Principal Investigators tipped on how to win more international Grants

Principal Investigators tipped on how to win more international Grants

The Mbarara University of Science and Technology grants office (MGO) organized a workshop with the project principal investigators (PIs) under the theme “Diversifying the funding landscape” According to   Ms. Jackquline  Karuhanga the Ag. Grants Manager, the workshop aimed at giving PIs insights about how best to work with MGO and MUST administration, the burn rate of project funds, and above all look for alternative sources of funding a departure from the traditional sources of funding from the global North. She added that the workshop was to also get the MGO office feedback from the PIs.


Assoc Prof. Vincent Batwala
The workshop was chaired by the Director, Directorate of Research and Graduate Training, Assoc.  Prof. Vincent Batwala who thanked members for turning up in big numbers.  He urged PIs to be conscious of the projects/grants budget burn rate. He said that the low burn rate leads to power project deliverablesand also reminded the PIs of how the anti-homosexuality bill has caused anxiety in the scientific community.

Representing the Vice Chancellor prof. Charles Tushabome-kazooba welcomed the PI facilitators and record the anti-homosexuality bill causing political tension between Uganda and the global north.  Prof. Kazooba further thanked the PIs for job creations. “over 300 people have benefited from your projects, this not only widens the nation’s tax base but also improves standards of life in more than one family as support trickles down to different relatives or community members”. The University Secretary, Mr. Melchoir Byaruhanga, urged the Principal Investigators to quarterly reports as required by the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, burn rate and appreciated the PI who are assets to the university.

 

Some of the top management members

 Prof. Charles Tushabomwe Kazooba

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Finance, and Administration

Mr. Byaruhanga Melchior,

The University Secretary

Mr. Purinari Behangane,

The Director Human Resource


Mr. Emmanuel Okalany giving his presentation

A presentation under the theme: “Diversifying Resources for Training, Research and Innovation” was made by Mr. Emmanuel Okalany, a Technical Specialist for Development and Partnerships from RUFORUM. RUFORUM is a network of 163 universities in 40 African countries of which MUST is a member

He focused on strategies that the administrators and the Principal Investigators can use to sustainably finance quality teaching, research & innovation, and outreach. For the Administrators, the key message was that MUST needs to identify a unique discipline for which it wants to be known for quality teaching, research, and innovation. As identified in the discussion with the Principal Investigators, human medicine could be a strategic area for which MUST needs to develop a long-term strategy for which it should plan for and assemble human resources, physical infrastructure and equipment, and management systems.

He recommended that all organization’s units should be engaged in resource mobilization. For example, Emmanuel suggested that the Communications and Marketing unit should play the role of packaging innovations and technologies in popular ways as a means of accountability to non-academic audiences including development partners, private companies, and governments.

He advised the university leadership to explore non-traditional means of financing such as institutionalized consultancies and commissioned research, commercialization of intellectual property and establishment of an endowment fund that could finance through overheads, alumni contributions, and crowdfunding. These strategies are important as long-term sustainable mechanisms which will reduce dependency on declining government support, Overseas Development Assistance, and private philanthropic organizations

For the Principal Investigators, Emmanuel recommended that they need to organize themselves into Research Groups with a peer review and coordination mechanism to quality assure proposals before submission to funders. He provided a list of funders and also promised to work with the MGO to regularly identify funding opportunities in which MUST researchers can participate in.


Some of the Principal Investigators during the during the Workshop


The University Planner Ms. Nakakeeto F. Robina
Other internal presenters included the University Planner Ms. Nakakeeto F. Robina who presented on Project Planning, budgeting, and performance. She gave insights on what is needed by the Government of Uganda to declare all funds to the institution including grants through budgeting for the Grants annual reporting on their performance on a quarterly basis reporting.

The procurement officer, Mr. Kwatampora Vincent, then presented the procurement process, it would be challenges and the flexible windows this was followed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Prof. Nixon Kamukama who present about MUST’s visibility, he urged all event organizers to always let the communication office be in the know as a way of letting the public know what is taking place in the University, He added the need for backlinks with partners, the need for publications with the university emails among other needs. The final presentation was by the University Auditor Mr. Geoffrey Mutebi who shared perceptions about internal audits, why PIs need to have all financial records right, what it means to have the right financial records, the need for funders to know that MUST provides an independent declaration on risk management, governance and internal control processes are operating effectively.

Another presentation was made by Mr. Joseph Njogu the CEO, of Research Beeline Ltd Nairobi.

He highlighted many sources of funding, such as NGOs and other organizations that the university can subscribe to get to know the available grants that can be competed for. He encouraged the Principal Investigators to look to eastern Countries like China, Singapore, and South Korea.

An open discussion was held by the PIs and the presenters

The event was then closed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration Assoc. Prof. Tushabomwe –Kazooba.

Succeed we MUST.

 

 

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