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24 June 2019
Network News | Vol 1 No 2 | September 2012
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DRUSSA Network News is distributed quarterly and aims to build awareness of Research Uptake and Research Uptake Management (RUM).
In this edition of DRUSSA Network News:

Effectively communicating research for maximum impact


by Linda Cilliers


The folders on the computers of African researchers and scientists are full of   information that can benefit ordinary Africans and inform the work of policymakers, officials in national and local government, NGOs and CBOs, not to mention Regional Economic Communities like SADC, COMESA and ECOWAS. Yet, how much of this, often groundbreaking, research actually reaches those upon whom it can have an impact? Very little, says a study done for the UK National Commission for UNESCO in May this year.

What`s more, says the report titled, "The Need for an African Science News Service", African media often carry lengthy reports on research done in the United States and Europe, but fail to feature local research. In the preamble to the study, authors Julie Clayton and Marina Joubert say it`s considerably more difficult for African science journalists to obtain information about research being carried out within universities and other institutions on their own continent than about research in the developed world.


Launched earlier this year, DRUSSA directly addresses this glaring gap by working with universities to make African research more accessible. The programme tackles the problem of research not getting to wider audiences on three fronts:


-- by professionalising Research Uptake and Research Uptake Management and building the skills sets of individuals at universities involved in or responsible for disseminating research. DRUSSA offers a postgraduate programme that consists of short, accredited courses in Research Uptake and Utilisation as well as an MPhil and PhD programme in Science and Technology Studies (Specialisation in Research Uptake & Utilisation).

-- by consulting and collaborating with universities around strengthening these universities internal systems, structures and processes to facilitate effective communication of research.

-- by engaging a variety of audiences to create awareness of, contribute to and build the discourse around the emerging discipline of Research Uptake Management in the field of academic research management. This is done digitally by way of the DRUSSA blogsite and DRUSSA App as well on social media, namely Twitter (@DRUSSAfrica), Facebook and LinkedIn.

Read the full article.


Linda Cilliers is DRUSSA`s Online Media Specialist



Postgraduate short courses a hit with universities
by Nelius Boshoff
More than 40 participants from universities in Southern Africa are coming together this week to attend the first of the much anticipated short courses offered by the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. These academically accredited postgraduate courses are proving to be in high demand not only by universities participating in the five-year DRUSSA programme, but also by other institutions not directly involved. The first two short courses in a series on Research Uptake and Utilisation are “Science Utilisation and Impact” and “Science Communication” respectively.

DRUSSA is a five-year capacity-building programme for Sub-Saharan African researchers, research and publicity managers, extension officers, communication practitioners and knowledge intermediaries, and users of research evidence. Funded by UKAid, the aim is to strengthen universities` capacity to manage Research Uptake, primarily in the 24 universities that have been selected as a demonstration group, while at the same time stimulating interest among a wider group of universities and research institutions in the region.

Those attending the Science Utilisation and Impact course will be presented with the big picture in science utilisation, under the topics, “Science, the endless frontier” and “Science for use and impact”. They will also be exposed to generic models of knowledge utilisation and models that are more domain-specific, which include knowledge for policy and practice. The course will end with a discussion on key principles for managing Research Uptake, and what is involved in the development of a strategy for Research Uptake Management (RUM) at the institutional level.

The Science Communication course includes various components that will appeal to diverse institutional stakeholders. These include the context of science communication and the importance of a supportive institutional climate for science communication. Attention will also be given to the packaging of research for maximum appeal and various tools and practical issues when communicating science will be featured.

Both these two-day courses will be repeated in East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya, 5 to 8 November 2012) and in West Africa (Accra, Ghana, 19 to 22 November 2012). While the courses for East Africa have proven to be enormously popular and have already been filled, there are still a few places for West Africa courses, the cut-off date for registration being 12 October 2012.


Nelius Boshoff is a senior researcher at CREST



Policy documents in DRUSSA`s Research Uptake Management eLibrary (RUMeL)

by Emma Falk

Policies for higher education are essential at any university. They serve to establish the framework for university operations. They exist to ensure that universities` processes align with strategic directions, core principles, regulatory and governance responsibilities, while describing the institution`s position on an array of issues. This helps maintain consistent, institution-wide standards for both staff and students. As such, higher education institutions should strive to attain high-quality policies that reflect their needs and that compare with existing benchmarked policies. However, developing higher education policies can be a lengthy process that requires extensive planning, research and consultation prior to approval and implementation.

An aspect of the work that DRUSSA does with universities is to develop frameworks and policies for Research Uptake and its management through a range of activities, including benchmarking, onsite visits as well as learning and assessment meetings. To facilitate inter-institutional learning, DRUSSA is gathering existing and new policies and strategies of higher education institutions on Research Uptake and Research Uptake Management for its Research Uptake Management eLibrary (RUMeL), which is supported by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the lead partner on the programme. RUMeL builds on an existing ACU Policy Index, which provides  university policymakers and higher education professionals with an efficient way to identify and assess existing policies, practices and guidelines from various universities throughout the Commonwealth.

Still in its initial stages, RUMeL will cover a wide range of topics relevant to the development of Research Uptake Management policies and procedures.

If you would like to submit a policy or related document on research uptake please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Emma Falk is a research assistant at the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Economic benefits from Successful Research Uptake in SA`s Limpopo Province

by Prof Naftali Mollel
An innovative programme in the Limpopo Province of South Africa will see the creation of nearly 6,000 jobs, and possibly more. The Limpopo IDC Nguni Cattle Development Programme is an initiative of the Limpopo government in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the University of Limpopo. It is underpinned by research done at the Agricultural Research Council, Nguni Breeders` Society and the University of Limpopo.
The programme initiates rural farmers into the mainstream beef production industry and upgrades sustainable farming in the rural areas by reintroducing indigenous Nguni bloodlines. 

Farmers are loaned 30 pregnant heifers and a bull and have to pay back the loan within a five-year period, by providing the same number of heifers and a bull as progenies of the initial herd. Some farmers have been so successful that they have been able to pay back the loan within two-and-a-half years. Since its inception in 2006, 44 successful projects have been established and there has been wide uptake of the programme in the province.

South Africa has seen an increase in demand for beef, creating a shortage estimated at 340,000 cattle a year. Communal farmers in Limpopo own more than 720,000 heads of cattle, but they`re mostly excluded from the beef production industry, largely as a result of substandard farming methods. The gap in the market is sufficiently large and provides beef producers the opportunity to step in.

Read the full article


Prof Naftali Mollel is the Director of the Rural Development and Innovation Hub and DRUSSA Leader at the University of Limpopo.



Educational partnerships between Africa and Asia Pacific can benefit economies

by Thierry Claudien Uhawenimana


In a new blog on the DRUSSA blogsite, Kigali Health Institute Communications Officer Thierry Uhawenimana argues that there is a lot to be gained by universities in Africa and Asia Pacific if they form partnerships to learn from one another and cooperate through academic and other exchanges. Citing Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Singapore as countries whose economies have boomed in the wake of heavy investment in education, he makes the point that the best way for a country to achieve economic success is to invest in education at all levels.

In Rwanda, such partnerships have already produced significant uptake of research in the ICT, education and tourism sectors, with the Kigali Institute of Education organising collaboration with four Indian Universities and the University of South Africa in a range of academic programmes and disciplines. A partnership formed recently is that between the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC Kigali), commonly known as Kicukiro College of Technology, and the Korea Aerospace University.

He says to build strong economies, countries must gear their tertiary education and research activities towards the successful uptake of research and innovative economic development. Not only can this strengthen individual countries` economies, it can also lead to strong transboundary economic blocs if clusters of countries strive towards the same goal.

Read the full article


Thierry Claudien Uhawenimana is the Public Relations and Communications Officer at the Kigali Health Institute in Rwanda