Saphina Biira

First Name
Last Name
Ph.D., in Physics (Materials Science & Nuclear Materials) University of Pretoria
Job Title
Deputy Vice chancellor Academic Affairs & Research
Universal Staff
Office Hours
8:00am-5:00 pm
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Dr. Saphina Biira is the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration). Before that, she was the Deputy Director Quality Assurance. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science and Education, Busitema University. She holds a PhD in Physics (Materials Science and Nuclear Technology) from University of Pretoria, South Africa, a Master in Physics (Radiation & Environmental Physics) from Makerere University and a Bachelor of Science Education from Gulu University, Uganda. Additionally, Dr. Biira is a M&E Practitioner and a Quality Assurance Manager in Higher Education. She has a number of trainings in Public Administration and Financial Management. She is a Senior Researcher with over 30 publications in peer reviewed journals and has reviewed for a number of journals in Materials Science and Radiation Sciences. She is an Executive Committee member of the African Light Source (AfLS), Member and a Publicity and Outreach Coordinator for OWSD-National Chapter. She is also a member of African Materials Research Society.  Dr. Biira is currently the Country Team Leader for Women in Physics at the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) and ICWIP.

She is a such a  self-driven Senior Scientist, Educationist and Administrator with about 20 years of Working in Higher Education Institution. This includes Administration, Teaching,  research and outreach engagements. She is  a team leader with a record of successfully completing critical milestones and delivering products and Services on time and according to specifications. Her commitment to duty is beyond expectation. 

Research Projects
  1. 2023 OWSD Early Career Fellowship (Energy recovery from solid waste and water treatment in Tororo, Uganda) USD 50,000 (Principal Investigator)
  2. 2022 STEMpower (Development of STEMpower Center at Busitema University) USD 32,000.(Project Coordinator)
  3. 2022 BURIF (Staff Development for Change to Problem Based Learning and Project Based Learning) Ugx 30,000,000 (Principal Investigator)
  4. 2022 BURIR ('Seeding Engineering-based Entrepreneurship: The novel multi-chamber silo for Uganda’s 4-acre homestead') Ugx 40,000,000 (Team Member)
  5. 2022 MakRIF (Adult Diagnostic Reference Levels based on clinical indications and Weight in Computed Tomography in Uganda) Ugx 50,000,000 (Team Member)
  6. 2021 BURIF (Determining Quality of Courses in The Busitema University Online Learning Environment (BUOLE) Busitema University Research) Ugx 9,000,000 (Team Member)
  7. 2019 IsBD Transformer grant (Strengthening Capacity of the Forum for African Women Vice Chancellors to Promote Gender inclusive Participation in Science, Technology and Innovation in Mozambique, Sudan and Uganda) USD 149,970 (Co-Principal Investigator and Project manager)
  8. 2019 DGSRI competitive publication grant worthy Ugx 5,000,000. (Principal Investigator)
  9. 2018 TWAS Research Grants Programme in Basic Sciences (Individuals). Science Equipment were acquired worth USD 15,000. (Principal Investigator)
  10. 2018 DGSRI competitive small research grant worthy Ugx 5,000,000. (Principal Investigator)


Publications and Papers
  1. Tagumira, A., Biira, S., & Amabayo, E. B. (2022). Concentrations and human health risk assessment of selected heavy metals in soils and food crops around Osukuru phosphate mine, Tororo District, Uganda. Toxicology Reports, 9, 2042-2049
  2. Okwakol, M. N., Ujeyo, M. S. S., Atibuni, D. Z., Biira, S., & Waako, P(2022). Overcoming policy and practice fragility and enhancing security of science, technology and innovation educational achievement for females in Uganda. The Uganda Higher Education Review Pg 229-243
  3. Mirzayev, M.N., Slavov, L., Donkov, A., Neov, D., Popov, E., Demir, E., Genov, I., Abdurakhimov, B., Vladescu, A., Biira, S. and Karaman, T., 2022. Effects of neutron irradiation at different fluencies on nanosized anatase titanium dioxide. Radiation Physics and Chemistry, 194, p.109988.
  4. Biira, S., Gumuguni, L., Ocen, G., Bwire, F., Waako, P., & Wamakote, L. (2021). COVID19 and Students’ Readiness for Online Learning in Higher Education Institutions in Uganda: A Case Study of Busitema University. Journal of the National Council for Higher Education, 9(2), 21–33.
  5. Biira, S., Ochom, P., & Oryema, B. (2021). Evaluation of radionuclide concentrations and average annual committed effective dose due to medicinal plants and soils commonly consumed by pregnant women in Osukuru, Tororo (Uganda). Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 227, 106460.
  6. Thabethe, T.T., Nstoane, T., Biira, S., Njoroge, E.G., Hlatshwayo, T.T., Skuratov, V.A. and Malherbe, J.B., (2019). Irradiation effects of swift heavy ions on palladium films deposited on 6H-SiC substrate. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 442, pp.19 23.
  7. Mirzayev, M., Demir, E., Mammadov, K., Mehdiyeva, R., Jabarov, S., Tugrul, A.B., Biira, S., Tiep, N. and Thabethe, T., (2019). Thermodynamics kinetics of boron carbide under gamma irradiation dose. International Journal of Modern Physics B, 33(09), p.1950073.
  8. Mirzayev, M.N., Jabarov, S.H., Asgerov, E.B., Mehdiyeva, R.N., Thabethe, T.T., Biira, S. and Tiep, N.V., (2019). X-ray diffraction and thermodynamics kinetics of SiB 6 under gamma irradiation dose. Silicon, 11(5), pp.2499-2504.
  9. Mirzayev, M.N., Popov, E., Demir, E., Abdurakhimov, B.A., Mirzayeva, D.M., Sukratov, V.A., Mutali, A.K., Tiep, V.N., Biira, S., Tashmetov, M.Y. and Olejniczak, K., 2020. Thermophysical behavior of boron nitride and boron trioxide ceramics compounds with high energy electron fluence and swift heavy ion irradiated. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 834, p.155119.
  10. Biira, S., Thabethe, T. T., Hlatshwayo, T. T., Bissett, H., Ntsoane, T., & Malherbe, J. B. (2020). Investigating the thermal stability of the chemical vapour deposited zirconium carbide layers. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 155003.
  11. Chepkurui, J., & Biira, S. (2020). Thermal Performance Evaluation of the Funnel Solar Cooker of Different Funnel Lengths Implemented in Nagongera, Uganda. Tanzania Journal of Science, Vol 46(1), pp 53-60.
  12. Mirzayev, M.N., Demir, E., Mammadov, K.F., Sukratov, V.A., Jabarov, S.H., Biira, S., Asgerov, E.B., Abdurakhimov, B.A. and Tuğrul, A.B., (2020). Amorphisation of boron carbide under gamma irradiation. Pramana, 94(1), pp.1-8.
  13. Mbabazi, F. K., Gavamukulya, Y., Awichi, R., Olupot–Olupot, P., Rwahwire, S., Biira, S., & Luboobi, L. S. (2020). A Mathematical Model Approach for Prevention and Intervention Measures of the COVID–19 Pandemic in Uganda.
  14. Thabethe, T.T., Ntsoane, T.P., Biira, S., Njoroge, E.G., Hlatshwayo, T.T., Skuratov, V.A. andMalherbe, J.B., (2020). Investigating the structural changes induced by SHI on W-SiC samples.Vacuum, Vol 174 pp.109230.
  15. Biira,S, (2019). Overview of nuclear energy reactor safety and the key issues for Uganda. Eng. J. Eng. Regist. Board, Uganda.Vol 1 pp. 92–95.
  16. Kilama, G., Lating, P. O., Byaruhanga, J., & Biira, S. (2019). Quantification and characterization of cocoa pod husks for electricity generation in Uganda. Energy, Sustainability and Society, 9(1), pp22.
  17. Biira, S., Hlatshwayo, T. T., Crouse, P. L., Bissett, H., Thabethe, T. T., Mlambo, M., & Malherbe, J. B. (2019). Effect of the ZrCl4 static vaporiser system and deposition time on growth characteristics of chemical vapour deposited zirconium carbide layers. Applied Physics A, 125(3), pp. 185.
  18. Mirzayev, M. N., Mammadov, K., Skuratov, V. A., Demir, E., Jabarov, S. H., Ismayilova, N. A., Biira, S., Abdurakhimov, B & Popov, E. (2019). Oxidation kinetics and thermophysical properties of gamma irradiated silicon hexaboride. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 801, pp151-157.
  19. Mirzayev, M.N., Mehdiyeva, R.N., Melikova, S.Z., Jabarov, S.H., Thabethe, T.T., Biira, S.,Kurbanov, M.A. and Van Tiep, N., (2019). Formation of Color Centers and Concentration of Defects in Boron Carbide Irradiated at Low Gamma Radiation Doses. Journal of the Korean Physical Society, 74(4), pp.363-367.
  20. Mirzayev, M. N., Jabarov, S. H., Asgerov, E. B., Mehdiyeva, R. N., Thabethe, T. T., Biira, S., & Tiep, N. V. (2018). Crystal structure changes and weight kinetics of siliconhexaboride under gamma irradiation dose. Results in Physics, 10, 541-545
  21. S. Biira, P.L. Crouse, H. Bissett, T.T. Hlatshwayo, J.H. van Laar, J.B. Malherbe (2017).“Design andfabrication of a chemical vapour deposition system with special reference to ZrC layer growth characteristics”, The Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Vol. 117 pp. 931-938.
  22. S. Biira, B.A.B. Alawad, H. Bissett, J.T. Nel, T.P. Ntsoane, T.T. Hlatshwayo, P.L. Crouse, J.B. Malherbe (2017). “Influence of the substrate gas-inlet gap on the growth rate, morphology and microstructure of zirconium carbide films grown by chemical vapour deposition”, Ceramics International Vol 43 pp. 1354-1361.
  23. S. Biira, P.L. Crouse, H. Bissett, T.T. Hlatshwayo, E.G. Njoroge, J.T. Nel, T.P. Ntsoane, J.B. Malherbe (2017). “ The role of ZrCl 4 partial pressure on the growth characteistics of chemical vapour deposited ZrC layers”, Ceramics international. Vol 43 pp. 15133-15140.
  24. S. Biira, P.L. Crouse, H. Bissett, B.A.B. Alawad, T.T. Hlatshwayo, J.T. Nel, J.B. Malherbe (2017). “Optimisation of the synthesis of ZrC coatings in an RF induction-heating CVD system using surface response methodology”, Thin Solid Films.Vol 624 pp. 61-69.
  25. Alawad, B. A. B., Biira, S., Bissett, H., Nel, J. T., Hlatshwayo, T. T., Crouse, P. L., & Malherbe, J. B. (2016). CVD Growth of ZrC Layers at Different Temperatures. Science and Education, 4(1), 6-9.
  26. S. Biira and G. Kilama (2014). “Analysis of solar radiation in Uganda (A case study of Kasese, Jinja and Sororti Districts)”, International Journal of Current Research. Vol. 6 pp.8110-8115.
  27. S. Biira, A. Kisolo and F.M. D’ujanga (2014). “Concentration levels of radon in mines, industries and dwellings in selected areas of Tororo and Busia districts, Eastern Uganda”, Advances in Applied Science Research. Vol. 5 pp. 31-44.
  28. D’ujanga, F. M., Biira, S., & Akoba, R. (2019, June). Trends and status of women in physics in Uganda. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 2109, No. 1, p. 050038). AIP Publishing.
  29. Thabethe, T. T., Njoroge, E. G., Hlatshwayo, T. T., Biira, S., & Malherbe, J. B. (2018, October). Investigating thermal treatment of W thin film deposited on 6H-SiC in vacuum, hydrogen and argon. In 2018 Open Innovations Conference (OI) (pp. 34-39). IEEE.
  30. S. Biira, B.A.B. Alawad, H. Bissett, J.T. Nel, T.T. Hlatshwayo, J.B. Malherbe, “Effect of temperature and CH 4 /ZrCl 4 molar ratio on ZrC layers deposited in a vertical-wall CVD system”, South Africa Institute of Physics (SAIP 2016). pp.1-7. ISBN: 978-0-620-770941.
  31. D’ujanga, F.M., Ssentongo, G.S., Ayugi, G., Akoba, R. and Saphina, B., 2015, December. Female physicists in Ugandan universities. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 1697, No. 1, p. 060043). AIP Publishing LLC.


  1. Uganda Conservation conference held on February 09, 2023 at Makerere Uganda.
  2. The 4 th Symposium of the Forum for African Women Vice Chancellors (FAWOVC) held at Holiday Inn, Harare Zimbabwe from 11-13th December 2023
  3. 7th IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP) held virtually 11-16 July 2021 by invitation only
  4. Forum for African Women Vice Chancellors (FAWOVC) Symposium held at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, from 2-6 December 2019.
  5. Career Development Workshop for Women in Physics held on October 28 to November 01 2019 in ICTP in Trieste Italy.
  6. Joint meeting of the Pan African Conference on Crystallography - PCCr2 and The African Light Source - AfLS2 2019, Accra, Ghana 28 January – 02 February, 201
  7. Advanced Metals (AMI), Precious metals conference 2017, Limpopo, South Africa October 17- 20 2017. 
  8. Ion-Surface Interaction (ISI) conference 2017, Moscow, Russia August 21- 25, 2017.
  9. Surface Modifications of Materials by ion Beam (SMMIB) conference 2017, Lisbon Portugal July 10-14, 2017.
  10.  Nuclear Materials Conference 2016, Montpellier, France November 7-10, 2016.
  11. Advanced Metals (AMI), Ferrous metals conference 2016, Durban, SouthAfrica October 17- 20 2016.
  12. South African institute of Physics (SAIP), 2016, University of Cape town, South Africa 4-8 July 2016.
  13. Advanced Metals (AMI), Nuclear materials conference 2015, Port Elizabeth, South Africa October 28- 30, 2015.
Research Focus
  • Environmental Physics
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Materials Science
  •  Atomic Physics
Courses Taught
Nuclear Technology
Advance Materials Sciences
Advance Nuclear Physics
Energy Physics
Advanced Statistical Mechanics
Advanced Quantum Physics
Environmental Physics
Solid State Physics
Nuclear Physics
Solar Energy Radiation
Classical Mechanics
Materials Science
Physics Projects
Statistical Mechanics
Measurements and Analysis
Mathematical Physics
Atomic Physics
Committees Served
Member Busitema University Council and its committees
Member Busitema University Senates and its committees
Staff Type
Council Member