THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF RWANDA (NUR) is set to benefit from a 348 million Swedish Krona (approximately Rwf 34.8 billion; $55 million) agreement with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) to support research and human resources development in the next five years.
The partnership between the two institutions in the area of research has been ongoing for the last 10 years and it is entering its third phase, which is due to end in 2018, officials said.
SIDA has been the major external donor to NUR over the past decade.
A one week-meeting to discuss the grant and how to make the programme more successful opened on Monday in Huye District.
The workshop, due to end on Friday, brings together research team leaders from NUR and partner Swedish universities as well as SIDA representatives.
Speaking to The New Times, NUR acting Rector Professor Manasseh Mbonye said the cooperation with the Swedish Agency has allowed the oldest public university to bolster its contribution to national development through research.
Mbonye noted that in the next five years, emphasis will be put on areas with direct impact on development, economic growth and capacity building for the university staff.
“The research we do is tailored towards the direct needs of national development,” Prof. Mbonye said.
The university research strategy is aligned with the country’s Vision 2020 and the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction (EDPRS), Mbonye noted.
Research will continue to focus mainly on the areas of food security, energy, environment, climate change and disaster management, economy, development and good governance as well as health and human well-being, according to the official.
The grant will also help develop research infrastructure at the university, according to Mbonye.
The area of human resources development is as well expected to be bolstered with over 40 scholar expected to start PhD courses while dozens of others will undergo doctorate courses in the country, according to Raymond Ndikumana, the Coordinator of SIDA- NUR cooperation.
But, as plans to merge all local public universities into one big entity have gained momentum, officials said the SIDA grant will benefit the entire staff of the University of Rwanda as the institution will be named.
The University of Rwanda is set to become operational when the 2013/14 academic year starts next month.