The College Computing and IS hosted Dr. Robin Marsh (Senior Researcher, UC Berkeley) and Mr. Phillip Denny (Big Ideas Manager, UC Berkeley) and on the 1st Feb and 13th Feb 2018 respectively in the new Makerere Innovations Incubation Centre.

The purpose of their visit was to facilitate technical sessions with participating teams from Makerere University in the Big Ideas competition. The Big Ideas competition is an annual contest aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have “big ideas.” Since its founding in 2006, Big Ideas has inspired innovative and high-impact student-led projects aimed at solving problems that matter to this generation. By encouraging novel proposals and then supporting concrete next steps, Big Ideas is helping contest winners make an impact all over the world. It is coordinated by Ms. Deborah Naatujuna (Engagement Manager, Resilient Africa Network (RAN) in collaboration with the School of Public Health (Makerere University), the Development Impact Lab (DIL) at UC Berkeley and other partners.

During his visit Mr. Denny also got the opportunity to interact with the Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS) and during their meeting gave the principal a brief overview of the competition i.e. the history, funding, support, and mentoring it gives to the participating students and its progress over the years. He mentioned previous winners like Pedal Tap (http://www.pedaltapug.com/) which won $5000 and Mama Ope that won $2,500 in the Scaling-up category. He also emphasized that currently five teams from Makerere University had made it to the final contest stage and he was working with them on putting final touches to their projects/proposals before final submission.

The Principal on his part commended the work and support that the Big Ideas competition is providing especially addressing the developmental challenges in Uganda. He was particularly pleased with the success that Makerere University has enjoyed over the previous year in the competition. With research and knowledge sharing key components to his strategy and vision for the College, he pledged to give the competition all the support it needs by find avenues in which to expand the collaborations nationwide and assist in training/capacity building during the early stages of the competition.