NORHED in Uganda
Makerere University, one of Africa's most prestigious higher education institutions, has had a strong partnership with Norway since the 1960’s. Makerere has taken a leading role in contributing to strengthening capacity at less established universities both in Uganda and the region and hosts a number of researchers from neighbouring countries, such as South Sudan.
The NORHED program was established in Uganda in 2013, and Makerere University has become Norway's largest global partner within NORHED. Over time, this collaboration has evolved into institutional partnerships that include joint research and publications, staff and student exchange, development of new study programmes, and upgrading of laboratories and library resources. The collaboration is however not limited to Makerere University, and includes Uganda Christian University, Kyambogo University, Gulu University, Uganda Martyrs University and Makerere University Business School.
To celebrate Norway’s longstanding higher education and research partnership with Uganda and its achievements – and the NORHED programme in particular – Minister Counsellor and Deputy Head of the Norwegian Embassy in Kampala, Ole Reidar Bergum, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the NORHED week.
This year’s NORHED Week focuses on the relevance of research for society. Efforts to translate research into policies, practices, and services that tackle local challenges is central. During the opening, both the Ugandan Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Monica Musenero, and the Head of the NORHED Delegation, Solbjørg Sjøveian, emphasized the importance of relevant and context-specific research that contributes to social change. NORHED is therefore not only about strengthening higher education capacity, but also the long-term effects that this has on society.
Scholars took the opportunity to remind fellow researchers that the impact of research extends beyond publication and that research should strive to foster social, economic, and political impact. Dr. Monica Musenero emphasized how development challenges are resolved through science, technology, and innovation—all requiring competence acquired through higher education. The Minister further emphasized that challenges will inevitably arise; the key is how they are responded to. Higher education institutions in Uganda therefore have an important role to play in addressing the complexities of challenges such as climate change, food security and high unemployment of youth.
To date, over 300 Ugandans have completed their PhDs through Norwegian support, with many working directly with local communities on impact-oriented research. One good example in that regard is Makerere’s College of Computing and Information Sciences which conducts cutting-edge research addressing challenges related to climate change by weather monitoring stations developed through IoT-solutions.
Just at Makerere, the NORHED partnership covers more than 17 programs in sectors like education, health, natural resource management, gender, food security, IT, and more.