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INTERVIEW: NEMRA’s Research Conference to Bridge Research and Industry – MD Dr. Kyayesiimira

First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, is scheduled to inaugurate the highly anticipated Network for Education and Multidisciplinary Research Africa (NEMRA) conference, which kicked off this morning at Makerere University. Scheduled from March 26th to 27th, 2024, at the plush Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility (CTF) 2, the conference marks the inaugural All African Multidisciplinary Research Conference organized by NEMRA. Under the overarching theme, “Develop Research for Policy Formulation and Community Development,” the conference is set to attract a diverse array of researchers, from seasoned experts to budding scholars, hailing from both local and international arenas. A few hours before the conference, our REASRCHFINDS TEAM caught up with NEMRA Managing Director, Dr. Juliet Kyayesiimira, and below are the excerpts:-

ResearchFinds News: First of all, briefly tell the readers who you are and what you do.

Dr. Kyayesiimira: My name is Dr. Juliet Kyayesimira, and I serve as a lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at Kyambogo University, Uganda. Additionally, I’m honored to volunteer as the Managing Director of the Network for Education and Multidisciplinary Research Africa (NEMRA), a collaborative network focused on strengthening and deepening multidisciplinary research for and about Africa.

ResearchFinds News: Briefly tell the readers what your roles and responsibilities are at NEMRA

Dr. Kyayesiimira: At NEMRA, my roles are multifaceted. I maintain robust relationships with stakeholders, supervise core operations, execute innovative ideas for sustainable objectives, set the tone for NEMRA’s interactions, oversee the Board’s directives, ensure organizational effectiveness, and manage personnel matters. Additionally, I serve as the secretary to the BOARD.

ResearchFinds News: The long-awaited Conference by NEMRA kicks off this morning. Why you have organized it at this time of the year?

Dr. Kyayesiimira: This conference marks a significant milestone for NEMRA. Over the past five years, NEMRA has facilitated collaboration, networking, and knowledge exchange among researchers, postgraduate students, and practitioners. With the steady increase in research capacity, it’s an opportune moment for participants to present their latest findings and innovations. This is important for this year because the nation is beaming with hope and opportunity across various sectors. These sectors need policy shifts that are informed by research such as ours.

ResearchFinds News: We understand you have invited the First Lady to officiate the opening. Why did you specifically invite her and what are your expectations?

Dr. Kyayesiimira: This conference is educational and therefore, falls under her ministry. We believe her presence will signify the government’s commitment to fostering a research and innovation culture within the education sector. We expect her support in developing policies, allocating funding, and providing resources to researchers, thereby advancing the research landscape in Uganda.

ResearchFinds News: How will NEMRA foster this through this conference?

Dr. Kyayesiimira: Through this conference, NEMRA aims to catalyze collaboration, engagement, and knowledge exchange. We envision participants gaining valuable insights through keynote presentations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, ultimately contributing to the advancement of research and innovation in Africa. These presentations will also catch the eye of different stakeholders in the public and private sectors.

ResearchFinds News: Is this conference going to be attended by researchers and academicians? Who else and what are the expectations?

Dr. Kyayesiimira: Yes, the conference will attract a diverse audience, including researchers, academicians, practitioners, and policy implementers. We anticipate vibrant discussions, knowledge-sharing sessions, and the formation of partnerships that will drive impactful research outcomes and inform policy and practice across various sectors.

ResearchFinds News: We realize NEMRA has a Continental focus. What is the reach and footprint of this organization?

Dr. Kyayesiimira: NEMRA boasts a global network of researchers, with institutional members such as South East Technological University (SETU) from Ireland and Muteesa 1 Royal University, along with individual members spanning continents. Our reach extends beyond geographical boundaries, facilitating collaboration and knowledge exchange on a global scale.

ResearchFinds News: What does it take for one to be a member and what are the benefits?

Dr. Kyayesiimira: Membership in NEMRA involves an annual or life fee, offering a plethora of benefits. Individual annual membership is UGX 100,000/= or the equivalent in another currency. The life membership fee is UGX 2,000,000/= or the equivalent in another currency. The annual institutional membership fee is UGX 1,000,000/= or the equivalent in another currency for international institutions. Members enjoy decision-making participation, access to resources, involvement in research projects, mentorship opportunities, and partnerships, thereby enhancing their research endeavors and professional development.

ResearchFinds News: What are the Conference’s Potential Benefits to Participants?

Dr. Kyayesiimira: The conference promises a dynamic and interactive experience for attendees. Participants can look forward to engaging sessions, networking opportunities, poster presentations, expert panels, keynote speeches, exhibitions, and technology showcases. By fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing, the conference aims to inspire innovation and drive impactful research outcomes.

ResearchFinds News: What are the five key outputs you envisage out of this conference and how will these impact policy and practice?

Dr. Kyayesiimira: The conference is poised to yield several key outputs with far-reaching implications. These include enhanced research collaborations, innovative solutions, policy recommendations, capacity-building opportunities, and strengthened community-building and knowledge sharing. By influencing policy and practice, these outputs will contribute to positive societal change and drive sustainable development across various sectors in Africa.

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