|Advancing responsible and ethical conduct of research at Kenyatta University|
|Monday, 13 October 2014 12:26|
Kenyatta University has been at the forefront of promoting responsible and ethical conduct of research among the staff members through the activities of the Initiative for Research, Innovation and Management (iRIM), and Partnership for Innovative Medical Education in Kenya (PRIME-K) programs.
Research integrity is an important aspect of the moral character and experience of any researcher or institution. It involves above all a commitment to intellectual honesty and personal responsibility for one's actions and to a range of practices that characterize responsible research conduct.
Good-quality research provides an objective and accurate picture of the differing circumstances and needs that exist within a society. It allows those in management to make sound and informed judgments about the issues that require attention and how they can best be tackled. Research also plays an essential role in identifying whether existing policies and regulations are working and what can be done to improve them. Kenyatta University has been at the forefront in promoting responsible and ethical conduct of research in the community among the staff members through the activities of the iRIM and PRIME-K programs.
Initiative for Research, Innovation and Management (iRIM)
iRIM is collaborative program between Kenyatta University, the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta National Hospital. The University of Washington provides mentorship with support funding from the National Institutes for Health. The program seeks to strengthen research and innovation management in the three institutions by standardizing research procedures, developing research infrastructure and building the capacity of researchers.
Capacity building strategy
Through the iRim program, Kenyatta University has developed an elaborate capacity-building strategy, that seeks to train all researchers and senior university managers on the principles of Responsible Ethical Conduct of Research. Already the program has trained 20 senior university managers and recently (September 2014) concluded training 30 researchers from the departments of Special Needs (persons with disabilities) and Early Childhood Studies. This was a specially tailored course for this vulnerable group of researchers that included researchers with visual impairments.
The training was stimulating with several suggestions on how the vulnerable groups at Kenyatta University could be incorporated into active conduct and uptake of research. These two training activities were jointly organized by the Institute for Research, Science and Technology and the School of Medicine. The latter received financial support from PRIME-K (Partnership for Innovative Medical Education in Kenya) project, another collaborative program with University of Nairobi that seeks to advance medical research and education among health institutions in the country.
Plans are underway for the ‘Ethical Conduct of Research’ training program to be rolled out to other schools and departments.
Publishing research results
The university has accelerated staff-member awareness of the importance of publishing their research in refereed journals as a research dissemination tool, with support from the PRIME-K project. This was achieved through manuscript-writing and journal-publishing training. The recent launch of the East and Central Africa Medical Journal (anchored in the School of Medicine) has encouraged staff to put their learning into action by publishing in this online peer-reviewed journal.
Mapping of research stakeholders at KU according to their areas of specialization
The objective of research stakeholder mapping at KU is to make it easier to route available research-funding opportunities to specific individuals, members or groups. Mapping will involve identifying individual key researchers according to their areas of specialization, while specific research groups, structures and processes will also be charted according to their relevant areas of interest. This process is being led by the Senior Research Administrator of the Institute for Research, Science and Technology.
In addition to the above activities, Kenyatta University has initiated several other mechanisms of research dissemination to stakeholders. These include participating in national and regional trade fairs, organizing an annual career and culture week (an international event hosted at the university), holding scientific conferences and participating in international ones and publishing a quarterly newsletter that dedicates a substantial section to Research Uptake. The university also has a vibrant FM radio station that airs discussions on research and progress of scientific knowledge to an audience of members and students.
Interactive question: Our specially tailored training course for researchers from the departments of Special Needs (persons with disabilities, including visual impairment) was stimulating with several suggestions on how these vulnerable researchers at Kenyatta University could be incorporated into active conduct and uptake of research. Have you participated in similar discussions, and if so do you have any useful insights to share?
Mr. Peter Mwirigi, Senior Research Administrator, Institute for Research, Science and Technology and Kenyatta University DRUSSA editorial committee member email@example.com,