To effectively promote the pursuit of knowledge and innovation in research, the University of Malawi (UNIMA) established the office of the Dean of Research in 2017 based on the Research, Consultancy, Publications Policy. The office of the Dean of Research is comprised of two units. The Research Support Office and the University of Malawi Research Ethics Committee (UNIMAREC). Over the past five years, the Office of the Dean of Research has worked tirelessly to identify ways in which the University can resuscitate initiatives aimed at supporting the conduct of trailblazing academic research and innovations that strategically position UNIMA to respond to the research and innovation needs of our country and the wider society in line with the aspiration of Malawi 2063.
To achieve this, efforts have been aligned with the vision to ensure that UNIMA becomes a beacon of excellence in research through increased access to research grants, ethical conduct and management research activities, increased publications and dissemination of research findings.
The office of Dean of Research has institutionalised training aimed at building the capacity of upcoming and other researchers within UNIMA. These have been kickstarted by collaborations with SARIMA through the BRECcIA Project, University of Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria and the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST). This capacity-building has improved the number of academics actively seeking research grants through the development of research proposals.
Academic departments have been encouraged to use our unique advantage of having highly trained professionals who can use research to develop innovative ways of improving the quality of life in line with national and international development aspirations and needs. In this vein, the University of Malawi has been a leader in developing innovations aimed at responding to the Covid-19 pandemic through multidisciplinary efforts and innovations.
The office of the Dean of research has boosted the ability of UNIMA to generate resources for supporting research, especially among upcoming researchers. To this end, the University of Malawi Research Fund has been established. This fund is mainly from own generated funds mainly through capacity Development fees generated by UNIMAREC and funds from Research grants overheads and other endowments. The funds have supported the disbursement of research grants to upcoming researchers as well as provided financial support for researchers to finalise promising grant proposals.
Finally, the office of Dean of Research have supported and spearheaded the development of research partnerships with other local and international research institutions. With the aim of internationalisation and impactful research collaborations, several projects are being implemented by different departments and research centres. These also include collaborations with UN Agencies such as UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA. It is therefore exciting to look back and count our blessings and the fruits of our efforts as we work to ensure that the University of Malawi truly blossoms into an institution of higher learning characterised by research excellence and impactful innovations.
UNIMAREC is situated in the office of the Dean of Research and composed of Secretariat and REC Members: