The DRUSSA team's long-awaited visit to Zimbabwe's National University of Science and Technology (NUST) finally took place on 28 and 29 November. The NUST implementation team preceded the event with a short meeting, during which NUST Leader Prof Samson Sibanda and myself as DRUSSA Champion provided an overview of the programme.
At a meeting on the first day, several members of top management, including Deans and Principal Officers, represented NUST. DRUSSA representatives Tomas Harber and Liam Roberts took participants through the main components of the DRUSSA programme, including the MPhil and PhD scholarship programme and the short courses presented by CREST in South Africa.
About 20 persons attended the workshop on the second day, among them many from the previous day’s meeting, as well as Deans and heads of department from the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences. The DRUSSA MPhil scholar and the short course participants also attended the workshop. An intense discussion ensued around the aims of the programme, its potential benefits to NUST and ways in which it could be made sustainable in the years beyond the DRUSSA engagement.
The final discussion involved the “way forward”. NUST is in the process of developing a Research Policy and will in due course need to develop a Research Strategy. The DRUSSA team’s offer of support during the development of the strategy was gladly welcomed by the NUST team. Other plans included involvement in some new strategies DRUSSA may be employing in the future, and focused interaction between DRUSSA participants in the same geographical region. The second benchmarking exercise in March next year will help provide information on the direction we at NUST should take to meet our aims and targets.
One of the advantages of being visited at the tail-end of the Research Uptake implementation event programme was that the DRUSSA team could share the experiences of universities that had been visited earlier, thereby enriching the NUST vision and expectations in the coming years of the engagement with DRUSSA.
Prof Yogeshkumar (Yogi) Naik is the Director of the Research and Innovation Office and DRUSSA Champion at the National University of Science & Technology in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe