Over 60 Mak PhD Fellows attend PhD Convention
Makerere University Doctoral Students Forum under the patronage of the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training has today, 12th April 2018 held its annual convention under the theme “Relevance of Research towards National Development”. The Vice-Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe represented by Prof Buyinza Mukadasi, Director of the Directorate of Research & Graduate Training officiated at the opening of the convention.
The annual convention brings together the PhD fellows of this great University to interact, share the research areas, critique concepts, and proposals or research don. The Convention also includes a research forum where doctoral students discuss their research concepts, proposals, pilot research findings and dissertation research manuscripts and papers with each other and renowned researchers. This is done through oral and poster presentations followed by a discussion aimed at appreciating the role of research in national development.
The Vice-Chancellor used the event to renew to the graduate students the University’s commitment to provide platforms through which PhD fellows at Makerere will continue to academically and socially network, share ideas, engage in collaborative research and access relevant information. He encouraged Doctoral students to support one another to overcome doctoral related stress, self inadequacies and lowliness.
As a premier University, Makerere will continue to ssustain the production of a critical mass of well-trained African academics at PhD level and in this regard, the Vice-Chancellor applauded the DRGT for recognizing the fact that the journey of PhD studies is quite long, lonely and challenging.
Cognisant of the challenges faced by the PhD student, in 2010 the University initiated the PhD Forum at Makerere University (PF@Mak), a Fellowship that brings together PhD students. Through the Forum, the University is able to provide a favourable environment for doctoral mentorship, training and research through peer networking and academic collaborations. The overarching goal of which is to achieve high quality research outputs leading to timely completion of doctoral studies. “It is our cardinal responsibility to prepare young and promising researchers in completing their PhD programme” the Vice-Chancellor noted.
Prof John Munene, an expert the organizational theory of change and Professor of Psychology at MUBS gave the key note address. In his remarks, re-affirmed the need to uphold research ethics and integrity based on theory of change. He cited examples of theory impacting on national and global development. He applauded Makerere’s new perspective to integrative learning in form of organizing mentorship Colloquium and conventions. He is optimistic that Makerere would continue to invest in platforms that trigger peer networking, academic review and knowledge sharing.
Prof Munene proposed a paradigm shifts from the conventional social development model to one that respects and embraces theory for solving practical problems. He calls it complex Science thinking based on principles of none-linear modeling. He contends that perhaps one of the most important benefits from Convention presentations is the student’s ability to advocate for strength-based approaches versus deficitor gap approaches. According to Prof Munene, this allows students/researchers in other disciplines, policy-makers, and the public to become aware of the innovative research in one’s particular discipline. As scholars, “it is important that we make our research relevant with impact on social change increase the visibility of our research and provide interested individuals with more information”.
The Annual Convention 2018 has featured over 100 Oral and poster presentations under five thematic areas:
(1) Health and Health Systems
(2) Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resource Management
(3) Governance, Economic and Social Change
(4) Science and Technological Advancement
(5) Education, Poverty and Behavioral Change
Despite the promising achievement, the PhD students raised a challenges related to inadequate Research Infrastructure and equipment; physical learning space, lack of harmonized supervision guidelines; inadequate support to student research groups; and inadequate budget support for basic sciences
Once again, on behalf of the University, the DRGT welcomes you to Annual Doctoral convention 2018 and wish you fruitful deliberations. As “We Build for the Future”.