UCU Empowers Researchers with Grants and Periodic Trainings


By Irene Best Nyapendi
In a strategic move to strengthen its research capabilities, Uganda Christian University (UCU) is taking its support for researchers to the next level with comprehensive grants, grant writing, and training sessions.
This initiative, under the direction of Dr. Angella Napakol, Head of Department Grants and Partnerships, demonstrates UCU’s dedication to fostering innovation and community impact beyond its focus on teaching.

Recognising the need to address low research engagement among its staff, UCU initiated research to uncover the underlying challenges. Feedback revealed critical gaps in funding availability, institutional support, and capacity-building opportunities.
In response, UCU instituted the Directorate of Research, Partnerships, and Innovation (DRPI), along with allocating funds to facilitate UCU researchers annually.

Now in its third round, the research funding initiative has been coupled with training sessions to equip staff with skills in grant writing and intellectual property management. The training has been carried out at UCU’s Arua campus, Mbale University College, and most recently at UCU Bishop Barham University College (BBUC).

“We realised that funding alone wasn’t sufficient to drive impactful research,” Napakol said. “Capacity building is equally essential.”

UCU Research Funding Opportunities

The initiative targets staff members at various career stages, offering tailored support ranging from associate professors to Ph.D. and master’s degree holders. Associate professors and professors have the potential to secure a funding allocation of up to 150 million shillings. Likewise, PhD holders stand to gain up to 50 million shillings, and Masters holders can access funding of up to 15 million shillings, based on the reviewer’s assessment.
The deadline for applications to the UCU Research Funds is fast approaching this Thursday, February 29, 2024. The funding, for instance, serves as a training ground for Master’s students through engagement in grant writing and management.
Napakol explained the crucial need for funding to support Master’s holders in grant management, research methodologies, and publication strategies.
“We realised that our staff needs financial support,” Napakol said. “The ultimate objective is to empower them to confidently pursue external grants.”
During the training at BBUC, Napakol led engaging discussions on grant writing, emphasising the importance of visibility, publications, and professional networking.

Dr. Angella Napakol guiding participants through grant writing at BBUC.

Participants were guided through the application process for grants, strategies for identifying funding opportunities, with a keen focus on enhancing their research profiles.

By encouraging staff participation in research and facilitating publication opportunities, UCU aims to elevate individual profiles while strengthening the university’s research portfolio.
Napakol further noted that the more staff write and publish, the better their profile becomes. This way, when they apply for an external grant, their profile looks attractive and credible, and they stand a higher chance of winning.

“As each individual in the university grows, so does the university because our profiles make up
the university profile,” Napakol said.
The three-day training attracted over 60 lecturers from BBUC. Moving forward, UCU remains dedicated to nurturing a research ecosystem that empowers its staff to make meaningful contributions to knowledge creation and societal advancement.
For more information, visit: https://grants.ucu.ac.ug/