The MoU is aimed at promoting academic exchange and cooperation between universities, staff development and training, upgrading of Makerere University's laboratory and research facilities modelled on Bar llan University's state-of-the-art research laboratories, technological research and development (R&D), and innovations facilities.
The collaboration will bring on board Bar-llan's Faculties of Exact Sciences; Life Sciences; Medicine; and Engineering while the Makerere University consortium will comprise the Colleges of Health Sciences; Engineering, Design, Art and Technology; and Natural Sciences.
On 4th April 2013, Professor Benjamin Ehrenberg, Vice President for Research, Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, Bar llan University visited and interacted with the Management and staff in the College of Health Sciences and the College of Natural Sciences. Professor Ehrenberg visited and interacted with the Management and staff at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology on 5th April 2013 from 9:30am to 11:00am. He also toured the research facilities in the respective colleges.
The Chairperson of Makerere University Council, Eng. Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem welcomed Professor Benjamin Ehrenberg to the College of Health Sciences. Eng. Dr. Wana-Etyem said the College of Health Sciences is renowned for research that has significantly impacted on people's livelihoods and he was certain that the team would work towards a fruitful collaboration. He encouraged the team in College of Health Sciences to maximally exploit the opportunities presented by the collaboration with Bar llan University and also re-think ways of re-modeling the teaching of health sciences in Uganda.
At the College of Health Sciences, the team emphasized the need for joint staff and graduate student exchanges; capacity to effectively conduct bio-medical engineering through the establishment of a fully fledged bio-medical research laboratory and infrastructure; new-ways of teaching health sciences; and the need to integrate ICT in health services delivery.
At the College of Natural Sciences, the College Management pointed out the need for modern equipment in the laboratories; a strong partnership to start academic programmes in space and nuclear science; the development of a fully fledged Institute of Petroleum and Geo-sciences as well as the need to cultivate a niche in molecular biology and applied sciences.
At the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, staff expressed the need to partner with Bar llan to make advancements in engineering and energy sectors, as well as irrigation and transportation technologies. Professor Ehrenberg was impressed by the ongoing research at the Centre for Research in Transportation Technologies especially on the Kiira Ev. Professor Ehrenberg also shared with the team some of the research on transportation technologies that Bar llan is engaged in and a concept of an electric car assembled by a Professor at Bar llan, which also uses Aluminum Batteries invented by a Professor of Chemistry.
Speaking at the MoU signing, the Ag. Vice Chancellor, Professor Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza, welcomed Professor Benjamin Ehrenberg, the Vice President of Bar llan University and his wife, Mrs. Varda Ehrenberg to Makerere University.
"We thank you for choosing to visit and partner with Makerere University. We value every partnership and collaboration, and are therefore equally happy that the Memorandum of Understanding, which we are about to sign brings on board, Bar llan University, one of the leading universities in Israel. We wish to re-assure you that in Makerere University, you have a valuable partner," said the Ag. Vice Chancellor, Professor Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza.
Professor Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza, the First Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) also pointed out that the Memorandum of Understanding was aligned to the internationalization agenda as well as the efforts to transform Makerere into a research-led university as stipulated in the Makerere University Strategic Plan, 2008/09 -2018/19.
Professor Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza, the First Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) informed the congregation in the Main Building, Council Room that in addition to the collaborations we have entered into with universities in America, Norway, China, this presents Makerere University with an opportunity to adopt research practices from Israel.
She also expressed gratitude to the Makerere University Task Force chaired by Professor Francis Omaswa for the benchmark visit to the University of Bar-llan University and while there, for marketing Makerere University. This initial visit by the Task Force resulted in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Makerere and Bar llan.
On behalf of the Makerere University Task Force on Job-Evaluation , Re-Organisation and Financing of Makerere University, Mr. George Piwang Jalobo informed the audience that the genesis of the relationship with Bar llan University and Makerere University begun in July 2012, when the Task Force led by Professor Francis Omaswa visited Bar llan University.
Mr. Piwang-Jalobo informed the congregation that during their visit, the Task Force observed that Bar llan University had state-of-the-art research facilities, which if accessed by staff at Makerere University would uplift Makerere University's own research profile.
"I am happy that the signing of this MoU presents to Makerere University an opportunity to access state-of-the-art research facilities at Bar llan University. We have also emphasized the need for win-win strategic research collaboration," remarked Mr. Piwang-Jalobo.
In his address, Professor Benjamin Ehrenberg thanked the University Management and staff in the respective Colleges for the warm reception and the discussions that were aimed at guiding the specific discipline agreements that would be entered into in a bid to operationalise the MOU.
"I am here for a win-win collaboration between Makerere and Bar llan. We should look at this collaboration as an investment that will benefit both universities. As per the engagements with staff in the Colleges, we will focus on synergies that will develop Makerere University's research profile and infrastructure, and Bar llan University will also learn from Makerere University. I have provided a list of Bar llan Staff and the different research projects they are engaged in. I believe that this would also help the staff at Makerere University to enter into research partnerships with the team at Bar llan," said Professor Ehrenberg.
Professor Benjamin Ehrenberg informed the congregation that the signing of the MoU will strategically position both universities to apply and compete for the up-coming World Bank project focusing on the establishment of centres of excellence in Africa. He added that when the call for proposals is made, the teams at Bar llan and Makerere would work together to ensure that they win the bid.
Professor Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza while presenting a Mak@90 commemorative plaque to Professor Benjamin Ehrenberg and his wife remarked .
"We are presenting to you this crystal trophy so that every time you look at it, you will always remember that you visited Makerere University when we were celebrating 90 years of existence."
Giving the vote of thanks, The Director for Research and Graduate Training, Professor E. Katunguka-Rwakishaya thanked Professor Ehrenberg for cementing the collaboration between the partner institutions.
"As the team leader, please convey our gratitude to the Bar llan team for their readiness to allow researchers from Makerere University to access state-of-the-art research facilities. The Makerere-Bar llan University collaboration will lead to the realization of our research agenda, and I pledge total support from the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training throughout the collaboration," remarked Professor Katunguka-Rwakishaya.
The MoU signing ceremony climaxed with a group photo in front of the Main Building.
Written by: Ritah Namisango, Public Relations Office
Photos by: Joseph Buwule