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Makerere to implement new Regional PhD program in Agricultural and Rural Innovations First intake takes effect from September – October 2012

Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) will this year enroll students for a new regional PhD program code named“Agricultural and Rural Innovations (ARI)”. Makerere is among the pioneers in the world universities for coming up with this type of PhD program.

Representatives of the three East African Universities and partners, Principal CAES Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa, Mak Academic Registrar James Okello, Mak Dean School of Agricultural Sciences Dr. Bernard Bashaasha and Director RUFORUM Prof. Adipala Ekwamu launching ARI prospectus.


The program was developed by three East African Universities namely; Makerere University Uganda, Egerton University Kenya, Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzanian in collaboration with Wageningen University in Netherlands and Montpellier SupAgro in France. The project was funded by the European Union ACP – EDULINK for Higher Education program at a cost of 500,000 Euros.

This was revealed during the closure of the one week staff orientation meeting and official launch of the program held on Friday May 25, 2012 at Speke Resort Munyonyo.  The meeting was part of the preparation for implementation that brought together staff from the three  East African Universities and partnering institutions to orient staff to understand the program focus, its scientific  and development issues it will address, share experiences and get orientation how to supervise students.

“The first intake is this coming academic year September -October because we have already got the applicants, we are just going to do the selection and give them the admission and they start. In Makerere we have 30 people who have applied but we cannot take more than 10 for easy supervision and quality control. In Egerton they have already finished the admission and have taken about 10 students. In  Sokoine the program has been approved and we are looking forward to work together in its implementation”  Head Makerere University Department of Extension and Innovation studies, Dr. Paul Kibwika said.

Mak Head Depart. of Extension and Rural Innovations Dr. Paul Kibwika Speaking during the launch of ARI

Dr. Kibwika said the basis for this program was on the realization that most of the rural development programs were  geared towards using innovation approaches, looking at a holistic way of dealing with development, value chain in agriculture from production to the markets but lacked experts in those areas.

He said the program will produce unique kind of PhD graduates who are   able to steer stakeholders and communities to accelerate development using innovations systems approach and also build capacities for the three universities to offer this specialized training in the region.

“We want our students to sit and discuss with ministries NGOs, farmer organizations to come up with the real problems they are facing and then see what the research can contribute to in addressing those problems.  So they will have to contribute to academic and contribute to solving existing problems,” He added.

Kibwika explained that new kind of expertise will be  able to work with multiple actors to develop agriculture and the rural sector by working with people in marketing, value addition, input, processing which is  a new approach being promoted by all governments in African states whose economy rely on agriculture.

Dr. Florence Kyazze of Mak Depart. of Extension and Rural Innovations and other  the participants during the workshop

Unlike existing PhD programs at Makerere University, ARI is a three year program that is to be conducted by both course work and research being quiet intensive and shorter than existing PhD programs that take 4 years. Course work will be done during the first year while research will take the next two years.

Being a trans-disciplinary program, students will be enrolled from varying disciplines contributing to agricultural and rural development including veterinary scientists, sociologists and engineers working with rural communities. The total fees structure will be UGX 6,000,000 and $3,000  per year for nationals and international students respectively


                     Some of the participants during the closure of the workshop and launch of ARI


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