UIRI traces its roots to the East African Federation of the 1970, as a precursor of the then East African Research Services Organization (EARSO) which was headquartered in Nairobi and served as a regional R&D institution for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Upon collapse of the East African Federation, the EARSO disbanded in 1977, and later transformed into the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI). Tanzania followed with establishment of the Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization (TIRDO). It was not until 2002 that Uganda fully established and legally sanctioned Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI).
The establishment of UIRI was at the behest of His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni’s negotiations with the Chinese government which offered the grant to build and equip the institute.
UIRI traces its roots to the East African Federation of the 1970, as a precursor of the then East African Research Services Organization (EARSO) which was headquartered in Nairobi and served as a regional R&D institution for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Real metamorphosis, however, did not start until March 2006, when the institute realized competent leadership and underwent fundamental restructuring which was followed by a step change in level of funding. In a short span of time, UIRI has truly become a world-class R&D institution that has become a source of support for the country’s nascent industry.
In general UIRI which started from a very modest beginning has now become a Regional Center of Excellence in Research and Development (R&D) as recognized by the East African Community (EAC). Even at a global stage UIRI continues to be respected by its peers especially the global innovation family of WAITRO (World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organisations). Our involvement in WAITRO has led to a leadership role where our Executive Director Prof. Charles Kwesiga is the 1st ever African President of the organization. WAITRO has provided us with opportunities to collaborate with agencies such as Denmark Technological Institute (DTI), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) of Thailand, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) South Africa etc.
THE SECRET TO UIRI’S SUCCESS IS ROUTED IN THE FOLLOWING ATTRIBUTES:
- Clarity of mission so that we are able to discern the needs and requisite enablers to help accomplish this mission -qualified staff, appropriate technology and funds for the Institute.
- Understanding the societal expectation and needs that our mission would help address. Since our mandate is to be a lead agency in industrialization of Uganda, we had to come to terms with the fact that for industry to take root and flourish we must focus on the critical inputs required: appropriate technology (for industry), human capital, and affordable financing – all within the context of entrepreneurship. We had to quickly develop the competences to handle the first two. We have therefore developed the capacity to acquire and/or fabricate technologies, as well as developing proven mechanisms for imparting skills needed in industry
- Cultivating champions by seeking collaboration with the relevant individuals and institutions that add value to our efforts. One of our most cherished champions is the President of Uganda, H.E Yoweri K. Museveni.
- Seeking alliances, thus broadening our horizons, by entering memoranda of understating with the likes of NSTDA (National Science and Technology Development Agency) of Thailand; CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) of South Africa; Shriram Industrial Research Institute of India; and SIRIM Berhad of Malaysia.
- Understanding our own environment so that we can forge harmonized links with the political class, the technocracy and the private sector, as we strive to meet our mandate and to deliver services, especially to the entrepreneurs.