My Academic Journey   

My name is Irene Bayiyana and I am one of the RUFORUM Alumni. I am an agricultural economist, with a master’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics and a PhD in Economics. Currently, I am working as a Research Officer/Agricultural Economist based at the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO)/ National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) – Namulonge. When I attained a bachelor’s degree, I worked as an assistant research fellow under Prof. Johnny Mugisha in the Department of agribusiness and natural resource economics at Makerere University. Through Prof. Johnny Mugisha, I got to know about the RUFORUM Grant on “Assessment of spatio-temporal bovine migratory routes and Transboundary animal disease infestation in Uganda”. Since I had the interest to advance my career, I applied for the scholarship

After my admission for the master’s degree, I wondered! what next? The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) had only offered a partial scholarship catering for only my tuition and part of research funds. RUFORUM scholarship covered my stipend, research balance and funds to attend the 2012 RUFORUM Biennial conference thus enabling me to complete my master’s degree.

I was able to realize my dream of becoming a good scientist in 2012 at the RUFORUM Biennial Conference. Through the facilitation to attend several conferences, RUFORUM gave me a chance to interact with a broad spectrum of scientists from whom I learnt and received positive criticism and feedback on what I was doing. Moreover, the encouragement and support from different scientists that I interacted with also spurred me on as an upcoming scientist.

However, I encountered some challenges in my journey. The major challenge was when my Principal Investigator did not receive money after I completed year one. This was because the terms and conditions of the grant were not met. This affected my research progress and the completion time since the available resources were inadequate to support the data collection process and the procurement a laptop that would be used to analyze the data and write the final report.

RUFORUM enabled me to complete my research on time and I was able to graduate in January 2014. Furthermore, RUFORUM facilitated me to attend the Biennial conference which enabled me to network with experienced scientists who inspired me to go for further studies.

Having completed my masters’ degree, I continued to work as an assistant research fellow at Makerere University. Through Prof. Johnny Mugisha, I found out about the ILRI-DAAD Graduate fellowships. With his guidance, I developed a proposal which I submitted to ILRI. I was among those who were granted a Graduate fellowship to pursue PhD, which I completed between October 2014 and November 2019. In May 2019, after successfully defending my PhD, I started working with NARO as a research officer/ agricultural economist where I conduct applied research in socio-economics at farm, household and market levels including characterization and impact assessment in agricultural commodity value chains. I am also actively involved in supervising and mentoring University students.

My desire is to continue building my skills in research partnerships, grant proposal writing, project management and sustainability, networking for researchers and mentoring others. I am grateful to RUFORUM for the generous support.

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