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In early 2021, AWB’s Strengthening Engineering Research program was launched as an online project at Uganda’s Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) in close collaboration with its Faculty of Engineering.

Twenty-seven faculty members from MUST and two engineering faculty from the Uganda Christian University (UCU) participated in the workshops.

Between February and the end of April 2021, 18 faculty members from Canada, Australia, Nigeria, the US and Uganda collaborated as volunteer instructors and/or research advisors.

The workshops covered a rich set of themes ranging from identifying a research topic to research implementation, dissemination, funding and proposal development. Trainees also benefited from tailored sessions on effective teaching (online and in-class), innovation and entrepreneurship, university-industry relations and career development.

In addition to online instruction, trainees worked in teams to develop research grant proposals. These will be vetted and most promising projects funded modestly by AWB for implementation over the subsequent year.

From project inception to proposal development and implementation, the groups work with highly experienced volunteer faculty who advise them on research strategy on an ongoing basis.

The tremendous enthusiasm for this program has translated to 12 group research proposals that will compete for funding.

Engineering research and practice is key to national and regional innovation capacity. Our goal is to enrich this capacity in resource-constrained settings through strengthened engineering education and research. We do so by offering engineering faculty in partner universities an integrated and immersive program – customized to meet local needs – that maximizes learning by direct engagement in mentored research activities over an extended period and range of activities.

As with other AWB projects, the Strengthening Engineering Research program is demand-driven and will be offered at universities in low and middle-income countries that aim to enhance their research and teaching skills through a partnership with AWB. For the foreseeable future, encouraged by our positive experience at MUST, we will be offering the program exclusively online.

Congratulations to the 29 colleagues at MUST and UCU who completed the inaugural Strengthening Engineering Research program and received their completion certificate on April 29, 2021. We are grateful to staff and leadership at MUST for being such great partners in this endeavour!


Screen grab from Zoom

Photos are screenshots of the online graduation session with MUST engineering faculty, AWB volunteer faculty, and guests

Date: 2021

Program co-leads:
Thomas E. Marlin, PhD, McMaster University, AWB volunteer
Marina Freire-Gormaly, PhD, York University, AWB volunteer

Program core team volunteers:
David Wilkinson, PhD, McMaster University
Rahim Rezaie, PhD
Peter Keller, PhD, Simon Fraser University
Tobi Edun, MEng, University of Toronto

MUST collaborating team:
Theodora Twongyirwe, PhD, Dean of Engineering
William Wasswa, PhD, Program Lead
Sandrah Ayebaza, Administrative Assistant

Thank you to Mastercard Foundation for providing project funding and to our volunteers for the generous donation of their time and expertise.