February 23, 2023


Research writing

Boost Your Research Writing Skills with UCU’s Free Online Training for Postgraduate Students

By Jimmy Siyasa


Many post-graduate students at Uganda Christian University (UCU) face the challenge of writing a research paper in English, which is not their first language. To help these students, UCU’s Directorate of Postgraduate Studies has initiated a program called the Centre for Research and Academic Writing Services (CRAWs). CRAWs offers online instruction on the various parts of a dissertation and thesis, led by a team of subject matter experts from UCU’s 11 school and faculty areas. The program is designed to introduce students to critical research and writing skills required to complete a research degree, diploma, publishable articles, and other academic reports.

Student studying
Photo Courtesy of Keira Burton:

Learning outcomes and Assessment

Learning outcomes of the program include identifying features of theoretical paradigms, undertaking a literature review, applying approaches to writing first drafts, editing and proofreading, identifying and responding to publication opportunities, and applying time management strategies. Participants who attend at least 75% of the training and complete an assessment requirement receive a certificate. The program is available without charge to all enrolled UCU post-graduate students.

The CRAWs module was launched in May of 2021 and has already had two successful iterations. The first module had 200 students enrolled, with 50 receiving certificates. The biggest challenge expressed by students was how to do problem statements and how to engage methodology. The second module was held in September and October 2022, covering topics such as theory, methodology, questions, objectives, and literature review. The program hopes to incorporate virtual coaching in the future.

DPS overall objective

All members of the DPS staff have advanced degrees and expertise in social science, development studies, and business. The program aims not just to help students finish their degrees but also to sharpen their skills to be used elsewhere and yield quality papers worthy of being published and used by other researchers. The analytical skills learned through the program are valuable in multiple careers.

The program’s organizers are dedicated to serving the students and believe in the importance of research and its ability to change the world. The program’s success has already helped many post-graduate students at UCU overcome language barriers and achieve their academic goals.

Green energy

UCU Researchers Secure €53,000 for Green Energy Project

By Jimmy Siyasa

Uganda Christian University (UCU) has received a grant of €53,000 from the Innovation Fund for Development (IFD) to support a major green energy project. The project, which will be led by Professor William Kisaalita, a visiting professor at UCU, aims to tackle climate change by replacing natural charcoal with long-lasting, eco-friendly briquettes made from bamboo.

Purpose of project

The project will involve conducting a technical feasibility study in educational institutions’ kitchens and addressing knowledge gaps on the use of “green” bamboo charcoal and firewood. The researchers hope to build the value chain of bamboo-based energy sources in Uganda, a country where bamboo grows naturally in different regions.

Why Bamboo?

Bamboo has not been fully explored for high-value chains such as energy and fabrics, despite its potential to contribute significantly to soil and water conservation, biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and the green economy. The researchers believe that bamboo’s environmental sustainability, coupled with its potential to store more carbon than many other tree species, make it an ideal raw material for eco-friendly briquettes.

The UCU Sustainable Development Center

The project will be conducted under the auspices of the UCU Sustainable Development Center (SDC), which was launched in 2022 to leverage current strengths at the intersection of water, energy, and food/feed. By replacing natural charcoal with bamboo-based briquettes, the researchers hope to reduce Uganda’s carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Expected outcomes

In conclusion, this green energy project is a significant step towards addressing the challenge of climate change in Uganda and globally. With the support of the IFD and the expertise of UCU researchers, it is hoped that the project will contribute to the development of a more sustainable energy industry in Uganda and beyond.


Revolutionize agriculture with UCU’s groundbreaking soil humidity robot- A new era in sustainable farming

By Jimmy Siyasa

Uganda Christian University (UCU) has always been at the forefront of technology and innovation. The latest development from the Department of Computing and Technology has students and faculty excited about the potential impact it will have on the environment and agriculture industry. A team of students from the department has developed a robot prototype that tests soil temperature and soil samples’ humidity with accuracy.

This innovation is a result of a long-term project that aimed to create a device that would address the increasingly urgent issue of climate change. The device is equipped with sensors that detect the amount of water in the soil and send the data to a central database, which can then be accessed by farmers in the region. This data can be used to determine the appropriate amount of water that crops need, thereby reducing the amount of water that is wasted in irrigation.

One of the robots developed by the UCU Department of Computing and Technology. Courtesy photo.

The lead developer of the robot, Felix Kennedy Akorimo, who is now a Teaching Assistant, explains how the device works in a video posted on the UCU YouTube channel. The robot moves on wheels, with a metal arm that extends into the ground to take measurements of the soil humidity. The device is powered by a rechargeable battery, making it easy to use in remote locations.

One of the most significant benefits of the soil humidity robot is its potential impact on the agricultural industry in Uganda. Farmers in the region struggle with water scarcity, and the high cost of irrigation systems often make it difficult for them to keep their crops hydrated. With the robot, farmers can make more informed decisions about the amount of water their crops require, reducing water wastage and maximizing their yields.

In conclusion, the soil humidity robot developed by UCU students is a significant breakthrough in technology that has the potential to address the challenges that farmers face in Uganda. As the device is continually improved for efficiency, it is anticipated that it will become an essential tool in the fight against climate change and in promoting sustainable agriculture. UCU remains committed to driving innovation in technology and nurturing the next generation of leaders in the field.