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[LUSAKA] Research at Uganda's Makerere University is not threatened, contradicting newspaper reports that research funds would be withdrawn following a lecturers' strike.

Local media reported last week that the university's main research funder, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), had withheld part of the university's US$9.6 million research grant, citing concerns about the safety of the funds because the university campus was closed.

But SIDA later told SciDev.Net that it is planning to disburse the funds according to plans.

Cristina Nicacio, a research advisor for SIDA confirmed that the organisation was concerned when the university was closed down, but that this concern was promptly dispelled when it became clear that research activities were not affected by the action.

Lecturers at the university went on strike almost six weeks ago demanding better pay; they have declined to supervise the students until their demands are met.

A professor is demanding a gross salary of US$2,167.

Last year Makerere received a US$9.6 million grant from SIDA for research and for integrating information and communication technology into the running of the university, lasting three years.

Makerere University is Uganda's premier institution of higher learning with a student population of over 30,000; it ranks as one of the largest in east and central Africa.