|Improving Research Dissemination and Linkages between Research Institutions and Commerce and Industry|
|Monday, 01 December 2014 16:43|
The theme of the 2014 WARIMA conference, held in Elizade, Nigeria from 24-26 November, was “Enhancing University-Government-Industry Research and Innovation Partnerships for local relevance and global competitiveness”. A round-table discussion featured the viewpoints of Federal ministries and agencies, the services and manufacturing industries, higher education bodies and WARIMA member universities. The consensus was that, at present, it is the readiness of university graduates to participate in corporate and entrepreneurial jobs that can have the most impact.
Institutionalising Research Uptake Management
The DRUSSA programme was featured in plenary session papers. Professor Kehinde Taiwo outlined Obafemi Awolowo University’s research uptake activities, noting that as the university has a strong innovation and technology focus, these resources are utilized to provide support for community projects, SMEs and government projects.
In a report to WARIMA members Ms Diana Coates outlined the progress made by the twenty-two universities participating in the DRUSSA programme to put in place internal management systems and processes and capacity to engage with key external stakeholders. After two consultative benchmarking processes in 2012 and 2014, emerging trends, successes and challenges had been identified. Notable among the trends is the increasing awareness of the demand for research to have impact and the support given to the programme by Vice-Chancellors and senior leadership. A mechanism favoured by the universities is to provide training and resources to encourage researchers to incorporate engagement, communication and dissemination of research results in their projects. The 2014 benchmarking results had revealed that universities have few professionals with science communication qualifications and skills, and while all utilize the media and public events to disseminate research, few use their websites or any social networking platforms.
It was interesting therefore that there were five additional papers presented by WARIMA members focused on the need for improvement in the ways the social and mass media outlets are used to disseminate research.
Professionalisation of Research Management
WARIMA members collaborated to convene a pre-conference Training Workshop for research administrators and managers. The training modules included supporting researchers to prepare proposals to comply with funder’s requirements, choosing appropriate research methodologies for the type of research to be undertaken and pre- and post grant administration of externally-funded research projects and programmes. Over forty members took advantage of the workshop to benefit from the certificated training.