NEMRA Doctoral Academy ignites spark for research excellence


The NEMRA Doctoral Academy envisions expanding its network across East Africa, Africa, and other regions (PHOTO/Courtesy)

By Arinaitwe Rugyendo

KAMPALA, UGANDA – The Network for Education and Multidisciplinary Research Africa (NEMRA) Doctoral Academy, has concluded a successful three-day training on advanced research methods in Uganda, sparing the need for research excellence in Africa.

Conducted in a collaborative initiative between Birmingham City University and Mutesa I Royal University, the three-day academy was facilitated by renowned Birmingham City University Professor Peter Samuels.

The academy, held from May 15th to May 17th, 2023, saw the participation of 82 enthusiastic researchers, both in-person and online via Zoom.

Reflecting on the event, key figures from NEMRA, including Dr. Olive Kyogabiirwe, the NEMRA Executive Director, and Dr. Gad Ruzaaza Ndaruhutse from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, shared their insights and outlined the significant impact of the academy.

The NEMRA Vision and Mission:

NEMRA, short for the Network of Academic Researchers, aims to foster a culture of evidence-based policy and practice in Uganda and beyond. By demystifying the research process, NEMRA seeks to generate insights across disciplines, share ideas, and develop networks to address societal challenges.

On Day One; The academy commenced with an inspiring opening ceremony, graced by the representative of the Vice-Chancellor of Mutesa I Royal University, D. Aisha Jabwe, the NEMRA Chairperson Prof Neema, and the NEMRA Executive Director. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, participants and organizers embraced a renewed commitment to evidence-based practice, collaborative research, networking, and newsfication.

The renowned scholar, Dr. Peter Samuels, was honored as the visiting professor of the NEMRA Doctoral Academy, bringing his vast academic experience and mentorship to enhance research collaborations.

The second day of the academy delved into the practical aspects of data analysis. Participants received training on utilizing NVivo Qualitative Analysis Software for qualitative and mixed methods data analysis.

“The session empowered researchers to ask complex questions, uncover themes, and draw meaningful conclusions from their data,” says Dr. Kyayesiimira.

The NVivo’s advanced data management and visualization tools proved invaluable in generating insightful findings backed by rigorous evidence.

On the final day, participants engaged in a recap of the previous sessions, acknowledging the academy’s profound impact on their research interests and commitments. They received training on utilizing Quantitative data collection analysis tools such as Excel and Special Package for Social Scientists (SPSS).

The facilitator led a practical quantitative research laboratory, introducing trending social research software. The day concluded with valuable tips for thesis and viva preparation, followed by a networking session and celebratory early dinner.

Looking Ahead: Expanding the NEMRA Network

With a renewed sense of enthusiasm, the NEMRA Doctoral Academy plans to expand its network across East Africa, Africa, and beyond. The Mentorship and Training theme is actively pairing mentors and mentees, with a grand orientation event scheduled for July 2023. Additionally, NEMRA aims to secure grants to support its network activities, enabling researchers to thrive in their respective fields.

The NEMRA Doctoral Academy has undoubtedly ignited a spark for research excellence, paving the way for a future generation of knowledgeable and skilled researchers in Uganda and beyond. With its commitment to evidence-based practices and collaborative networks, NEMRA is poised to make a significant impact in advancing research and finding solutions to pressing societal issues.

The highlight of the academy was the presence of Dr. Peter Samuels, a renowned scholar and visiting professor, who played a pivotal role in imparting his vast academic experience and mentorship to the attendees. His expertise and guidance contributed to fostering North-South and South-South research collaborations, strengthening the network’s reach and impact.

About NEMRA:

NEMRA was established with a clear vision and mission to foster a culture of intellectually generated evidence-based policy and practice in Uganda and beyond. The organization aims to demystify the research process, develop insights across various disciplines, and facilitate sharing of ideas and networks to address societal problems through rigorous research.

The NEMRA Doctoral Academy served as a pivotal event, bringing together aspiring researchers, experienced scholars, and industry professionals. It provided a platform to delve into advanced research methods and equip participants with the necessary tools and knowledge to excel academically.

The NEMRA Doctoral Academy envisions expanding its network across East Africa, Africa, and other regions. By pairing mentors and mentees, the Mentorship and Training theme aims to foster a supportive environment where researchers can thrive. The acquisition of grants will be crucial in sustaining the network’s activities and providing researchers with the necessary resources to excel in their respective fields.

The training ended with a sumptuous dinner at Piato Restaurant on Lumumba Avenue where Various speeches were given including testimonies from recent Ph.D. Graduates from the academy.

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