UIRI celebrates 20 years of service

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) celebrated 20 years since its establishment by the 2002 Act of Parliament. As a government parastatal, the institute has over the years transitioned into a competence and capacity-building center that champions innovations and translates applied research results into practical applications. 

The 20th Anniversary celebrations that run under the Theme: ‘From Humble Beginnings to a Center of Excellence were graced by H.E. Jessica Rose Epel Alupo, Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, who represented, the President of Uganda H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. President Museveni spearheaded UIRI’s refurbishing of UIRI’s value addition and business incubation center in Nakawa and later officially commissioned the newly constructed state-of-the-art Machining, Manufacturing, and Industrial Skills Development Centre (MMISDC). Established through a USD 30 million grant from the People’s Republic of China, the MMISDC boasts of modern infrastructure premised to serve the dual function of churning out technology-based products while at the same time developing industry-relevant technical skills.

President Museveni during the official commissioning of UIRI’s Machining, Manufacturing and Industrial Skills Development Centre (MMISDC) in 2020.

President Museveni during the official commissioning of UIRI’s Machining, Manufacturing, and Industrial Skills Development Centre (MMISDC) in 2020 


Her excellence Jessica Alupo led the other guests on a guided tour of UIRI’S exhibited products, services, and innovations that are fully innovated and manufactured using Uganda’s natural raw materials as an illustration of the significance of value addition and innovative product development which has contributed significantly towards Uganda’s industrial growth and import substitution strategy. The chief guest encouraged Ugandan manufacturers to embrace Uganda’s locally developed technology and products.







Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, Her Excellency Jesca Alupo 

 Notably, the Vice President also applauded Prof. Charles Kwesiga’s resilience traced back to the days when he was Chairman of the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) management team, a trait that she has emulated in her line of duty. She added that he is also an ardent team leader who recognizes the efforts of his team which was evident in the celebrated 20 years of service.

From Left to Right: UIRI’s Executive Director, Prof. Charles Kwesiga, Vice President of Uganda, H. E.  Jesca Alupo and Deputy Executive Director UIRI, Dr Dick Kamugasha

The Vice President delivered President Yoweri Museveni’s speech in which he congratulated the Uganda Industrial Research Institute Staff and Management for 20 years of service. In a special way, the President expressed gratitude towards Prof. Charles Kwesiga’s contribution to the STI Sector over the years that has materialized into UIRI’s two campuses (Nakawa and Namanve). He added that the two campuses are relevant in adding value to Uganda’s rich natural produce and promoting manufacturing for the socio-economic transformation of Uganda and the region through enhanced technology use. 

The President also highlighted the genesis of UIRI when he approached the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for support in the refurbishment of the Research center, with phase one of the project focusing on Food Science and Technology while Phase two was to address metallurgy and establishment of a Technology Development Centre where spare parts and machinery for the industry would be manufactured. He commended Prof. Kwesiga for turning a dormant Institute in Nakawa into a productive learning and incubation hub that was awarded the Centre of Excellence plaque by his colleague the Former President of the Republic of Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013. 

Former President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta awarding UIRI’s Centre of Excellence plaque to Prof. Charles Kwesiga - Executive Director UIRI 

President Museveni further acknowledged the global recognition Uganda attained when Prof. Charles Kwesiga ascended to the helm of the World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organisations (WAITRO) for 2 years as the First African President; thus putting Uganda on the map of global players in Research and Development.

Also in attendance was Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation-Office of the President (STI-OP) added her voice to that of the Guest of Honour in appreciating Prof. Charles Kwesiga and his team for empowering thousands of Ugandan innovators, scientists, and entrepreneurs to develop products and start-up successful businesses. Dr. Musenero extended her gratitude towards the President for his steadfast vision and stewardship in promoting Science, Technology, and Innovation in Uganda. She highlighted the stages that STI had undertaken over the years beginning with the establishment of science-oriented institutions of higher learning where UIRI as a research institution, had played a vital role in facilitating the translation of research outputs into commercial products.




Hon. Monica Musenero, Minister STI-OP

The Minister pointed out that STI is now establishing a system where UIRI is implementing four core functions namely; Undertaking applied research in support of industrial development, carrying out STI incubation, providing technical support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) commercialization efforts and providing high-level specialized skills training in STI. She further recognized UIRI as an enabler that stands as a bridge between the larger science and innovation ecosystem and industry. Additionally, she implored the Vice President and leadership of Uganda to fully operationalize UIRI facilities and revamp their infrastructure for better positioning to serve Ugandans and contribute to the country’s socioeconomic development.

While addressing the invited guests, the Deputy Executive Director, UIRI Dr. Dick Kamugasha in his presentation titled “Innovation essence, drivers, success factors and opportunities,” highlighted available opportunities when the country embraces STI and emphasizes Intellectual Property (IP) rights to protect innovations and be able to pay scientists their worth alongside leveraging on partnerships with the private sector to convert research innovations into successful businesses/enterprises. He encouraged innovators and scientists to think of the future of STIs and innovate to remain relevant and solve problems being faced by citizens in the communities in a timely manner.






Prof. Charles Kwesiga, Executive Director - UIRI expressed his delight in the substantial attendance and special representation of H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, former Members of the UIRI Board of Directors, Cabinet and State Ministers, Members of Parliament, CEOs from other Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), Academic Institutions and the public who he recognized as significant stakeholders in UIRI’s progressive journey towards achieving the center of excellence status. Prof Kwesiga further applauded the support of his Management and the entire staff of UIRI that have enabled the Institute to win international awards and outstanding recognition for innovations that solve problems in communities practically using our own natural resources.






Special gifts designed and produced by the UIRI Ceramics, Carpentry and Joinery, Bamboo, and Textiles departments in commemoration of the 20-year journey were shared with the guests. The event was crowned with a Staff Party to celebrate the journey of humble beginnings that has led UIRI to become a Centre of Excellence. 

Management and Staff of UIRI wish to extend our sincere gratitude towards the President of the Republic of Uganda, the NRM Government, and all our stakeholders who have walked this edifying journey of 20 years, from humble beginnings to a Centre of Excellence in Research and Development for the East African Community.