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Makerere gets new centre for engineering, research

Makerere University has received $6m from the World Bank to run the Africa centre of excellence that will strengthen research in medicine and engineering fields.

The centre, Materials Product Development and Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO), is based at the college of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (Cedat). MAPRONANO will officially be launched this month.

This revelation was made by Makerere University vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe during his monthly press briefing at the university’s main hall on October 30.

Nawangwe said the centre was developed out of the need to develop human resource capacity in applied science engineering disciplines for the development of the Great Lakes region.

Makerere University vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe (C) and Dr Micheal Lubwama (L) during the media briefing

“The World Bank is supporting the center for a period of five years. This money will be used to furnish laboratories as well as offer Master's and PhD scholarships,” Nawangwe said.

He added that Uganda cannot develop without relying on specialised research, saying the center will also look at addressing food insecurity that has plagued the country for long.

The centre will offer highly specialised short courses in welding technology, health safety, engineering, oil and gas, monoclonal and nano bodies generation, bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing techniques.

Currently, five PhD students have been admitted, while another five from Rwanda have been identified. Representing the center’s director, Prof John Baptist Kirabira, Dr Micheal Lubwama said the center is expected, among other things, to churn out professional scientists who can contribute to regional development through research.

“Our objectives are to enhance teaching and training to promote linkages among academics, industry practioners and policymakers,” Lubwama said.

He observed that the training offered at the center will enable graduates to develop more effective ways to treat cancer following the establishment of a sister facility at the college of Health Sciences.

IMPROVED SERVICES

In a bid to ease service delivery, Nawangwe said the university is going to decentralise issuance of academic transcripts.

“With this arrangement, the academic registrar will send printed Makerere University academic transcripts to the office of the principal in the respective colleges,” he said. “This will also reduce on the queuing for these documents at the Senate building.”

Alfred Namoah Masikye, the university academic registrar, said his department will this month start sorting transcripts that have overstayed at the university before they are sent to the respective colleges.

“Some students have not been picking their transcripts and we have to first rearrange those piles so that work becomes much easier for the college heads,” Masikye said.

Last year, 50 students were scrapped off the graduation list nearly two days to graduation day for allegedly being involved in the alteration of their marks.

A committee was then instituted and 69 former students were implicated. The university later suspended issuing of transcripts. Masikye said investigations into the matter were still ongoing.

tusiime.chris20@gmail.com

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