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Since its establishment in 1954, Haramaya University has been undertaking various research and outreach activities. As a pioneering institution of research and extension in Ethiopia, the university has developed and released considerable number of technologies. It has also been disseminating the generated technologies and knowledge to end users in partnership with a number of local, national, and international stakeholders.

Given the university’s vision of moving to a postgraduate and research university, the Research Affairs Office has re-structured its research undertakings into six broad research thematic areas. These are Poverty and Environmental Sustainability; Human Health, Nutrition and Welfare; Energy, Engineering, and Information Technologies; Human and Social Development; Institutions, Innovation Systems, and Economic Development; and Basic Sciences Research.

The Office has good track record of granting and managing research undertakings supported by various organizations. Through projects, the university has established a long-standing collaboration and relationships with universities and institutions nationally and internationally. Internationally, collaborative institutions and funding organizations are from various European, African, Asian, and American countries. Major funding institutions, among others, include the World Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Union, CDC, WHO, and USAID.

To disseminate its research findings to the users, the university regularly publishes East African Journal of Sciences, East African Journal of Health and Biomedical Sciences, East African Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, East African Journal of Animal and Veterinary and Animal Sciences; and Haramaya Law Review. In addition, it disseminates information through proceedings of Annual Research and Extension Review Workshops and occasionally hosted workshops organized focusing on contemporary issues. 

For supporting its research undertakings, the university provides various research facilities to researchers. These include, among others, its various research stations spread over diverse geographical areas and research specialties (Rare Crops Research Station, Haramaya Animal Sciences Research Station, Babile Lowland Crops Research Station, Berkele Tropical Fruits Research Station, Erer Camel Research Station, Fedis Research Station, Hirna Crops Research Station, Gurawa Research Station, Dire Dawa Tony Farm Fruits Research Station, and Kersa Demographic Surveillance System).

The research and extension office of the university has been in charge of coordinating the research and extension activities of the university.