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13 December 2017
DRUSSA Benchmarking Report 2016: the Research Uptake Landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa Print
Friday, 24 June 2016 09:22

The final DRUSSA Benchmarking Report is now available. A draft was discussed at the Benchmarking Conference in late April. This final report takes into account the discussions at the Conference and should be read in conjuction with the Consensus document, which provides a succinct guide to motivate sustainable research uptake systems and ways of working in and across DRUSSA partner universities, going forward. 

 

Benchmarking Report: Looking Back

The Benchmarking Report provides an overview of progress at DRUSSA Universities since 2012 in terms of:

  • Research Uptake Strategy
  • Research Uptake Processes
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Dissemination and Communication
  • Sustainability (2016)


The report focuses on some of the most significant areas of change, relative to the baseline of information collected in 2012. One notable area of change concerns the establishment of new offices to provide management of research uptake activity, or the incorporation of research uptake management into existing offices or structures.

There has also been a significant growth in reported collaboration between offices and units within universities which share an interest or a role in the management of research uptake, including libraries, public relations offices, marketing offices, IT units, extension offices, and research management offices. The interest of Vice-Chancellors’ Offices is seem to be particularly influential.

"The highest levels of university management were perceived, on balance, to have the highest level of enthusiasm for research uptake activity, which is an essential component to achieving implementation of uptake processes within the entire institution"

The survey findings suggest a trend towards an increased awareness of, and support for, research uptake among senior university leaders. The highest levels of university management were perceived, on balance, to have the highest level of enthusiasm for research uptake activity, which is an essential component to achieving implementation of uptake processes within the entire institution.

The survey also noted strong examples of stakeholder engagement and the wider communication of research, with evidence of growth between 2012 and 2016 including more effective use of university media such as newsletters and radio stations, open days which government and civil society leaders attend and establishment of new channels, such as dedicated research webpages.

The majority of survey respondents regard engagement with external stakeholders to be either a high or a very high priority.  These findings represents a dramatic change from 2012, when most respondents expressed interest in research uptake, but generally reported that research uptake had not yet been established as an institutional priority.

The Conference Consensus identifies critical factors that will sustain Research Uptake

DRUSSA Conference Consensus document: looking forward

The Benchmarking Conference provided a forum for delegates to discuss the 2016 Benchmarking Report, and to reflect on their collective experience over the last five years in order to identify core messages and lessons for future action, and tools to motivate and support consolidation of research uptake systems and processes.

The Conference Consensus document is organised into four sections:

  1. Goals – institutional medium and long term objectives to support sustainable research uptake systems
  2. Tools – approaches that can be taken to achieve these goals
  3. Recommendations for Vice Chancellors’ - messages that can support university leaders and Vice Chancellors in their own efforts to support research uptake systems at their university
  4. Good Practice Statements - ten Statements voted as most important to guide and support research uptake systems in diverse institutional contexts

The Conference Consensus identifies critical factors that will sustain Research Uptake:

  • A balanced approach to supporting the institutional research endeavour that includes strategic support for basic, applied, industry-facing and public-facing research
  • Facilitation of a culture that supports and incentivises research uptake, as well as management of research uptake systems
  • Training of management and professional staff as well as academics and researchers in research uptake engagement and communication processes
  • A formal role for Vice-Chancellors to act as knowledgeable ambassadors for their university’s research (its utility and relevance to university stakeholders) 
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