|Research Uptake Activities at Moi University: Disseminating Research Findings|
|Wednesday, 20 April 2016 20:02|
At the Research Communication workshop held in Johannesburg, South Africa recently, DRUSSA.net caught up with Silvia Matum and Luke Kibitok to talk about Research Uptake (RU) and dissemination activities at Moi University, as well as current and future training in RU for researchers.
At Moi University Research Uptake falls under the Directorate of Research, founded in 2014 under the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics, Research & Extension) and is headed by Prof. Simeon K. Mining a Doctor of Medicine and Professor of Immunology. It was previously known as the Department of Research & Development. A key aspect of RU is communicating research results to key stake holders. The Directorate has been in an uphill battle to convince researchers to bring their research work for uptake. The University does this in a number of ways including MoI University Institutional Repository. The university repository however is only as good as the information that it contains and it is an acknowledged challenge for universities to ensure that their researchers make the time to deposit their research outputs to populate the repository.
Training researchers to understand the value of research dissemination
To address this challenge the university conducted training for researchers on the institutional repository where researcher can submit their publications which are then made available on the university website. This is an important tool for dissemination. An added incentive, although not in monetary terms for researchers, is that their work is far more likely to be cited in Google Scholar which gives them international exposure. The research training was targeted specifically at university librarians, researchers and the postgraduate students. It was also important for the university’s Information Technology team to be there so that they could understand what the needs of the researchers and Institutional Repository managers are to be able to provide needed equipment such as servers.
Targeting specific audiences
In addition to submitting research papers to the institutional repository, Moi University through AMPATH and College of Health Sciences develops quarterly reports of research publications that are reviewed by the Publications Committee. The corresponding author for each reviewed publication is asked to provide information for AMPATH policy makers: “In no more than a paragraph and on the basis of the information your research reports, what should clinical leadership know that might affect AMPATH program policy?” This policy statement assists the researchers in promoting Research Uptake.
These short summary reports are then disseminated to key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health, some of the 47 counties in Kenya who have devolved functions for health, as well as International partners. Of particular interest is the fact that researchers provide, both in their summaries as well as in more depth in their research reports, insight into the policy implications of their research findings. The reports are also made available on the university website, as well as the Ampath website.
These dissemination initiatives are very valuable for the dissemination and uptake of research conducted by Moi University, and, as a sign of how valuable the university’s research is to policy makers, the Medicine has been commissioned by the Health Department to develop practical guidelines. The School has so far developed guidelines on Medical Surveillance, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and a Clinical Support System for integrated health care.
Team work: Working with other departments to strengthen Research Dissemination
The Research Uptake team at Moi University is a small team but they work with other Departments at the university to strengthen RU – not only the university library, as noted above, but also the Public Relations Officer, who assists them in getting media material together for conferences and also assists with editing responsibilities. The Director of Research who leads Research Uptake activities has a good relationship with the PR Officer and these good relations help to provide additional support to the small RU team.
Looking to the future
In any further RU training, say Silvia and Luke, the focus will firstly be the Leaders and Champions and members of faculties who would be nominated by the faculty Deans to take uptake at a higher level. The focus would be on the skills researchers need in order to promote their research findings – speaking and writing skills for different dissemination platforms. They would then be able to hand their skills on to other university staff and researchers within their faculties.
The Research Uptake team will also organize for uptake training by nominating people to attend these training sessions and their nominations would be informed by the monthly meetings of the Moi Graduate Studies Committee where all the Schools are represented, including the School of Medicine the biggest in the College of Health Sciences.
The Graduate Studies Committee meetings are a good event for the faculties to share their research information and are an important source of information for the RU team.
Silvia Matum and Luke Kibitok are members of the Research Communications Team at Moi University and university appointed DRUSSA Communicators.