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Teaming up with Academia to Accelerate Local Innovations

Pulse Lab Kampala
Jan 27, 2016

Pulse Lab Kampala is always looking for win-win collaborations, with government agencies, the private sector as well as the academic world. To enable several of the tools and projects underway at Pulse Lab Kampala, collaboration with universities has been key. We are very pleased to be working with both the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield in the UK, Stellenbosch University in South Africa, the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Nyeri, Kenya and the Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

Last year, Pulse Lab Kampala together with several of these universities hosted the first Workshop on Data Science in Africa in Kenya.

On a regular basis, Pulse Lab Kampala and Makerere University co-host weekly seminars together with the artificial intelligence research group. Once a month the seminars are hosted at the Lab, welcoming a minimum of fourty enthusiastic students as they present and share their research, ideas and brainstorm on cutting edge tools and technologies. This tight and loyal research group is the most active research group on the Makerere University campus and Pulse Lab Kampala is proud to be part of it.

Co-hosting these seminars is a way for the Lab to participate in regular discussions on data science in the region.

Knowing that data science is actually explored and utilised by the UN, government through innovation hubs such as Pulse Lab Kampala greatly inspires students to think about solutions to local development challenges.

In this context, for example, there have been seminars on how to carry out automatic microscopic disease diagnosis without needing expensive laboratory equipment. Students explained how they used regular microscopes with mobile phones mounted on the eyepiece to automatically count malaria parasites in a blood sample.

In another seminar, a student presented research in which she used a low-cost mobile phone with a camera to film cars in traffic and to eventually determine the speed of traffic flow. This offers a cheap alternative to expensive traffic monitoring equipment for police and city planning authorities.

Pulse Lab Kampala also invites students to give feedback on the tools the lab is working on, which are presented during the seminars. “It is great to see that Pulse Lab Kampala is able to build partnerships with a wide range of organisations and use their data. That has been one of the main challenges in the research I am working on. The work the Lab presented on response to disease outbreaks is very relevant as diseases like Malaria still affect many Ugandans”, says Rose Nakibuule, a PhD student at Makerere University.

Pulse Lab Kampala will continue this unique collaboration with Makerere University Kampala and host a three-day summer school on data science techniques, followed by a two-day workshop showcasing what has already been done in data science at the Lab and around the world.

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