|Snapshot: The new University of Rwanda’s big ambitions for research uptake capacity building|
|Thursday, 26 June 2014 12:35|
At INORMS2014 Prof. Dr-Ing. Verdiana Grace Masanja presented UoR’s Research Uptake objectives to increase production and use of scientific knowledge of international quality to contribute to Rwanda's development.
How Research Uptake is to be integrated into the five-year capacity building plan
It’s less than a year since University of Rwanda (UR) came into existence as one amalgamated institution. UR has developed a five-year Research Capacity Building plan with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
The overall objective of this Plan is to increase production and use of scientific knowledge of international quality to contribute to Rwanda's development.There is also a realisation that managing Research Uptake effectively to get research into use is now a measure that funders consider when directing funding towards the university.
The Plan comprises five objectives, with the final two objectives having a specific Research Uptake focus.
Using Research Uptake to increase use of research evidence and competences developed within the program in political decision and policy making in Rwanda.
The output of this objective is that whenever applicable, completion of research must include writing up a technical or policy brief and or a presentation to policy makers. The strategic outcome for this will be policymakers increasingly taking research into account in their decision-making. Performance indicators are ambitious and include: the number of policy briefs produced within the program, the number of policy-advising bodies that program researchers are part of, and the number of policy decisions that included references to program-supported research.
Using Research Uptake to increase the use of research evidence and competences produced within the program, by the Rwandan society at large.
To achieve the outcome of forging improved links between research and practice in order to address specific problems faced by practitioners and a range of organisations, goals have been put in place to ensure that research is regularly discussed with practitioners in the field in dedicated fora. The number of fora for interaction set up by researchers, how often they meet, and the uptake of research evidence will be tracked and mapped as performance indicators.
Another strategic outcome is to address specific problems faced by practitioners and a range of organisations. To this end, the majority of masters and PhD dissertations produced at the University should have a focus on identifying problems and providing researched solutions. The nature and percentage of MA and Ph.D dissertations that have included a research uptake process will be measured, as will the proportion of MA and Ph.D research that involves collaboration with organisations, firms and other practitioners.
In order to improve RU links to science, technology and innovation in Rwanda, research at UR should, whenever applicable, lead to submission of patent and copyright applications. Records are being kept of the number of patents/copyright applications achieved and approved, as well as countries these apply to.
Strategies are in place to increase the absorption of research-based products by public poverty alleviation initiatives, and by the private sector in Rwanda. When applicable, research should lead to or initiate product development (e.g. pesticides, crop and animal varieties, pharmaceutical products, technologies, etc.) Again, indicators are in place to analyse RU: these include the number of products that are developed either within or as a result of a research progam; the number of products that are taken up by poverty alleviation programs or commercial enterprises; as well as the number of firms and organisations that are created to develop and promote products that stem from program research.
Research Uptake Communications are also a priority at RU, with increased visibility of research results and debate on the uptake of research set as an RU goal. To achieve this research will be written up for publication in popular science publications, and communicated in effective formats to the media and the public. A tracking system charts the frequency of local and international media coverage of research results that stem from the program.
Institutional level Research Uptake
Integrating RU in institutional level policy and procedures, monitoring and evaluation using management tools for assessment and undertaking visibility activities are all elements in the performance contracts of individuals, school deans, college principals and central level research managers.
SIDA is funding RU capacity building activities including; training of research managers and researchers/ postgraduate students in RU (writing for popular science publications, preparing case studies and policy briefs, undertaking visibility activities such as holding stakeholder dissemination workshops, and entrepreneurial exhibitions and road shows).
With five years to achieve the goals and outcomes of the SIDA funded program, UR can begin to contribute significantly to the achievement of Rwanda’s national social and economic development.
Prof. Dr-Ing. Verdiana Grace Masanja