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27 June 2017
Another point of view - research uptake isn’t all media buzz Print
Wednesday, 14 October 2015 09:29

The DRUSSA team recently visited a number of Southern African DRUSSA Universities and conducted workshops with Research Uptake teams on campus. Lauren Kansley, from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, talks about the workshop she attended and how it has influenced her thinking about the role of media liaison in the Research Uptake process.

As a media liaison for the largest university in the Western Province of South Africa my job usually entails chasing down reluctant academics and forcing them to “write” for me.

This uncomfortable relationship has seen some fantastic fruits like a greater appreciation of Research Uptake and greater brand recognition for CPUT as a whole but it is an on-going battle that I continue fighting with all guns blazing each day.

Recently I attended a Research Uptake training workshop hosted by DRUSSA. I expected to go in and have the academics who attended alongside me finally understand what great value I can offer their projects.

The Mind Shift

That did happen, but by far I think the biggest mind shift was my own. Thanks to a number of group exercises I finally understood where media and marketing slotted into the bigger research picture.

"Thanks to a number of group exercises I finally understood where media and marketing slotted into the bigger research picture"

The workshop was attended by 14 staff members ranging from academics to departmental research co-ordinators to marketing and communications specialists. Hosted by Hannah Halder from DRUSSA, the workshop was an opportunity to convene intend university stakeholders who can maximise the reach of potentially life-saving research projects.

Working in groups of four the workshop took participants through the phases of a research project, identifying the various stakeholders and where any media and marketing opportunities could be latched on to. It was a rare opportunity for academics and their media and marketing colleagues to sit alongside one another and project manage a research assignment from start to finish.

Reasons for success

I thought the workshop was a success for two reasons. Firstly the trainer was excellent at managing the variety of Research Uptake experience levels of participants. While the workshop was quite hands-on it was also very pacey so we moved quickly from point to point. Secondly as a media liaison for the institution I found it an invaluable opportunity to share a space with some of the most exciting researchers at CPUT. Plotting a research project from start to finish showed me the multitude of objectives that researchers are trying to achieve and ultimately marketing and media generally featured in the mid to medium range instead of the top billing I expected it to have.

"Plotting a research project from start to finish showed me the mulititude of objectives that researchers are trying to achieve and ultimately marketing and media generally featured in the mid to medium range instead of the top billing I expected it to have.”

This is not bad news though! It just means that I understand the researcher so much more now and at the end of the day they understood me too. And that makes an all-day workshop completely worth it!


Lauren Kansley is a Media Liaison Officer for CPUT

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