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The MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit is an internationally recognized centre of excellence for research and training. The Unit was established in 1988 to improve the understanding and control of the HIV epidemic in Uganda and globally, following a request from the Uganda Government to the United Kingdom (UK) Government. After wide consultations, and in response to the changing public health landscape, Unit work has broadened beyond HIV to include other infections, neglected, endemic, emerging and re-emerging infections and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The Unit is one of two (2) UKRI/MRC Units outside the UK, the other one in the Gambia. With strong affiliation to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), the Unit enjoys vital representation at government level, which facilitates translation of research findings.

In 2018, the Unit was transferred to LSHTM, a major UK global health institution. This new partnership is boosting research capacity into some of the current and emerging health issues in Africa and globally.

Our mission

To conduct high-quality research that adds knowledge and leads to improved control of infectious and non-communicable diseases in Uganda, Africa and globally, through translation of scientific findings into policy and practice, and rigorous research capacity building

Strategic objectives

The Unit’s mission is delivered through investment in four (4) overarching strategic objectives:

  1. Delivering excellence in research. Our research strategy is organised under three synergistic research themes supported by carefully chosen and optimised platforms.
  2. Developing leaders and people. We strengthen research infrastructure and leadership, and are increasingly integrating career pathways within LSHTM.
  3. Providing a high-quality research and research training environment. We ensure our research platforms, operational and governance infrastructure, which are critical to conduct excellent research and training, are of the highest standards. 
  4. Engaging with policy makers and the public. We continue to conduct research that is relevant to Uganda and the region, with emphasis on translation of scientific findings into useful products for influence of appropriate policy and practice.

Core values

  • Integrity
  • Embracing difference
  • Working together
  • Creating impact

Office locations

The Unit is based at the Entebbe campus of the Uganda Virus Research Institute, with established field stations in Kalungu district and Masaka City.

Unit governance

The Unit is governed through a dynamic Management structure, which provides oversight to the development and implementation of its research strategy and operations, and formulates policy consistent with its core mission to conduct high-quality research that adds knowledge and leads to improved control of infectious and non-communicable diseases in Uganda, Africa and globally, through translation of scientific findings into policy and practice, and rigorous research capacity building.

View the Unit Management Structure

Partnerships for impact

We are committed to delivering impactful collaborative research and capacity building through strategic multi-level partnerships with the Uganda government, national, regional and international research and academic institutions, as well as research communities, without whose support important studies cannot be conducted.

Our partnership with the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and the Uganda Ministry of Health enables us to ensure that our research is well positioned to contribute to policy discussions at national level.

We also provide shared equipment and training in molecular biology techniques to scientists at UVRI and the Ministry of Health, which continues to build national research capacity, and has been pivotal in facilitating the national response to emerging health epidemics and pandemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Unit is also a key partner on a number of regional health-focused platforms, including: The East African EDCTP network, the Lake Victoria Research Consortium, IAVI regional network, Africa CDC and WHO.

We run a range of short courses and workshops that attract regional/Pan-African participation, including statistics, immunology, bioinformatics, and vaccinology, among others. We also partner with major academic institutions in Uganda, the region and world-wide to train scientists in key science-focused areas. In the last five years, our training program has successfully facilitated 58 Master’s and 44 PhD students from Uganda, greater Africa and the UK.

Read more about our research impact

Browse our major up-to-date collaborations

Browse our key affiliations 

Commitment to quality

The Unit is committed to protecting the rights, safety, and privacy of participants in its research studies, as well as the confidentiality of biological samples and other data collected during these studies.

All Unit research is subject to an expert internal Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to commencement. Where collaborative research is conducted, the Unit also has experience in interacting with external IRBs.

Our studies and facilities are compliant with key regulatory and ethical requirements, and international standards of best practice such as Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Good Research Practice (GRP), Human Subject Protection (HSP), Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP), ISO15189, Declaration of Helsinki as well as LSHTM/Unit Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and policies.


The Unit has a rich resource of expertise across the clinical and social sciences, each focused on promoting healthy communities through high quality research and consistent knowledge transfer. Over 100 scientists across three top-notch research facilities deliver research projects of the highest quality, ranging from basic science and epidemiology, to rigorous clinical trials for the prevention and management of diseases of public health importance in Africa.