The Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology was started purposely to enhance the development of science and research in the country. The initiative seeks to advance scientific research through better funding and organisation.
The initiative works through various bodies including the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST), Makerere University Institute of Science and Technology/Food Science, and the various research stations across the country.
The initiative is recording success all over the country. For example, last year, a Ugandan scientist trying to use the soapberry plant to fight mosquitoes received US$400,000 from Presidential Initiative Fund.
Miph Musoke, formerly at the Uganda Virus Research Institute and now a researcher at the privately-run Nkumba University, uses the soapberry plant, Phytolacca dodecandra, to kill the mosquito larvae.
Musoke crushes the plant, locally known as Luwoko which grows wild in the country, and spreads it wherever the mosquitoes breed to reduce the number of larvae.
The first phase of his work focused on training local communities, especially farmers, on the sustainable use of the plant. The second phase, which was supported by the award, will enable him to move towards product development. A third phase will involve commercialisation of the product, with help from the government or the private sector.
Under the initiative too, the Science and Technology Departments at Makerere University are benefiting too. The President has also issued a directive for the Government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Education and Sports, and the Ministry of Finance, to financially support the Innovations at the Faculty of Technology to a tune of UGX 25 Billion spread over a five year period with UGX 5 Billion committed in the Financial Year Starting July 2010.
The Presidential Innovations Fund for the Faculty of Technology was then adopted by the Government of Uganda as part of its strategy to build the country’s scientific and technological capacity to facilitate its development efforts on a sustainable basis. It is a UGX 25 billion five-year project financed by the Government of and implemented by Faculty of Technology through ten projects.
There are 10 projects in the faculty of Technology under the Presidential Innovations program. These include;
In late 2001, Makerere University among others successfully carried out their biggest project so far, when the launched a home built ca r- the Kira EV. The car was officially launched by President Yoweri Museveni, who further pledged more support to the scientists through the Science and Technology Innovations Initiative. The University has gone on to carry out more research, cutting across the various sectors of the country, including agriculture, health, ICT, etc.