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Makerere University launches system to monitor research grants

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Proffesor Nawangwe together with other officials at the launch.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University has unveiled an online management system to monitor research grants and provide support to principal investigators at the institution.

The system; known as the Makerere University Grants Management System (MAKGMS) is charged with tracing the allocation of funds, checking on what the resources are being used for, and facilitating performance or research implementation while ensuring that funds are properly being utilized, among others.

According to Professor Sylvia Nakimera Tamusuza, Head of Grants Administration and Management Support Unit (GAMSU) -GAMSU, all staff will be able to access grant routes through the system, as well as receive management support on necessary documents to strengthen their research grant proposals.

Makerere University has traditionally positioned itself to prioritize research, to become Africa’s premier university in academic excellence and innovation. As a result, the University has encouraged its staff to compete for research grants in addition to the funds provided by the government for research.

According to Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, the University Vice Chancellor, despite raising funds for research, the university did not have a unit to monitor the funding, which hindered the university from appropriately reporting to their development partners.

In April 2021, Nawangwe directed all University staff (principal investigators) to report all research funding obtained in the name of the university to the funding Administration and Management Support Unit (GAMSU) within one month.

Speaking at the launch of the unit, Yusuf Kiranda, the University Secretary said that grant money is public money like any other money at the university and therefore it is governed by the Public Finance Management Act.

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Kiranda explained that; section 43 of the act stipulates any public entity that receives grants is receiving public money and that money must be sent to the government.

But, he argued that; while the same act provides for a waiver for a public entity to maintain the funds with them if they obtain an exemption from the Finance Ministry, it has been difficult for Makerere to obtain that waiver because they do not know clearly which grants they have.

Nawangwe said that the unit will help the principal investigators interested in certain topics to look for grants using the guide on the system but also empower them to have proper accountability whenever they get grants.

Nawangwe added that; the unit will also the management to track the projects; by establishing the sources of the projects but also ensure accountability of every single coin that will be involved in any research project.

Professor Sylvia Nakimera Tamusuza, Head of GAMSU, stated that while the University’s major need is to develop trust with its sponsors, the system would also be utilized to profile all projects that have not previously been prioritized.

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