Graduate Research Supervision and Mentorship Project

Graduate Research Supervision and Mentorship in Southwestern Ugandan Universities (GRSAMU)

 Project background

Mbarara University of Science and Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Academics Without Boards-AWB (, a Canadian nonprofit organization to  undertake a number of activities in the area of higher education.  In collaboration with the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies (FIS), Canadian Volunteers from the Universities of Saskatchewan, Toronto, Manitoba, and Alberta, AWB has supported the design and development of a short course in “Graduate Research Supervision and Mentorship”.

 Project description

All university lecturers are expected to carry out research, publish findings and get promoted.  As a teaching staff, one is expected to supervise graduate students for promotion to ranks of Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor and Full Professor. However, there is no single course offered anywhere in Uganda in research supervision and mentorship to university lecturers. It is assumed that upon graduation, one will adequately supervise graduate studies.  However, this has not happened. More often than not, graduate students never complete their studies in time while others abandon their studies altogether. Therefore, there is a need to train university lecturers in graduate research supervision and mentorship to acquire sufficient research supervision and mentorship skills.

Canadian Volunteers are:

Scott Thomas, PhD

Professor, Exercise for Health & Performance

University of Toronto, Canada

Dr Scott Thomas is a Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at University of Toronto and a Registered Kinesiologist. Dr Thomas served as an academic administrator (Associate Dean, Graduate Education and Research) and as graduate supervisor for dozens of Masters and Doctoral Students. He helped develop and launch a professional Masters program (Master Professional Kinesiology). He has been recognized by his Faculty and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology for his work on knowledge transfer and integration. Dr Thomas’ research falls into two streams. One stream examines the role of exercise interventions in rehabilitation for chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer. The second stream looks at elite sport and how to assess training and improve performance. Dr Thomas is a new member of Academics Without Borders and looks forward to contributing to the mission.

Ayush Kumar, PhD

Professor, Department of Microbiology

University of Manitoba, Canada

Ayush Kumar, Author at Department of Microbiology (

Ayush Kumar is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology, University of Manitoba. Ayush received his Masters degree in Microbiology from Awadh University in India and his PhD in Microbiology from the University of Manitoba. He did his post-doctoral work at Colorado State University. Ayush’s laboratory studies the mechanisms of multidrug resistance and virulence in Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. His group also studies the microbiological quality of drinking water from First Nation communities in Manitoba. Ayush is also the Faculty of Science Lead for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Stephanie Yanow, PhD

Professor, School of Public Health

University of Alberta, Canada

Dr. Yanow is a Professor in Global Health within the School of Public Health and cross-appointed in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Alberta. She trained at McGill, University College London (PhD), and Caltech. She spent 8 years working at the Alberta ProvLab in diagnostics and in 2015 became a full faculty member in the School of Public Health. She leads a research program focused on different aspects of malaria, from basic pathogenesis to translational development of diagnostics and vaccines. A major focus of her work is on malaria infection in pregnancy. Together with her partners in Uganda, Colombia, Brazil, the US and Australia, she is developing a novel vaccine approach to protect pregnant women in Africa from the devastating consequences of malaria infection.

Carey Simonson, PhD, P.Eng., FASHRAE

Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Strategic Projects

Professor of Mechanical Engineering,Carey.php#research_areas

Dr. Simonson is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Strategic Projects in the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan (USask). He has been a visiting professor at the University of Oulu during sabbatical leaves in 2007/08 and 2014/15. Prior to becoming a faculty member at USask in 2001, he spent 4 years as a researcher and postdoctoral fellow at the Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Dr. Simonson’s research area is heat and moisture transfer in energy exchangers, HVAC systems and energy-efficient buildings. His research has been widely published (more than 250 peer-reviewed papers), cited (over 7,000 citations, h-index of 49) and well-funded (over 5 M$).

He has received local, national and international recognition for research, teaching and graduate student supervision. He is in the top 2% of the most-cited scientists in the world in various disciplines (top 1% in Buildings & Construction) according to a Stanford University study in 2020. He is an ASHRAE Fellow and has/had editorial roles for 3 international journals (ASME Journal Thermal Science & Engineering Applications, Energy & Buildings and Journal of Building Physics).

Dr. Simonson was selected as one of the top 12 graduate student mentors in Canada in 2017 and received the Canadian NSERC Synergy Award for industry collaboration in the SME category in 2015. He received the 2017 USask Distinguished Graduate Supervisor Award and the 2017 GSA USask Teaching Excellence Award.