|Kenyatta University has an established culture of Research Uptake|
|Monday, 18 January 2016 11:48|
Kenyatta University continues to build a strong and dynamic research culture that enriches academic experience, creates new knowledge across disciplines, and helps improve the economic, social, and cultural vitality of the country, region and beyond. Research continues to be an important catalyst for development and with the country’s effort geared towards middle income economy, the University recognizes that creation, adaption and use of knowledge are among the critical factors necessary for rapid economic growth and development.
The University appreciates that knowledge translation is important in influencing policy and practice and thereby responding to the society’s needs and challenges of today and the future. In order to continue strengthening Research Uptake, the University has put in place more avenues aimed at amplifying the need to include stakeholder engagement and communication in research activities at the University, as outlined below.
Embedding Research Uptake in Research Proposals
The Vice-Chancellor’s Research grant funds university research projects identified through an annual call for proposals. During 2015’s call Research Uptake was featured as one of the thematic areas to encourage research on the role and importance of Research Uptake and use, on proposed models for better uptake, and, amongst others, on research incentives to promote uptake and communications strategies to support uptake.
Role of communication and capacity building within uptake
Strategy is key in order to fully realize our objective of embedding uptake, capacity building and communication. The first cohort of research communicators training took place towards the end of June, with participants including representatives from all departments within the University. The skills and tools acquired at the Kigali Research Communicator’s Workshop were instrumental in engaging and inducting the team in to the role of communicators. The participants were tasked with identifying and communicating research projects with national development and poverty reduction aspects. The selected research projects were further vetted by a committee at the divisional level before release.
Kenyatta University has clear structures and systems in place to internalize Research Uptake activities as a major component of research not only at the tail end of a research project but right at the initial stage, and, as a main component in the activity. This is so as to encourage community/stakeholder buy-in, partnership and support across the stages of the research project, resulting in actualization of the research to policy and practice and/or improved quality of life to the end users.
The University requires departments/schools to periodically hold seminars/workshops where faculty members share their experiences on research activities undertaken and seminars, workshops and conferences attended. As part of this meeting relevant stakeholders are called in to participate and gain insight on what shared information is potentially useful in terms of influencing policies, and in soliciting for support to drive viable initiatives to have a practical impact at grassroots level.
Using Websites to Amplify Research News
In addition the University continues with its other Research Uptake support functions, including the Division of Research, Innovation and Outreach (RIO) webpage. This is one of the platforms set up by the division to provide publically accessible information on the various research programme and innovations being undertaken by members of the Kenyatta University community. It also amplifies research and innovations that support initiatives that transforms the lives of communities as well as provide solutions to everyday challenges. There are a number of articles written by Violet Tindi, the University’s Research Uptake Communicator and these can be accessed at http://research.ku.ac.ke/index.php/en/latest-news
Violet Sweeney Tindi is Kenyatta University’s DRUSSA Research Uptake Communicator, based in the Division of Research, Innovation and Outreach.