Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak – RIF) has received new funding worth 30 Billion Shillings to support local science innovations.
Prof. William Bazeyo confirmed the funding saying that the innovations targeted are those that address the National Development Plan (NDP 3) that was launched last year.
Bazeyo was speaking on Thursday at the Open day exhibition event at Makerere University where some of the previously funded innovations were showcase.
This round of funding is the third having initially received 60 Billion Shillings over the last two financial years. The objective of the fund that was launched in 2019 is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda.
From previous funding, Bazeyo says they have gathered over a thousand innovations all arising from the first round of funding that they got from the government for unfunded priorities.
For the new funding, at least 25 Billion Shillings will fund new ideas that respond to a widely consultative Research Agenda focused on national priorities while the rest will fund an extension of multi-year projects, needs-based projects and commercialization of prior funded projects.
Responding to concerns that many innovations done in the country before remain in study format and are never put to use, Bazeyo said that the government has allocated some resources to the Ministry of Science and Innovations to commercialize and that very soon researchers will start cashing in.
He cites some of the innovations that are already helping the government cut back on expenditure such as a portable weather station made by researchers at the college of computing and information science which is already relaying real-time weather data to the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA).
Julianne Sansa – Otim, a member of the team that came up with the weather station innovation told URN at the open day that in addition to relaying information to the UNMA server, they have come up with a web interface that gives prompt weather forecasts and another project which tailor climate services for improved agriculture production.
So far, thirty such weather stations have been deployed in different spots across the country. Previously to get such information, UNMA only relied on paid-for satellite systems.