Grants Administration and Management Support Unit (GAMSU)

By Elvis Lubanga

The Head of Makerere University Grants and Management Support Unit (GAMSU), Professor Sylvia Antonia Nannyonga-Tamusuza, has pledged to continue working with her team to facilitate Makerere staff in the research grant acquisition process, as one of the strategies towards making Makerere a research-led university.

This was during a hands-on workshop on navigating funder platforms and the GAMSU database management system that took place on 16th March 2023 at Makerere University in the Telepresence Centre, Senate Building, which brought together representatives from different colleges and units.

Prof. Nannyonga-Tamusuza told participants that GAMSU will continue to enhance research at Makerere by facilitating the grants processes. She added that her team is coordinating with several stakeholders to help negotiate with potential funders and always provide the necessary support to Makerere applicants.

Prof. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza, the Head of GAMSU, officiating the opening of the GAMSU workshop.
Prof. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza, the Head of GAMSU, officiating the opening of the GAMSU workshop.

She further clarified that the unit doesn’t give out research grants as many would think, but rather guides on how to get one.

“We don’t give grants, but we facilitate the acquisition processes and promote compliance,” Nannyonga said. She added that this is done to curb the difficulties faced by researchers while trying to process grants, especially in the area of writing, as well as accessing funder platforms. She also promised participants that GAMSU is working around the clock to grow the number of grants, by providing a support base at the secretariat.

Dr. Cyprian Misinde, Director of the Quality Assurance Directorate said that Makerere prioritizes research that responds to national development priorities, which in turn influences the institution’s rankings.

Dr. Cyprian Misinde, Director of the Quality Assurance Directorate (QAD), addressing participants at the GAMSU workshop.
Dr. Cyprian Misinde, Director of the Quality Assurance Directorate (QAD), addressing participants at the GAMSU workshop.

Dr. Misinde said he takes pride in the fact that Makerere already has a name around the world, but for it to keep the brand, it has to improve in areas of teaching, research, citations, industry relations, income generation, and international outlook. He also added that the university should think about teaching research grant proposal writing to undergraduate students, because they too have the potential, as was the case in another public institution in the country, where an undergraduate student won a grant of close to a billion Ugandan shillings.

Professor Edward Bbaale, Director of the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT), called on researchers to form research groups at the departmental level, which will keep the university focused on its goal of becoming research-led. He equally urged all colleges to ensure that they have vibrant research offices, as a means of catalyzing the process of winning more grants.

Prof. Edward Bbaale, Director of the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT), addresses participants at the GAMSU workshop.
Prof. Edward Bbaale, Director of the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT), addresses participants at the GAMSU workshop.

Laban Lwasa, the Senior Administrative Assistant at GAMSU introduced participants to the funder platforms accessible to Makerere University faculty and staff. He identified; Proposal central, Welcome Trust, grants.gov, European Tender Platform, Je-s potential, and Grant Forward as some of the platforms currently available.

Laban Lwasa, the Senior Administrative Assistant at GAMSU, introducing funder platforms accessible to Makerere University staff.
Laban Lwasa, the Senior Administrative Assistant at GAMSU, introducing funder platforms accessible to Makerere University staff.

Lwasa also urged researchers to declare grants won, which he said would enhance the management and support process for both the current or upcoming grants. He added that declaration of opportunities, whether at the proposal or implementation stage, empowers GAMSU provide them with the appropriate support.

Yunusu Musisi, from the Directorate of ICT Support (DICTS), assured researchers of the safety of their submitted data, in form of proposals, budgets, MoUs and more, because the system on which content is uploaded is very secure. Mr. Denis Wamala, also from DICTS, added that the systems are constantly updated to ensure that they are easy to use and always accessible. Participants applauded the GAMSU Secretariat for their commitment to researchers whenever called upon, which spirit they said should continue, if Makerere is to quickly advance towards becoming a research-led institution.

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