Makerere University received special funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, to support high impact Research and Innovations. The Financial Year 2020/21 will be the second year of this fund’s availability. The fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of socio-economic transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. The fund is therefore aimed at complementing available funding to address key research needs of the government sectors by addressing unfunded priorities critical to accelerating development. In the last Financial Year (2019/2020), 224 projects were funded under Round 1 of this Fund.
In the next Financial Year (2020/21), Makerere University expects another 30 Billion Uganda shillings (about US$ 8,100,000) under the Government Research and Innovation Fund (RIF). Of this, 12.5 Billion Shillings will fund new ideas that respond to a widely consultative Research Agenda focused on national priorities. The Makerere University Research and Innovation Grants Management Committee (GMC) therefore announces the RIF Round 2, Track 1 (Research & Innovation Agenda-Based Grants). Available funds are obligated for the Financial Year 2020/2021, with an expectation of actionable results that speak to the National Research and Innovation Agenda. The GMC, therefore, invites applications with original ideas that demonstrate a clear link to key thematic areas of the National Research and Innovation Agenda.
Research for Economic Development
To transition to middle-income status, low-income countries must increasingly invest in research and innovations that provide solutions to persistent development challenges. Universities should be at the fore-front of driving this research agenda. The Government of Uganda drafted the 2nd National Development Plan (NDP) (2015-2020), specifying key areas of development investments needed to take the country to the next level. Resulting from this plan, different sectors have developed their Sectoral Development Plans (e.g. the Health Sector Development Plan 2015-2020 and the Agriculture Sector Development Plan (2015-2020). The NDP has been revised and the 3rd Plan is currently in draft. However, the NDP and sector-specific plans require research to fill evidence gaps. The main objective of the RIF is to support R&I initiatives that contribute to better delivery of National Development initiatives in all sectors critical to the economy.
Scope and Technical Description of the Research and Innovation Grant
The RIF GMC’s terms of reference include the development of an instructive research agenda as the basis for identifying funding priorities. In preparation for the RIF Round 2, the GMC conducted a comprehensive stakeholder consultation to identify thematic areas of focus for the grant. These consultations included meetings with representatives from key government sectors, semi-autonomous government agencies, the private-for-profit sector and civil society.
The GMC triangulated this information with that from the draft National Development Plan III, Makerere University Strategic Plan and Research Agenda and the thematic outputs from the RIF Round 1 proposals. RIF Round 2, Track 1 (Research & Innovation Agenda-Based Grants) will therefore specifically target research and innovation ideas that align with priority thematic issues in the instructive Research Agenda that arose from these consultations. Research and Innovation ideas are therefore sought in the following thematic areas:
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