Foreword by the Director General


Greetings and welcome to the Uganda National Health Research Organisation (UNHRO) website!

UNHRO was established by Act of Parliament (2009) and charged with stewardship and oversight for health research in the country. UNHRO is composed of the Board, Secretariat and constituent research institutes namely; Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute (NCRI), Tropical Diseases Research Institute (TDRI), Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) and the Uganda Malaria Research Centre (UMRC).

The Secretariat is charged with preparing of health research plan; coordinating, facilitating and monitoring the implementation of health research programmes; establishing and coordinating research collaborations, enforcing ethical standards; providing clearance for publications and other forms of dissemination of research findings; making arrangements for periodic evaluation of constituent research institutes.
The Health Policy Review Commission appointed by the Ministry of Health recommended the establishment of a statutory body to coordinate health research in the country. A Task Force to do further consultations with senior health researchers and relevant sectors was appointed. This Task Force in 1992 recommended an establishment of a small Secretariat in the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) to initiate the process of coordination.

In 1995, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with WHO convened a workshop which recommended the establishment of the Uganda National Health Research Organisation (UNHRO) as a semi autonomous organ for coordination, promotion and strengthening health research in the whole country.

An Interim UNHRO Secretariat was established in Entebbe. It started its activities in 1997. This interim Secretariat took up the functions of the small secretariat, which had been set up in the UNCST to coordinate health research. The interim UNHRO Secretariat was to assist the MOH in the process of establishing UNHRO by Act of parliament and provide coordination mechanism for Health Research.

Together with the Ministry of Health, UNHRO started working on a bill to formalize its existence and to regulate health research in the country. The Bill was presented to parliament in 2004 for its first reading but was overtaken by events leading to the transition from the Movement system of governance to the multiparty system. The bill was resubmitted to the new parliament in 2006. It had already had a first reading in the previous parliament and the Social Services Sectoral Committee of parliament had already gone through it. It was subjected to a second reading before becoming an Act (2009).

We would like to acknowledge the support of the Ministry of Health (Government of Uganda), the East African Health Research Commission, national research institutions, funding partners and other stakeholders.

Director General


The Uganda National Health Research Organisation Uganda (UNHRO) works to create a culture in which health policy and application is driven by research evidence in order to improve the health and socio-economic development for the people of Uganda.


The mission of the Uganda National Health Organisation (UNHRO) is to provide stewardship for the coordination and conduct of quality health research and its application in the country.


To promote health research and its application for the improvement of health care delivery for the people of Uganda.

Core Values

Integrity and accountability; Research and its application will be done in a transparent, accountable and professional ethical manner.
Community responsiveness; Research will respond to the needs and equity concerns of the community including gender.
Competitiveness; Excellence and innovation in operations and products. Policy

The National Health Research Policy is a framework that was put in place to harmonise research, operationalize the functions of UNRHO specifically to provide stewardship of research agenda; coordination of health research; setting priorities; strengthening health research capacity; promoting research information sharing; ensuring good practices and ethics in the conduct of health research;knowledge translation, resource mobilisation, and strengtheningpartnerships and collaboration in health research.

SynBio Africa to host the Second International Synthetic Biology and Biosecurity Conference in Africa

SynBio Africa, a community for synthetic biology enthusiasts and practitioners in Africa, is proud to announce its upcoming conference. Building on the achievements of the SBA 1.0 and 2.0 conferences held in 2021 and 2023 respectively, SynBio Africa is set to organize the SBA 3.0 International Synthetic Biology, AI, and Biosecurity Conference in Nairobi, Kenya from July 17 to 19, 2024. This three-day event aims to bring together more than 500 participants, fostering connections among industry professionals, researchers, academics, communities, policymakers, and other stakeholders in the fields of synthetic biology, AI, and biosecurity in Africa. The conference will serve as a platform to assess the current advancements since the previous gatherings and strategize on the way forward for the progress of these critical domains on the continent.

Synthetic biology is the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems, and the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes. It has applications in various sectors such as health, agriculture, energy, materials, environment, and security. Biosecurity is the prevention of the intentional misuse of biological agents or biotechnology that could cause harm to human, animal, or plant health, or to the environment.

The conference's objective is to further cultivate a well-defined role of synthetic biology in fostering national, regional, and continental sustainable development of the bioeconomy. The conference will feature keynote talks, oral presentations, lightning talks, breakout sessions, panel discussions and networking sessions covering six thematic areas:

  • Agricultural innovations
  • Bioinformatics and AI
  • Biosecurity and Biosafety
  • Renewable Energy and Materials
  • Biomaterials Science, Biosensors and Diagnostics
  • One Health
The conference aims to highlight the potential of synthetic biology to address the challenges and opportunities in Africa's development agenda, as well as to raise awareness and understanding of the technology among the public and policy makers. The conference also seeks to address the biosecurity risks and ethical issues associated with synthetic biology, and to promote a culture of responsibility and best practices among the synthetic biology community.

The conference is open to anyone interested in synthetic biology, AI, and biosecurity in Africa, including students, researchers, entrepreneurs, educators, policy makers, journalists, civil society organizations and the public. Registration link: Click here

Conference sponsorship link: SynBio Africa Conference 2023 Contact us: Phone: +256 781 151 76