|Institutionalising Research Uptake at the University of Zambia|
|Wednesday, 06 August 2014 12:58|
At the recent SARIMA Conference in Gaborone Dr John Simwinga, Assistant Director at the Directorate of Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Zambia (UNZA), outlined steps taken by the university to institutionalise Research Uptake.
As an institution that has been in existence for almost 60 years the University of Zambia has research dating back to the late sixties, starting with basic research and then applied research related to specific social or industry related challenges. It therefore has an established research management infrastructure including ethics committees for Biomedical research, Humanities and Social Science research, and for Natural and Applied Sciences. There is a Research Board, which meets quarterly and considers research reports. In addition to these institutional level structures there are also structures at the Faculty level (in the form of a Dean or Director in charge of research), and at the department or unit level in the form of research co-ordinators.
Research promotion strategies
In order to increase research output UNZA’s research agenda also encourages collaborative research projects and provides “seed” money of K20000 (over $3000) to each faculty to kick start research projects. It also supports research by linking the researchers with government departments and industry in order to encourage uptake. As a result of this work the university has had three projects taken up by industry:
All this is supported by university policies including the Research Policy, the Research Policy Implementation Manual and the Intellectual Property Rights Document.
Making university research more visible
UNZA supports a number of forums where research can be promoted with people outside of the academic arena. These include:
With such a robust Research Uptake strategy what more can the University of Zambia do? Not content to sit back and relax the university continues to expand and enhance its work. It is setting up a Technology Transfer Office and Business Incubation Centre and has plans for a Research Centre with the appropriate infrastructure with an independent unit to audit and monitor research activities. In addition it continues to ensure that research agenda’s focus on the government’s economic and social development agenda.
Dr John Simwinga is the Assistant Director at the Directorate of Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Zambia. This blog is an adaptation of the original presentation by Dr Simwinga, and was informed by the background notes that accompanied this presentation.