to complement ongoing individual efforts to use the state of the art technologies, internet and mobile phones for communication and organise trainings for writing winning proposals. The office will also help in editing proposals developed by staff; promoting dissemination of research products and satisfy requirements of development partners.
“CAES has rediscovered itself for self organisation and this rediscovery is being expressed in staff enthusiasm and desire to mobilise resources to overcome challenges”, The Coordinator said.
The CAES Grants Office that was opened
Prof. Tenywa thanked the University administration, CAES leadership, DGRT and Quality Assurance for the visionary leadership and the Dean SFEGS for agreeing to host the office. In a special way, he thanked the development partners SIDA Carnegie Foundation for the generous support of Us Dollars 7000 and the support towards the Desk Officer for a year.
Report compiled by:
Communication Officer, CAES