Prof. Nelson K. Sewankambo
THRiVE DiRector

Prof. Nelson Sewankambo is is the director THRiVE consortium, President Uganda National Academy of Sciences and Principal Investigator Medical Education for Equitable Services Delivery for All Ugandans. He has received a number of recognition for his research, teaching, and public service, including a Grand Silver Medal, Karolinska Institute and the Uganda National Bioethics Award for outstanding contribution for development of research ethics in Uganda. 

  1. Research
  2. Supervision and Mentorship
  3. Grant writing
  • Research, teaching, and public service, honorary doctorates
  • Benjamin Garver Lamme Medal of Engineering Education
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Our research team defined in Uganda the then mysterious “Slim Disease” and its association with HTLVIII and documented the beginning of an AIDS epidemic among a heterosexuals in the country (Lancet 1985). As the founding Ugandan Principal Investigator for over ten years I and colleagues established in 1997 the Rakai Project (later renamed Rakai Health Sciences Programme). The project is renowned for its world class HIV/AIDS research that has contributed to national and international HIV/AIDS prevention policies including male medical circumcision in prevention of HIV/AIDS. 

I spearheaded the development of the Regional East African Community Health (REACH)-Policy Initiative to bolster research and programmatic work related to knowledge translation (KT) for policy and action. This has led to several initiatives in east Africa working to support KT. 

I am coordinator of the International Chairs Initiative focusing on the evaluation of knowledge translations platforms. As part of this initiative, I am supervising 5 PhD students carrying out ground breaking research in knowledge translation. 

In 2009, I initiated THRiVE 1, a research capacity building consortium involving seven African institutions (7 universities/ research institutes) and two universities in the UK. 

Recognizing that Ugandan clinicians were resistant to undertaking PhD studies, I initiated an innovative Sida funded doctoral training programme (now 12 years) for joint PhD awards (Makerere-Karolinska) at Makerere Medical School (more than 30 beneficiaries). 

Awards and honors In 2012, I received a Grand Silver Medal, Karolinska Institutet, the Uganda National Boethics Award for outstanding contribution for development of research ethics in Uganda. In 2008, I and my colleagues David Serwadda, Ron Gray and Maria Wawer received the N’Galy-Mann Award: a competitive international Lectureship award in recognition of the team’s immense contribution in epidemiology and clinical research of Rakai Health Sciences programme. In 2006 I received the Presidential Award for Scientific Excellence from the President of Uganda. I received two honorary doctorates one from McMaster University, Canada and another from Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health, Baltimore. 

Current memberships Fellow and President, Uganda national Academy of Sciences; External Associate member, Institute of Medicine, USA, Chair Steering Committee ISHReCA (Initiatives for Strengthening Health Research Capacity in Africa) – An Africa-wide Initiative; Board member Foundation for Advanced Research and Medical Education (FAIMER); a Fellow of The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) 

I am a reviewer for the Lancet, and Social sciences and Medicine.

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