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17 October 2017
Snapshot: Towards the implementation of Research Uptake Management at KNUST Print
Monday, 23 June 2014 11:02

Vincent. A. Ankamah-Lomotey presented an update on Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology’s Research Uptake status at INORMS2014

Background
 
Until the introduction of the DRUSSA programme, awareness of the importance of Research Uptake at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology [KNUST] [http://www.knust.edu.gh] was low, of no interest to researchers, and, did not play a central role in our research agendas as a university (although there was the occasional interaction with media on some innovations). This situation may have arisen as a result of the capacity gap in the area of research management, and the lack of clear budget lines in research proposals for Research Uptake (RU) (also known as getting research into use) and Research Uptake Management (RUM) (strategically managing the process of getting research into use).
 
At KNUST traditional research dissemination processes have been taking place in terms of personal communication, publishing in peer reviewed journals and consulting and conference proceedings. However, broader Research Uptake implementation and management practices thereof, have been rather disjointed and uncoordinated.
 
Examples of existing ‘shades’ of RU and RUM at KNUST
Through its departments and research centres KNUST undertakes some aspects of Research Uptake and Research Management:
  • Outreach programmes.
  • Annual compilation of reports from all colleges into a Vice-Chancellor’s report.
  • Community engagement and the newly established Vice-Chancellor’s community impact programme.
  • The establishment of the Centre for Business Development.[http://cbd.knust.edu.gh/pages/]
  • Assistance to small- and medium-scale industries.
  • Directly and indirectly, there has already been effort made to develop both human and infrastructure capacity in RU at KNUST. Currently, the need for a RU policy as part of the university’s strategic plan is being given serious thought. Unfortunately, despite the many years that the university has existed, its’ centralised research policy is still a work in progress, though at an advanced stage, and due to be placed before management for approval in the near future. A positive aspect of this delay is that it has made it possible for us to submit a comprehensive memo to the Academic Board to motivate for the incorporation of RU and RUM within the policy. There is a general acceptance of the need to build university capacity in research management. 
 
Action plan towards the implementation of RU good practice
  • STRATEGY: Incorporating RU into the institutional research policy. A memo is before the academic board for approval. As part of policy there are efforts to embed Research Uptake into research proposals, recruitment and as a set assessment criteria for promotion and research support.
  • As part of PROCESS:
    • a trainer-of-trainers model that allows for continuing professional development is to be adopted and made sustainable through regular workshops, internal training sessions and short courses at KNUST. 
    • Research data collection has been strengthened with National Service personnel assigned to the university’s colleges to collect information on research for the central database. Useful research with potential for uptake will be identified.
  • STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT: KNUST, through its official peer reviewed journal JUST, and a more general magazine TECHNOCRAT, is able to disseminate the university’s research to major stakeholders such the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Institution of Architects (GIA), Ghana Institution of Engineers (GhIE), Association of Bankers, etc. There are moves to identify KNUST’s core audience, especially amongst the private sector, in order to create more platforms for collaborative research. We intend sponsoring more staff and postgraduate students to attend conferences in order to link up with a community of scholars. Community outreach programmes lead by the departments of Optometry, Nursing and Medical Science each offer valuable services to the local community.
  • COMMUNICATION: the university website has been redesigned so as to make it more user friendly. There are plans for research documentaries and for showcasing research via newspaper, radio and TV. An effort is being made to reach out to the non-scientific community through policy and media. There is awareness that pragmatic ways of packaging knowledge for dissemination need to be identified and put into practice.
  • MONITORING AND EVALUATION: to ensure RU sustainability and to improve existing RU strategies, Research Uptake audits will be undertaken periodically. These audits will cover skills, infrastructure, and feedback from communities and stakeholders.
 
Some indications of change at KNUST
  • Staff are registered for the DRUSSA postgraduate courses [r4d.dfid.gov.uk/pdf/outputs/drussa/CREST_postgrad_prog.pdf] run by the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology [CREST] [http://sun025.sun.ac.za/portal/page/portal/Arts/CREST] at the University of Stellenbosch [http://www.sun.ac.za] in South Africa. Currently, one KNUST staff member is working towards a PhD, two staff members are working towards MPhils and two have completed Postgraduate Short courses. 
  • There is now a Research Uptake page on the university website and research portal.
  • A strategic poster has been designed to create awareness of the value of Research Uptake. 
  • A refocus effort has seen the mandate of the Office of Grants and Research expand.
  • There is capacity building through DRUSSA’s Research Uptake Capacity Work Plan (five people from KNUST were strategically selected and are currently enrolled in various stages of training at CREST).
  • The annual students Trade and Technology Fair (TRATECH) is being given a new focus.
  • There is support of RU from KNUST management.
  • A business incubator has been set up at KNUST under the umbrella of the Centre for Business Development. 

 


The Vice-Chancellor’s Community Impact Programme was launched as part of the university’s vision to enhance development in the surrounding communities.  

V. A. Ankamah-Lomotey is Deputy Registrar (University Relations)
at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
http://www.knust.edu.gh
 
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