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19 October 2017
Institutionalising Research Uptake at the University of Zambia Print
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 12:58
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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.

 

 

Research Management

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:

  • Improved heat resistant wheat variety by Dr. Davies Lungu;
  • The improved bean variety by Dr.Munyinda; and
  • The use of loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) for detecting the re-emerging human African trypanosomiasis (HAT)  by Prof. B. Namangala and his team

All this is supported by university policies including the Research Policy, the Research Policy Implementation Manual and the Intellectual Property Rights Document.

 

The university also supports research by linking the researchers with government departments and industry in order to encourage uptake

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:

  • Media Briefing sessions
  • Annual Open Days
  • Research findings seminars, which are open to the public and media
  • Annual School or Faculty research symposia, which are open to the public and the media
  • Exhibitions at national shows, such as the Trade Fair and the Agricultural and Commercial Show
  • Exhibitions at national symposia such as the Joint Annual Review of the Ministry of Education, which bring together policy makers with its cooperating partners

 

Constantly evolving

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.

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