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28 April 2017
Coming up: A Science Communication package for DRUSSA Universities Print
Monday, 18 January 2016 13:22

A training package based on user-identified priorities for sub-Saharan African universities’ external-facing engagement and Research Uptake communication modes is to be handed over in April 2016.

The demand for training resources comprising a digital training package, a train-the-trainer guide and trained trainers, has consistently been expressed by DRUSSA programme participants, who have recommended an in-service, short course format. The recommendation was that the course should be focused on the need for post-graduates and early career researchers to prepare themselves for the challenges of winning grants and contracts that require research to be relevant and accessible. Established researchers too, are increasingly required to engage with potential user groups who require evidence-based research findings. 

These user groups range from entrepreneurs to community leaders, policy makers, the funders of their research, and the general public.  As the DRUSSA programme draws to a close, the training package will become a useful legacy of the work that has been done over the past 5 years, will contribute to consolidating the integration of Research Uptake into institutional management systems, and extend the reach of research findings beyond academic audiences.

 

“As the DRUSSA programme draws to a close, the training package will become a useful legacy of the work that has been done over the past 5 years”

April event in Johannesburg
In April this year the DRUSSA universities’ nominees for Science Communication train-the-trainers course will meet in Johannesburg for an intensive learning event run by Marina Joubert, a Science Communication consultant with many years’ experience. The training package is the result of a year’s development work commencing with a user-needs survey conducted with DRUSSA universities.  Research Uptake Communicators at these Universities identified the priorities and importance of a range of topics and approaches for sub-Saharan African universities’ external-facing engagement and Research Uptake communication modes.

“The key consideration in developing and piloting the course has been that it should be fit for purpose”

Digital package
The digital materials resource will provide an extensive library that the trainers can use to adapt and customize their presentations, and the guide will illustrate a number of possible formats for training delivery.  The key consideration in developing and piloting the course has been that it should be fit for purpose; for example, adaptable for delivery in modular formats, adaptable for the level of experience (or not) of the trainees, and most importantly, that the training should be suitable for incorporation in universities’ existing post-graduate student and staff development programmes.


Diana Coates is Managing Director of Organisation Systems Design and DRUSSA Communications and Engagement Co-ordinator email ‪diana.coates@gmail.com  Website www.drussa.net

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