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Uganda Virus Research Institute


About Us

 Our Mandate

  • The UVRI engages in health research pertaining to human infections and disease processes associated with or linked to viral aetiology and provides expert advice, enables partnerships and communication and serves as a center for training and education.
  • UVRI conducts research, surveillance and diagnostics. The Institute’s programmatic activities currently comprise of the following areas:
    • Basic research (e.g virology, immunology, genetics, genomics, molecular biology)
    • Applied research (intervention, diagnostics, clinical, operational)
    • Social/economic research
    • Surveillance
    • Epidemiology
    • Entomology
    • Bioinformatics
    • Capacity building through infrastructure and human resource development
    • Advice for regulation, policy development and quality improvement

We are home to several national and international reference and specialized testing laboratories including:

  • The national and regional reference center for vector borne viral diseases;
  • The national influenza Ccnter, a WHO influenza collaborating laboratory;
  • The national diagnostic laboratory for highly infectious viral infections;
  • The Africa WHO yellow fever reference laboratory;
  • The national HIV reference and quality assurance laboratory;
  • The national and regional reference laboratory for HIV drug resistance,
  • A WHO Measles and Rubella Regional Reference laboratory and
  • WHO Inter-country Polio laboratory.

Functions of UVRI

 The Institute functions include:

  •   Disease prevention and control
  •   Epidemiological investigations and surveillance
  •   Conducts basic and other public health related research
  •   Involved in emergency preparedness
  •   Engaged in reference and specialised testing
  •   Participates in environment health and protection
  •   Enables partnerships and communication 
  •  Offers training and education to an array of professions such as scientists, clinicians, public health specialists and environmental officers.
  • Archiving of specimens

 UVRI Structure

  • The Institute is organized under 5 major technical and 1 administrative departments, which are closely inter-related. Each department is headed by an Assistant Director of Research assisted by a Principal Research Officer, all of whom are under the supervision of the Institute’s Director. The scientific departments are facilitated by administration and finance support services. There are also two Units, the Immunisable Diseases Unit (IDU) or the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and the UVRI clinic or Clinical Unit for Research, that serves both Institute staff and the surrounding community; and also undertakes research. In addition, there is a training function spearheaded by a Training Committee.


  • To be a world class centre of excellence in health research


  • To conduct scientific investigations on viral and other communicable diseases so as to contribute to knowledge, policy, practice and build capacity while promoting institutional sustainability.

Core Values

  • Productivity and quality
  • Ethics and integrity
  • Effectiveness  and efficiency 
  • Team work and collaboration
  • Innovativeness
  • Biosafety and biosecurity

Key Functions of the Directorate, Departments and Units at the Uganda Virus Research Institute

The Office of the Director (Head of Programmes and Partnerships)


  • The Director is the Chief of programmes and partnerships; and the Accounting Officer. He is supported by the Deputy Director.  The Director is responsible for providing leadership to the research community, for advancing the research vision of the Institute, and for overseeing research excellence of programmes, projects and activities directly associated with the Institute. He ensures smooth working relationship with all partners at the Institute, i.e CDC, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM, UVRI/IAVI and NIH.
  • As the accounting officer, he controls the regularity and proper use of money appropriated to the vote; responsible for authorizing any commitment made by the vote and controls the resources received or disposed of by a vote. He is responsible and accountable to Parliament for the activities of the vote.

  • The Director reports to UNHRO and MoH in the execution of their oversight role.

The Office of the Deputy Director (Chief Research Officer (CRO)

  • The Deputy Director and Chief Research Officer acts as deputy to the Director and assists the director in the management and supervision of the various departments and Units and acts as the Chief Research Officer of the institute.

Finance and Administration 

  • Finance and Administration is headed by the Principal Assistant Secretary. Its mandate is to guide the Institution in the implementation of government policies and regulations, to facilitate recruitment, staff development and welfare as well as control expenditure in the Institution.

Key Functions

  • Supervise and monitor implementation of government policy at institutional and community levels
  • Coordinate social mobilization and political supervision of Institute’s activities
  • Management and payment of utilities for the Institute’s departments
  • Assists the accounting officer in the control of expenditure and accountability.
  • Produce financial reports for management
  • Pay salaries and wages
  • Draft contracts, agreements and memoranda
  • Repair and maintenance of office premises and equipment
  • Provision of office logistics and stationery
  • Transport management
  • Organize welfare activities
  • Provide security for office premises

These are different sections under Finance & Administration

  • Administration
  • Accounts
  • Human Resource Management and Development (HRM&D);
  • Procurement and Disposal
  • Infrastructure Maintenance and Development
  • Information Technology
  • Stores

Science Departments  

  • Each science department is headed by an Assistant Director for Research
Department of Epidemiology and data management
  • The department conducts epidemiological research and data management. It also supports response to disease outbreaks. The department is mandated to:
    • Carry out epidemiological research in HIV/AIDS, STDs, malaria and acute viral outbreaks.
    • Provide epidemiological and statistical support to the Institute departments.
  • This department works very closely with the key partners at the institute especially the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit and Rakai Health Sciences.

Department of General Virology

It conducts research at a molecular and cellular level for different virus aetiologies. The department’s mandate includes:

  • Carrying out virological research to generate new knowledge and to lead to disease prevention and intervention strategies in Uganda and internationally
  •  Evaluation and development of diagnostic tests
  • Carrying out studies related to viruses associated with human cancers (HHV8, HPV-16&18, EBV, etc)
  • Works closely with the MOH, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM and the department of Epidemiology and Data management to implement the national activities for HIV drug resistance surveillance and prevention
  • Hosts the national HIV reference laboratory activities
  • Provision of diagnostic quality assurance, quality control for HIV, hepatitis and others, and
  • Capacity building.

Department of Entomology/ Vector Biology

It engages in research on the vectors of viral infections, especially mosquitoes. The department focuses on the;

  • Study of various insect vectors in the transmission of arbovirus infections, and
  • Study of other arthropods connected with other diseases of public health importance such as malaria vectors.

The department has an insectary.

Department of Immunology.

It undertakes studies of the protection of the body against infection especially viral infections and protective immune responses required for the development of vaccines and diagnostics. The department’s mandate includes:

  • Studies of innate, cellular and humoral immunity
  • Diagnostics
  • Immunomodulation including studies of disease interactions
  • Vaccine research and development.

Department of Arbovirology Emerging and Re-Emerging.

It aims at research on diseases transmitted by arthropods and old as well as newly emerging infections. The department  serves as a national and international reference centre for vector-borne and zoonotic viral infectious diseases by:

  • Conducting field and laboratory research and epidemic aid investigations of vector-borne viral infections, their arthropod vectors and zoonotic diseases,
  • Developing and maintaining effective surveillance for vector-borne viral infections, their arthropod vectors,
  • Defining disease etiology, ecology, and pathogenesis for disease diagnosis, surveillance, prevention and control,
  • Provide diagnostic reference and epidemiological investigations for these diseases;
  • Functioning as a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Arboviruses,
  • Functioning as National Influenza Centre.
  • Yellow Fever regional reference laboratory.

Institute Units

Immunisable Diseases Unit (IDU) formerly EPI Lab

The Unit is mandated to:

  • Carry out surveillance and research on vaccine preventable diseases to support UNEPI;
  • Provide laboratory support for Acute Flaccid Paralysis surveillance for the countries in the Great Lakes Region;
  • Function as a WHO Measles Regional Reference Laboratory;
  • Conduct vaccine efficacy studies;

Clinical Unit for Research (UVRI Clinic)

The Clinical Unit for Research previously UVRI Clinic conducts applied research on viral infectious diseases and provides clinical services to staff and the community. The mandate of the unit includes:

  • Providing basic essential clinical care to the research volunteers
  • Providing basic clinical services to staff and the immediate family members
  • Serving as a health centre, supervised by Entebbe Hospital, in Entebbe Health Sub-District (HSD)
  • Providing HIV routine counselling & testing (RCT) to communities and occupational HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
  • Supports clinical research by recruiting and following up research participants.,

Support Centers or Sections

Planning and Fundraising

  • Planning and Fundraising is a functional area that was created to coordinate all the planning related functions. Their creation bridges the gap in the existing structure and harmonizes the functions of planning; budgeting; M&E, and information and documentation.

 The section is headed by a Senior Economist.

 Key functions of the Planning and Fundraising section;

  • Facilitate proposal writing and channeling to potential funders
  • Fund raising
  • Develop five year and annual work plans for the Institute
  • Budgeting for institute activities
  • Policy development and dissemination
  • Human resource planning and forecasting.

Other functions  are  to;

  • Review, revise and update the UVRI development plan (DP);
  • Coordinate the preparation of the Institute plan;
  • Compile the plans of the various functional areas into a complete institution plan;
  • Assist the functional areas in the development, review and implementation of their DPs;
  • Conduct training in planning at all levels of the institution system;
  • Keep up to date with current methodologies and technologies in planning; and
  • Assist UVRI in developing more effective and relevant operational plans.
  • Budgeting.

Internal Audit (IA);

  • The section conducts internal audits. Because of its constitutional mandate and direct linkage with the Auditor General’s Office reports directly to the Director.

Information Technology 

  • The roles of the Information Technology department involve setting up, administering, maintaining and upgrading communication systems, local area networks and wide area networks, security, data storage and disaster recovery strategies for the Organization.