The Operations Department supports the scientific endeavours of the unit working closely with the scientific staff to deliver the MRC/UVRI strategic objective. Under the direction of the Chief Operating Officer the division manages the functions of finance, procurement, human resource, IT, estates maintenance and transport services, communications and clinical diagnostic laboratory services providing support to 400 staff.
Major infrastructure investment have included construction of the main offices and laboratories in Entebbe; the Kyamulibwa offices, , the UVRI clinic (cofounded with IAVI), the Entebbe grade A and B clinics (cofounded with IAVI), the Masaka offices,and a stand alone liquid Nitrogen plant , The estates team also manages staff houses in Kyamulibwa and in Entebbe, Other major investments include the purchase of Kampala offices, the contribution to the UVRI training building (cofounded with Wellcome Trust) and the establishment of the UMIC, Bioinformatics Centre
In 2017 a new Scientific Research Support Office was established to assist the scientific community in grant funding applications to ensure high success rates and accurate levels of budgeting. This team works closely with all other operational functions to ensure that where supporting functions are required from grant funded application there is close and early collaboration to deliver scientific requirements..
The Procurement team, based at the Entebbe office are tasked with ensuring that goods and services purchased meet the required value for money criteria. The team manage a complex supply chain both within Uganda and across many international countries. Goods purchased from overseas range from vehicles to freezers to laboratory consumables and office supplies including specialist services for controlled temperature goods. As a unit we value the relationships that we have with our suppliers on whom we depend.
The IT section serves approximately 400 users across the four field stations plus the Grade A clinic at Entebbe, and supports a wide range of standard and scientific The Unit has built a disaster recovery centre at the Entebbe site which backs up all of the main production data in real time and will also be utilised by the UMIC bio-informatics centre. The Unit utilises fibre optic connections extensively, since the linking of the Continent via undersea cables to Europe and the Middle East, and no longer uses the former VSAT technology. A new Video Conferencing facility is being built and is expected to be ready for use in September 2017.
The finance team manage the internal MRC core funding monies and those from external grants. Operating in a number of currencies the finance team align processes to MRC UK reporting standards and work closely with MRC Head Office to deliver accurate budgeting and account management. The team work closely with the scientists to ensure programme costs are managed and provide advice where required. Reporting to external funders within agreed deadlines is a key deliverable ensuring that MRC maximises its income from all funding sources.
The aim of the Communication and Engagement section is to support the research of the Unit, through effective engagement with stakeholders at local, national and international levels using a range of approaches. The section also coordinates the translation of research into policy and practice in Uganda and elsewhere in sub Saharan Africa.
As part of community engagement, projects at the Unit make provision for mobilization of community members to participate in research activities and where appropriate, counselling services are provided. Community Advisory Boards (CAB) were also introduced especially where we conduct HIV prevention research.
The MRC/UVRI Clinical laboratory is a key component of and supports all the research studies conducted by the Unit.. For further information regarding this department refer to http://www.mrcuganda.org/clinical-diagnostic-laboratory-services