Call For Prototypes Industry 4.0+ Technologies Applied In Agriculture And Education (Call For Prototypes Industry 4.0+ Technologies Applied In Agriculture And Education)

Call ID: CARI-RUF/001/2024 (Call ID: CARI-RUF/001/2024)
  1. Background

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) received funding from the Government of Uganda through the Science, Technology, and Innovation Secretariat at the Office of the President (STI-OP) to implement the project “Commercialisation of Academic Research Initiative (CARI)”. CARI is funded under Grant Agreement Number STI-OP/2023/INDUSTRY4.0+/05 and implemented in partnership with Busitema University, Islamic University in Uganda, Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, or Nkumba University.

The overall objective of CARI is to strengthen the capacity of Ugandan universities to create a critical mass of fourth-industrial revolution-based enterprises from student and faculty research to create jobs and wealth.

The specific objectives of CARI are:

  1. Pilot commercialization of five university developed research products or services deploying fourth industrial revolution technologies in agri-food and education sector;
  2. Characterise Uganda’s science, technology, and innovation ecosystem for incubating academic research products and services into viable businesses based, and
  3. Sensitize Ugandan universities on the benefits and required policies, processes, and stakeholders for mass commercialisation of products and services developed from university research.

CARI is therefore funded to mobilise universities in Uganda directly contribute to job and wealth creation by nurturing student and faculty research into enterprises which employ young people. CARI aims to address the graduate unemployment challenge in Uganda. It also aims to nurture Ugandan innovations to create new businesses or produce technologies that enhance the performance of the existing enterprises, starting with those in agri-food and education sectors.

  1. Which prototypes will be supported?

Prototypes deploying Industry 4.0 technologies: CARI will support prototypes developed by university students and/or staff deploying Industry 4.0 technologies and applied in agri-food and Education. Prototypes designed with a combination of two or more of the following technologies addressing challenges in the agri-food and education sectors will be supported.

  1. Advanced mechanical and electronics engineering including but not limited to additive manufacturing, nanoparticles engineering, renewable energy etc;
  2. Human–machine interaction including but not limited to robotics and automation, autonomous guided vehicles, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR);
  3. Connectivity, data, and computational power including but not limited to Cloud computing, the Internet of Things, blockchain, field sensors, and
  4. Analytics and intelligence including but not limited to edge computing, advanced analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence.

Prototypes developed and tested by a multi-disciplinary team: A clear demonstration that the prototype was developed and/or tested by a multidisciplinary team of young people from engineering, computing, and agri-food /education must be made. This team of three or more disciplines must be listed in the application with a specification of their roles and responsibilities in developing/refining the prototype. If already done, business experts engaged or to be engaged should be included as part of the team. The team must therefore be constituted by a minimum of four team members.  

Prototypes technically validated by at least two senior specialists at the university: The prototypes presented must have been technically tested and recommended by two senior researchers in the two dominant fields for example an engineer and an agri-food systems expert or a computer scientist and an education expert. These two should provide recommendations for each submission as having technically reviewed and approved that it has technical potential to address the specified challenges in the agri-food or education sector.

Prototypes with potential to address challenges in the agri-food and education sectors: The submissions should specify the challenge faced by the agri-food and education sectors that the prototype will address as a business. Agri-food industry challenges should range from production to post harvest handling and processing or value addition while the education sector challenges should be across the educational value chain from primary to tertiary institutions.

  1. How many prototypes will be supported?

A total of five (5) prototypes will be funded, one from each from Busitema University, Islamic University in Uganda, Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, and Nkumba University.

  1. What support will CARI provide to the beneficiaries?

Three levels of support will be provided by CARI. First, technical mentorship will be provided by a group of experts from the core technical fields upon which the prototypes are designed. Secondly, basic financial support of up to 40 million Uganda Shillings Only will be provided to the prototypes to procure the required equipment to refine the prototypes. Thirdly, business development support including but not limited to company registration, business strategy development, resource mobilisation and market expansion.

  1. Selection process

After submission, a preliminary assessment will be done at RUFORUM Secretariat based on the criteria set in section 7 below. A short list of the applications that meet the criteria will be assigned to at least two reviewers. To avoid conflict of interest, the reviews will not be from the university of the applicant. A report for each of the reviewers will be compiled and based on the scores, a ranking of the applications will be prepared. A short list of 20 applicants will be invited to present their protypes and business cases and five best prototypes will be selected by a panel of judges. A selection meeting to choose one prototype from each of the five universities will be done. The selected prototypes will be onboarded to the RUFORUM SMEHub for mentorship and business growth.

  1. Evaluation criteria and process

Applications will be evaluated based on the criteria below.





Clarity of the agri-food and education sector issue to be addressed: The application should specify the challenge to be addressed and how the prototype intends to address this challenge. This should include potential economic and other benefits of addressing the problem for example, reduce the work hours from 4 to 2, reduce time of production by 10 hours.



Proof of demand for such a technology by end-users: Based on the importance of the problem, the applications will be scored based on the proof of demand by farmers, students and teachers, industries, transporters, consumers etc. This is important for business feasibility.



Technical feasibility: the applicants should make clear, the scientific soundness of the prototype and its technical feasibility when produced in large scale. Applications will also be evaluated based on their technical capability to address the agri-food or education sector challenges in a short time possible with a relatively low cost.



Business case for the prototypes: Applications will be assessed for the feasibility of its business model, estimates of revenue generated and share of the Ugandan and regional market it can claim.



Budget feasibility and alignment to technical and business case. The budget proposed by each applicant should be aligned to technical and business case. It should also be feasible to be used in a period of one year .



Knowledge of other actors in the sector who will be engaged to refine the prototype and grow the business.



Team composition: The team members fronted should be at least four. Two being engineering and ICT, the other two being agri-food experts and a businessperson.



Potential to employ many young people from diverse expertise. Each application will be assessed and ranked based on its potential to employ a large group of young people with diverse expertise within and beyond those of the group members who participated in the development of the prototype.



Total score



  1. Eligibility and Compliance
  2. Only applications deploying Industry 4.0 technologies[1][2] in agri-food and education sectors will be considered.
  3. Applications will be submitted by an individual alumnus or staff of Busitema University, Islamic University in Uganda, Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Nkumba University.
  4. Each applicant shall submit only one application. In case more than one application is submitted by the same applicant. The latest submission will be considered.
  5. Each application should be accompanied by a support letter provided by one technical researcher from the participating universities.
  6. Applications with equal representation of women and men will be highly considered.
  7. Only complete applications will be considered for evaluation.


  1. Submission of applications and deadline
  2. All applications shall be submitted through the RUFORUM SMEHub accessible here by 20th of April 2024.
  3. Prior to submission of application, the team lead should create an account in the SME-Hub
  4. Time Frame

The following tentative timeframe will be followed. However, this time frame may change based on the number of applications received.

  1. The deadline for receiving applications at RUFORUM Secretariat is 20th April 2024
  2. Administrative checks, compliance review and feedback to applicants by 25th April 2024.
  3. Review of Prototypes completed by 30th April 2024
  4. Pitching of pre-selected applicants - 5th May 2024
  5. Award of selected five enterprises - 10th May 2024

 Contact persons in case of inquiries

For further inquiries, please contact the following persons;

For further inquiries, please contact the following persons;

Kindly download the budget template here: