CoBAMS, University of Chicago discuss collaboration

L-R: Dr. Thomas Mwebaze, Chair of the Department of Policy and Development Economics, Dr. Vesall Nourani, Senior Research Associate and Director of the Development Innovation Lab, Dr. Benjamin Krause, Director of the Development Innovation Lab and Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali, Principal, College of Business and Management Sciences

Researchers from the University of Chicago have visited the College of Business and Management Sciences to discuss areas of collaboration. 

The team comprising Dr. Benjamin Krause, the Director of the Development Innovation Lab and Dr. Vesall Nourani, a Senior Research Associate and Director met with the Principal of CoBAMS, Prof. Eria Hisali on March 11, 2022. 

Prof. Hisali shared with the visitors the College’s interest in capacity building through staff exchanges, join research and seminars. He invited the professors to give key note presentations and guest lecturers, saying the college has the capacity to hold such meetings without the need for the Professors or speakers travelling to Uganda. This is made possible through the recently acquired state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment funded by the World Bank.

He briefed the guests on the plans already in motion in the area of infrastructure expansion, stating that, among other initiatives, a proposal was written to the Government of Uganda, which has already been approved by Makerere University and the Ministry of Education and Sports. The proposal, is only awaiting approval from the Ministry of Finance. This $8million project will facilitate the remodel of the old buildings in the College to the needs of the 21st Century and finance the construction of new modern facilities in line with new developments in University education needs.

Prof. Hisali also informed the professors about the college’s endowment fund, stating that the fund will likely be launched by June 2022. According to Prof. Hisali, the endowment fund will pave the way for contributions from the public and well-wishers to be made to the College. He also stated that the College is putting in place measures to apply for international accreditation of courses, beginning with the process of strengthening quality assurance.

Dr. Krause in his remarks said the University of Chicago is very proud to have an opportunity to collaborate with CoBAMS, Makerere University because of shared objectives and the investment the College has made in capacity building and the desire for continuous improvement. “This is how the innovation labs started at the University of Chicago. The University wanted to do more in the fields of International development and development economics,” Dr. Krause said. 

The role of the Development Economics Centre is to coordinate all the economic research in low income countries in the world and to provide a meeting place and community for those that are engaged in that kind of work. 

L-R: Dr. Vesall Nourani and Dr. Benjamin Krause

According to Dr. Krause, the mission of the innovation lab is to use the tools of economics to develop innovations with the potential to impact individuals in low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Krause expressed his interest to learn more about the policy labs that are being developed at the College. He said “In a lot of ways, I think we share a vision in that direction. Most of the time, my job is meeting with government officials and trying to encourage them to adopt something like this model. We would love to learn more about how the policy labs started and see how we can be able to accompany that process,” he said. 

Dr. Krause said the objective of their visit was to find partnerships with researchers and policy makers to identify priorities for policy in the countries where they work and lend support by identifying what exists in literature that can speak to those priorities and where possible make recommendations to the policy makers. The other objective stated was to identify opportunities for the next round of research, creating a virtual cycle of evidence formed policy as we engage in this process.

Dr. Vesall, who is serving as a visiting lecturer at CoBAMS expressed his interest in the policy labs. He also expressed his willingness to contribute to the labs should an avenue be available. 

Prof. Hisali said the office of the Principal would accelerate the process of signing the Memorandum of Understanding between Makerere University and University of Chicago in order to expedite the partnership between the two universities. He also extended a welcome to the founder of the labs, Prof. Michael Kramer, stating that the College would be honored to host him and gain from his expertise and experience.

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