Research collaboration with Makerere University in Mathematics and its applications

Participants at the third network meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, 2018.
Participants at the third network meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, 2018. Martin Singull

Our goal is to strengthen research and postgraduate training in mathematics and its applications at the public universities in Uganda and to increase the use of mathematics in the private and public sectors. The collaboration is funded by Sida.

The departments of mathematics at Linköping University and Makerere University, Uganda, are since 2015 partners in the sub-programme Capacity Building in Mathematics and its Applications. The sub-programme is part of the bilateral Mak-Sweden Programme, a research training partnership programme funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The sub-programme is coordinated by the Department of Mathematics at LiU and the Department of Mathematics at Makerere.

In Uganda, the public universities Busitema University, Gulu University, Kyambogo University, and Mbarara University of Science and Technology are part of the collaboration. On the Swedish side, the collaboration also includes Mälardalen University, the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and Uppsala University.

Building research capacity in Mathematics in Uganda

The main goal of the sub-programme is to provide Uganda with PhD graduates having a strong and broad background in mathematics through training PhD students both in Sweden and Uganda. Another goal is to increase the research output of the involved departments in Uganda. For this, postdoc fellowships have been awarded and conferences and workshops were arranged. The sub-programme also aims at increasing the use of mathematics in the private and public sectors in Uganda, for instance through multidisciplinary research projects.

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Achievements

Through this collaboration, the capacity for research and teaching has been strengthened and the quality and quantity of research outputs have increased. Some examples of achievements are:

  • Five staff members of Makerere were admitted for PhD training in Sweden following the sandwich mode. All the PhD students are expected to graduate in the academic year 2020–2021.
  • A taught PhD programme in Mathematics at Makerere was developed and 16 students were admitted to this programme. All the PhD students are expected to graduate in the academic year 2020–2021.
  • The courses in the PhD programme at Makerere were taught by lecturers and professors from Uganda, Sweden, Australia, Botswana, Ethiopia, Oman and Rwanda.
  • The supervisors of the students in the PhD programme at Makerere come from Uganda, Sweden, Botswana, Kenya, Oman, Rwanda and Sudan.
  • Seven postdoc fellowships were awarded for research visits to Sweden.
  • The number of publications in reputable scientific journals as well as presentations at international conferences have increased.
  • Four conferences, schools and workshops have been arranged.

Collaboration between universities in the Eastern African region has been strengthened through different activities:

  • Sharing of human resources for teaching and supervision
  • Joint development of PhD curricula
  • Joint revision of Master’s programmes
  • Formation of 11 international research groups
  • Joint applications for research funding
  • Development of the East African Centre for Mathematical Research under the support of the Inter-University Council for East Africa
  • Development of benchmarks for Mathematics programmes in the East African Community under the support of the Inter-University Council for East Africa

Goal and objectives of the sub-programme

The sub-programme has the following long-term, all-embracing goal:

To benefit the country’s and the region’s development, providing Uganda with graduates having a strong and broad background in mathematics as well as increasing the use of mathematics in the private and public sectors in Uganda, and in multidisciplinary research conducted at Makerere University and in the region.

The long-term goal is supplemented by the following specific objectives:

  1. Increase the output of scientific publications in international, peer-reviewed journals and active participation in international conferences by academic staff at the Department of Mathematics, Makerere University
  2. Develop and mount a new PhD programme at the Department of Mathematics, Makerere University, based on coursework and dissertation
  3. Graduate 5 PhD students in the sandwich mode and 16 PhD students in the local mode
  4. Offer 7 postdoctoral fellowships in Sweden to the staff members of the Department of Mathematics, Makerere University
  5. Establish sustainable long-term collaboration in mathematics research and teaching between universities in the Eastern Africa region
  6. Participate in multidisciplinary research projects

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