FUNCTION # 01: MANAGEMENT OF ALL GRANTS AWARDED TO MUST
The mission of MGO is to provide a platform for the promotion of Research and Innovation at MUST through effective grants development and management. In the management / administration of grants, MGO continues to provide full custody of all project funds under MUST.
During finance administration, the office is responsible for budget tracking, budget control, and expenditure reporting, always in line with the terms laid out in the donor agreement, MUST institutional policies and national policies, specifically, the Public Finance and Management Act of the Government of Uganda.
Secondly, MGO oversees the procurement function of sponsored projects in collaboration with the MUST Procurement & Disposal Unit (PDU). The office verifies the eligibility of the items being purchased; ascertains the availability of funds and if the items requested are provided for in the budget. The office further maintains procurement plans, well aligned to the respective project budgets to ensure timely acquisition of required items for smooth project implantation. Throughout the financial year 2020/2021, MGO has been able to perform this task to the expectation of its stakeholders.
MGO is also responsible for project personnel management; the office continues to oversee all day-to-day management of the project personnel including overseeing the recruitment process, staff appraisals and maintaining their contracts in compliance with the MUST Human Resource Manual.
The office undertakes projects asset management including tracking dates of acquisition of various assets, engraving / tagging to enable accurate and efficient inventory tracking and periodical stock taking as a property safety precaution. The office maintains asset registers for all projects which are updated every time an asset is acquired. With these registers, the office is able to know the status, the location and the value of each asset. This is another compliance requirement by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act of the Government of Uganda, which MGO working together with the MUST Procurement & Disposal Unit (PDU) has been able to uphold.
Overall, guided by clear policies and standard operating procedures, MGO continues to streamline its grants management system to ensure provision of efficient grants management services. This can be seen from a series of recent successful audits by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG).
FUNCTION # 02: SUPPORTING THE GENERATION OF FUNDS
MGO supports the process of generating funds for research through identification of funding opportunities, supporting researchers through the process of proposal development and submission following the requirements of the respective funding opportunities.
i). Identification of relevant funding opportunities
MGO has put in a place a pre-award desk charged with the identification and dissemination of funding opportunities; and taking time to match these solicitations to individual investigators depending on both their field of expertise, project needs and overall eligibility requirements. Under the MUST – UVA Research Administration G11 Grant “Advancing HIV Research at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) through a research administration training program with the University of Virginia” funded by Fogarty International Centre (FIC), National Institutes of Health (NIH); Grant No: 1G11TW010948-01A1, MGO has been able to acquire MUST subscription to a funding opportunity platform “Research beeline”, an online platform where various funding calls are published. Under this arrangement, several staff were granted access including a few staff outside MGO (active in searching for funding and supporting MUST Faculty), in the Faculty of Medicine and the Centre of Innovation and Technology Transfer.
MGO website [grants.must.ac.ug] provides a link to the available funding opportunities [https://grants.must.ac.ug/opportunities/funding-opportunities/]. This is accessible to the entire MUST research community and globally, and is updated regularly to ensure timely access to funding information.
ii). Proposal development, reviews (to align with funding guidelines) and final submission
The office further supports / coordinates the proposal development and review processes through formation of writing teams, provision of administrative support, such as preparation of bio sketches, acquisition of letters of support and all requirements laid out in the funding opportunity announcement. It’s the duty of MGO to further prepare budgets and ensure they are well aligned to the proposed project’s scope of work. Once the proposal has been fully developed, MGO ensures, it is submitted to the funder. There are however, submissions that are made by individual researchers outside MGO which has made it difficult for the office to monitor / track research submissions made periodically.