18 Jun 2019
The University of Rwanda hosted a two day meeting with an academic delegation from three Swedish varsities to discuss joint research collaboration. The event is organized in line with the recently ten established research clusters that are expected to boost interdisciplinary research approach for economic growth and social transformation.
The discussions were presided over by Dr Charles Murigande who noted that the move is meant to uphold the culture of interdisciplinary research approach which is instrumental to deal with the complexity of developmental challenges. Fields like Energy, transport, agriculture and ICT are among ten key areas that will mark the upcoming research collaboration.
“We are trying to catch up in the field of energy which is prerequisite to the development ; knowing that the Government of Rwanda has an ambition to provide access to electricity to each home by 2024” said Murigande who is UR Deputy Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement. In other areas, he added that management and economics will also be given an impetus since they are reckoned to be the backbone of all the businesses in which the country endeavours to boost.
He also stated that the development of the country is closely linked to the deeds of the University of Rwanda as the sole public University with the mandate to transform the country from agrarian society into a knowledge led one.
It was also observed that UR has started the journey to be a research led institution and is poised to be active in knowledge generation by collaborating with the region and international community. The development of local PhD programmes has been also undertaken which will enable UR to develop a critical mass of researchers.
Prof Herman Musahara was part of the group that developed the concept note that featured research clusters. He noted that the University of Rwanda rates high the training of PhD as one of the answers for problems of the country. According to him, the concept note was nested into the existing national and regional policies as well as global imperatives such as SDGs and crosscutting areas ; gender and environment to mention but a few.
“Research clusters are also meant to boost social economic transformation and economic development while establishing substantial bond with the industry,” said Musahara, adding that clusters are designed in such a way that they are mutually intertwined to uphold synergy amongst them.
The collaboration between UR and Swedish varsities has been possible thanks to the existing support by UR-Sweden Programme that strives to promote research culture and capacity at the University of Rwanda. The support has enabled the University to have qualified staff and this was vindicated by the fact that UR won a competitive bid worth 20 million/USD from the World bank to fund four Centres of Excellence.
Among other key research players in attendance was Mr Raymond Ndikumana who is the Overall Coordinator of UR-Sweden Programme. In his remarks, he called on the research clusters to find scientific basis with regard to national and regional priorities and other global commitment such us SDGs. He urged the cluster champions be pragmatic amid the development of letters of intents which is a competitive process to be reviewed by external team appointed by the Government of Sweden.
Mr Raymond sharing his thoughts during the meeting
Prof. Cotton, UR Vice Chancellor was also present
Prof Kaplin presented on Research clusters
Participants in the meeting