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Sustaining research excellence and productivity with funding from development partners: The case of Makerere University

Ssembatya, Vincent A.

Since its inception, Makerere University has evolved into one of the leading universities in sub-Saharan Africa. In the 1950s, 60s and early 70s the University experienced her most productive decades with a vibrancy of teaching in the local region, research and engagement with government and the public through public lectures and other fora of academic and political engagement. From the mid-70s to the mid-80s, the volume of research not only decreased but also increasingly became project-based and dependent on individual’s motivation. Research capacity and volume have grown in the most recent years according the data available in international information sources. After 30 years of intervention, research outputs are tilted and glaringly ignoring certain key thematic areas that are fundamental to national development in Uganda. An interrogation of the relationship between research at the universities and national development agenda becomes critical and is attempted through a diagnosis of the enabling factors for research using Makerere University as a flagship university in Africa. Excellence of research in African universities is in the limelight with the growing realisation that these universities should play more active roles in the development agendas of their countries; somewhat requiring the disassembling of their original ivory tower setups. The evolution of Makerere sheds light on this debate, regarding the impact on teaching and other complimentary academic activities in universities.

Published by African Minds.
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