The College of Engineering, Design, Art and technology (CEDAT) presented the best Science student, Ruhweza Charles Godfery. During the on the 5th day of the 74th graduation ceremony held on Friday 2nd February 2024, five of the best researchers from the college were also recognized for their outstanding contribution to the body of knowledge. They included Dr. Michael Lubwama with 48 publications, Olupot Wilberforce Peter with 38, Nuwagaba Buregeya Charles with 28, Kulabako Nakawunde Robinah and Serugunda Jonathan with 21 publications. The five were some of the beneficiaries of the inaugural Makerere University Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards given to all Colleges and the University Library.
At the graduation ceremony held in the freedom square, the College of Engineering, Design, art and Technology presented 7 Ph.Ds, 58 Masters Degrees, 212 Bachelors Degrees and 5 Post graduate Diplomas. The PhD Graduands were Agutu Claire, Atim Stella, Driciru Margaret, Kizza Daniel, Mayanja Martin Nsubuga and Othieno Emmanuel.
Overall, Makerere University presented a total of 12,913 graduands who received degrees and diplomas of Makerere University. Of these, a total of 132 graduands graduated with PhDs, 1585 with Masters degrees, 11,016 with Bachelor’s degrees, 156 with postgraduate diplomas, and 24 with undergraduate diplomas. 53% of the graduands are female and 47% are male.
In his remarks Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice Chancellor Makerere University noted that with support from various partnerships, the University’s research output in terms of innovations and publications had increased. He said the recognition of outstanding performers in research and publication was based on the highest number of publications between the year 2017 and 2023 according to the Scorpus database. He urged all staff to continue conducting research on national development priorities as well as matters of global interest and publishing their work in high-impact journals so as contribute to the university’s drive to become research-led.
The Vice Chancellor welcomed the new leadership of the college, Dr. Moses Musinguzi the Principal and the new Deputy Principal, Dr. Maria Kizito Kasule. He equally congratulatede the out-going Principal, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe and his Deputy Principal, Dr. Venny Nakazibwe for the job well done during their tenure.
Research, Innovation and Outreach.
In the area of research, Prof. Nawangwe informed the congregation that CEDAT was recognized as a Centre of Excellence by ARUA and the PLuS Alliance, the Alliance of Arizona State University, Kings College London and the University of New South Wales, and in this regard, five top African universities including Makerere University, were given the privilege to host a PhD programme in Industrial Development on behalf of all the ARUA and PLuS Alliance universities. The first cohort of students on this programme, he said, commenced their studies.
Materials Production using nanotechnology
While illustrating the fact that the College was carrying out cutting-edge research, the Vice Chancellor said The African Centre of Excellence in Materials, Product Development and Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO ACE) at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) continued supporting training of highly skilled human resource and foster advanced research capacity in materials Science and nanotechnology innovations. Consequently, a number of persons including staff and students at the College benefited from this opportunity. He said that using the state-of-the-art research laboratory for materials, nanotechnology and nanomedicine in the Eastern and Southern Africa, the Centre contributed greatly towards the regional development efforts through graduate professional scientists, who through their research initiatives and publications have helped in identifying feasible solutions to the challenges that we face today at national, regional and global levels. One such example of research is the development of Biomass Briquettes enhanced using Nanotechnology, he said.
CEDAT Support towards securing land ownership rights
The Vice Chancellors, further reported that the Department of Geomatics and Land Management had since 2015 to date supported the poor and vulnerable communities in a number of Districts including Kasese, Nwoya and others to secure land rights of smallholder farmers including women, youth, and the elderly. This effort, he said, was made possible because of the support from different development partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO), GIZ, UNhabitat and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. The beneficiaries have been issued with Certificates of Customary Land (CCOs), 5000 in Kasese, 1000 in Nwoya, 5000 inAdjumani, 10,000 in Kabale and 7,000 in Kisoro. In the central region where the land tenure system is basically mailo land specifically in Mityana, Kassanda and Mubende, over 30,000 occupants, otherwise known as Bibanja holders were registered to give them Land Inventory Protocols (LIPs) so that they could get the Certificates of Occupancy (COOs). Also supported were efforts to strengthen the land registration capacity of local institutions including the Area Land Committees, District Land Boards, Sub-county chiefs and LCs.
The Center of Excellence for Occupational Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE)
The VC informed the gathering that CEDAT hosts the Occupational Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE) Center, following its launch on 4th May 2023. This was a result of a discourse on the Advancement of Occupational Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE) knowledge and Skills in Uganda’s Higher Educational Institutions and the Industrial Sector that brought together stakeholders from the Academia, Industry and student community. With support by the Royal Academy of Engineering under its Engineering Skills wing, CEDAT is playing a pivotal role in filling the existing Occupational safety, Health and Environment awareness and enforcement gaps amongst Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Industrial stakeholders for sustained Social economic transformation. It is anticipated that Occupational Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE) will be mainstreamed in engineering students training and industrial activities and that engineering graduates will be able to formulate Occupational Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE) policy and implementation frameworks aimed at reducing the number of accidents and fatalities within various industrial settings in Uganda, regionally and globally.
Apac District gains from CEDAT’s intervention of providing rural internet connectivity
In line with the University’s objective of being responsive to the needs of the community, the Vice Chancellor said the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) piloted a Rural Broadband Connectivity Model aimed at ensuring that the rural areas specifically Apac District gets internet connectivity that is not only reliable, but also with appropriate data speed. A team of researchers undertook the activity that realized the expansion and deployment of the Rural Broadband Connectivity Model, covering twelve (12) sites including primary and secondary schools, a technical institute, a hospital, the District Headquarters, a women’s group office, and a farmer’s group. As realized from the diverse nature of the service beneficiaries, this positively affected a number of sectors including Agriculture, Health and socio economic and income generating activities.
Appreciation of Government Support
Nawangwe pointed out that it would not be possible for Makerere University to realize all these achievements had it not been for the unwavering support of the Visitor, the Minister, Parliament and the entire Government. He conveyed his appreciation to the President and the entire Government for the continued support to Makerere University, especially the support to staff welfare and the Research and Innovation Fund. ‘We once again pledge our commitment to serving our country with maximum dedication through training of highly skilled human resource, research for development and support to Government programs including the Parish Development Model and measures aimed at achieving the Sustained Development Goals’, he committed.
A Word to the Graduands
The Vice Chancellor, while addressing himself to the graduands said Graduation Day was the most important and most memorable day in the life of any scholar. It is not only a license to succeed in life, but also a license and a privilege to serve humanity. ‘You have worked hard to get a degree or diploma from one of the best universities in the World. This is a license for you to succeed in whatever you choose to do in your life career. But always remember that success will only come with discipline and hard work, while honoring your parents and fearing God’.
Written by Harriet Musinguzi