Core functions

  • Direct and administer the overall research, and community engagement activities of the University and Technology Transfer and University Industry linkage;
  • Ensure the initiation, development, and approval of relevant strategic policies and guidelines to manage and direct the overall research, community engagement, and technology development activities of the University;
  • Ensure the productive linkage and relevance of research and community engagement activities with the overall national objectives and societal needs;
  • Create and maintain a conducive environment in the University for research and community engagement activities;
  • Monitor and follow up on the proper implementation of all research and community engagement activities in the University;
  • Solicit funds and proactively work for the establishment of collaborative projects and partnership networking
  • Coordinate and ensure the provision of excellent consultancy services to stakeholders
  • Manage the identification, evaluation, protection, and commercialization of University technologies, and ensure university-industry-community linkage.
  • Solicit and manage Ph.D. research grants
  • Promote the establishment of specialized and high-tech research facilities and develop accurate and compelling business cases that enable evidence-based decisions on investments or initiatives in Shared Research Infrastructure Facilities.
  • Provide direction to all college/institute and organizational units in the development of their strategic innovation centers, supported by best practices, and monitor progress through appropriate performance indicators.
  • Organize and promote Mekelle University journals
  • Initiate the development and enforcement of publication policy, manuals, and guidelines
  • Ensure ethical publishing and provide recognition letters for peer-reviewed publications

Provide technical support to communities and stakeholders in areas of research, community engagement, consultancy services, technology development, and technology transfer. 

Governance structure of the VPRCE

To achieve the broad goals, the Vice President for Research and Community Engagement (VPRCE) Office of Mekelle University has reformed (restructured) the previous two directorate offices into six:

  1. Research Development and Partnership Directorate,
  2. Postgraduate Research Directorate, 
  3. Community Engagement and Consultancy Services Directorate,
  4. Technology Transfer and University Industry Linkage Directorate,
  5. Publication and Documentation Directorate; and
  6. Research and Community Engagement Facility Directorate.

Under each Directorate offices, there are at least two officers to perform and manage specific tasks of research, community engagement and consultancy services and technology development and university industry linkages of the University. 

Scope and management of projects

Research projects at Mekelle University generally fall within seven different categories, namely: Mega-scale, Large-scale, Medium-Scale, General/Young Junior Research, Female Junior research, demand-driven research, and externally funded research projects. Moreover, we have Community engagement projects initiated by staff or stakeholders. The consultancy services we provide are solely emanating from the stakeholders. These categories are developed based on the existing needs and mission- vision of MU. Working guidelines are prepared and in use. All projects are registered through the e-research system portal of our University. The fund sources are from the recurrent budget of the University, collaborative projects with (inter) national funders/stakeholders, and grants secured by individual academic staff.

Mekelle University uses standard proposal guidelines and policies, followed by a monitoring and evaluation scheme. There are different mechanisms of dissemination of outputs and outcomes to the community in need. Some of those include dissemination and technology product events, research review day, publication displays, workshops, and conferences. Almost every year, MU hosts an annual research and community engagement review day where the research performance in different colleges and institutes conducted in the previous year is presented and discussed in detail. Postgraduate students are attached to most of the staff’s research projects. Moreover; a separate postgraduate research grant is available either from the recurrent budget or other collaborative projects of the University. As the research demand of MU staff is increasing from time to time, home-grown journals (currently 14 journals) are also on the rise. For example, the Momona Ethiopian Journal of Science is one in which it is indexed in Web of Science, Scopus, and AJOL. Both the Journal of Drylands and Momona Ethiopian Journal of Science have been accredited by the former Ministry of Science and Higher Education; and now the Ministry of Education.

Vice President for Research and Community Engagement


Mekelle University strives for excellence in academics, research, and community service and contributes to the advancement of knowledge, economic growth, and social welfare through innovation and entrepreneurship, partnering with institutions, and empowering communities. The Strategic themes with respect to Research and Community Engagement include excellence in (i) research and Technology Transfer to address felt needs of industry and society, (ii). Community Service to empower regional and national societies, and (iii). Boost Internationalization and Stakeholder Engagement. According to the former Ministry of Science and Higher Education, by 2020, Mekelle University has been ranked as a research-intensive University.

Guided by its mission and vision, MU is required to promote and enhance research and community engagements focusing on knowledge and technology transfer consistent with the country’s priority needs which leads to quality research and technology. In the year 2019-2020, MU was ranked 2nd in Ethiopia, 35th in Africa, and 1282nd in the world in universities' reputability rankings. Since the end of 2019, Mekelle University has been categorized as Research Intensive University among the higher institutions in Ethiopia and is one of the top three universities in Ethiopia with an aspiration to be among the leading research-intensive universities in Africa. To undertake the mandates, MU has strong partnerships with an international reputation for research through partnerships with national and international sister institutions from Africa, Europe, Asia, America (North and South), and Australia.

On the other hand, it was unfortunate that the recent war in the Tigray region has seriously affected the human resources, logistics, and infrastructures, academic and research performance; partnership, and global visibility of our University. Due to the Tigray war, almost all of the research and community engagement activities had been suspended since June 2021 with the exception of some post-graduate research. Some of the voluntary community engagement activities were to support the community in health services, tutorial service for children, maintenance of agricultural machineries, development of different reconstructive proposals and consultancy services to different bureaus, and others. Moreover, some MU staff members were conducting demand-driven research activities without / very limited (externally funded) research projects. Furthermore, many publications were produced during this crisis. The motivation and great passion of our staff during the tough and life-threatening conditions shows the research potential at MU can easily revive and outshine upon releasing of budget and other funds through collaborations with regional, national, and international stakeholders. Like other offices, the Vice President for Research and Community Engagement Office of the University has prepared a resumption and recovery plan for the well-being of communities through research outcomes.