By Spy Uganda
The vice-chancellor of Makerere University, Prof.Barnabas Nawangwe has urged Sweden’s aid agency to reconsider its decision to wind up a programme that has supported research at the institution for more than 20 years.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has funded training and research at Makerere since 2000. Sweden has contributed $120 million to the bilateral programme since its inception, helping more than 800 Makerere staff.
But the programme is being phased out, a conference to celebrate the partnership between Makerere and Sida heard this week. Going forward, Makerere will have to rely on other funding sources to maintain its research momentum.
A Sida spokesperson confirmed that the agency was phasing out the funding, citing Makerere’s rapid advances in research as the reason for doing so.
“They have a strong research culture and are judged to be able to raise funding on their own,” the spokesperson said. The official end date of the bilateral programme is 30 June this year.
But Nawangwe regrets the decision. “I think it’s a bit too early. It does no harm for Sida to reconsider,” he told the conference this week.
Nawangwe said that external research grants now exceed internal institutional support for research for the first time at Makerere and that the university is aiming to become even more research-led.
However, the university still faces many challenges, he added, including inadequate infrastructure, high student-to-staff ratios, and—yes—inadequate funding for research.