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18 August 2017
The DRUSSA Digest | Vol 2 No 4 | February 2014
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The DRUSSA Digest is published online at Drussa.net and distributed electronically, four times a year. The Digest features articles about Research Uptake and Research Uptake Management (RUM) with a strong emphasis on the accomplishment and progress of the DRUSSA project. Please do forward this eDigest to your colleagues and suggest that they register as members of the DRUSSA Network.
 
 
IN BRIEF: THIS EDITION OF THE DRUSSA Digest
Dr John Kirkland, the DRUSSA project Leader, outlines the major work strands and approaches to institutionalized Research Uptake. We feature strategic insights on how the DRUSSA Digest is evolving to responding to your feedback about your preferred ways of receiving communications from DRUSSA. We've also taken into consideration the kind of infomation you have told us you are interested in and adjusted our line up accordingly. In direct response you'll find features about what the DRUSSA universities are doing to incorporate Research Uptake; Research Uptake success stories to inspire emulation; for your own career skills and to accordingly increase Research Uptake skills capacity in your university, a practical 'How To' Research Uptake Communication [RUC] toolkit that includes useful guidelines, tools, tips and examples, as well as useable templates to run your own RUC Campaigns.  
IMPORTANT EVENTS: The DRUSSA project is working together with key African networks and associations so be sure to check our 'Events' section for events of consequence, including the annual WARIMA and SARIMA conferences, and the international workshop run by DRUSSA at INORMS 2014 to promote the professionalization of Research Uptake Management.
We hope you find this an interesting read. Please do follow the links to the full blogs on www.drussa.net, and add any feedback or comments to particular features there. If you have any suggestions or feedback we would love to hear from you. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Half-time Report

by Dr John Kirkland

The DRUSSA benchmarking and leadership event in March will mark the half-way point for the programme. So it is a good time to consider what has been achieved, and to announce the priorities for the next two-and-a-half years.

DRUSSA can already claim to have succeeded in pushing Research Uptake Management up the Sub-Saharan African universities’ development research agenda. A new MPhil and PhD specialisation, Research Uptake and Utilisation in Science and Technology Studies is a core offering from the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at the University of Stellenbosch. Research Uptake case studies have been commissioned that will help pinpoint key determinants of success and failure in getting research
into use.   

DRUSSA is on the agenda of the key research and innovation management associations and research networks in Africa and, thanks to an extension to the scope of the programme, there is a new strand of work with policymakers. In short, the project is well and truly firing on all cylinders!

Ensuring long-term, sustainable change within the universities’ structures and capacity will be our main focus for the next two-and-a-half years. There will be more opportunities for universities to learn from and support one another.

Read the full blog

Dr John Kirkland is the DRUSSA Lead and Deputy Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities
 
 

In conversation with University of Nairobi`s Prof Lucy Irungu

The DRUSSA partner universities have come a long way since the programme launch in June 2012, many of them making excellent progress toward embedding Research Uptake and Research Uptake Management into their institutional structures. They have made good use of opportunities available through the DRUSSA postgraduate programme to broaden the skills sets of staff members. The University of Nairobi was one of the first the DRUSSA team visited for a campus implementation event. We spoke with DRUSSA Leader and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Production and Extension, Prof Lucy Irungu, to find out what has changed since those early days.
 

UFH Research Uptake Policy going strong
 
by Prof Gideon de Wet

The University of Fort Hare in South Africa has a well-established history and track record of doing research. However, the intensity and the urgency to firmly intitutionalise a culture of research only began around 2004. In 2008/9, the university embarked on a strategic repositioning and a new strategic research plan had to be formulated. The process was a thoroughly consultative one with internally and externally based stakeholders all contributing towards the plan. The UFH Strategic Research Plan was formally approved and accepted by the university structures in 2009. Since we are learning more and more about the challenges we need to confront, the policy is inevitably a work in progress.

Read the full blog

Prof Gideon De Wet is the DRUSSA Leader and Executive Dean: Research and Development of the Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre at the University of Fort Hare in
South Africa.
 
 
 

Students on the Alice campus
of the University of Fort Hare
 

Prof S Mpepereki: Pulling out all the stops for the sake of worthwhile science
 
by Dr Nelius Boshoff

Some months ago, Dr Nelius Boshoff paid a visit to the University of Zimbabwe and interviewed Prof Sheunesu Mpepereki, the Chairman of the Research Board, about a project on science funding councils in African countries. During the discussion Prof Mpepereki deviated from the topic of discussion and spoke about his involvement in soya bean research. Dr Boshoff found the project fascinating and on topic for DRUSSA, so he wrote this article.
 
“I have always lived this philosophy—that science must deliver food on the farmers’ tables, [and put] money in their pockets. That is the only way it can be worthwhile science. If hunger and malnutrition continue to ravage the village, I cannot claim to be a scientist who knows about agriculture and production.”

Prof Shenesu Mpepereki, the Chairman of the Research Board at the University of Zimbabwe, means these words—that’s for sure. The first prize he won in the 2009/10 Impact Research and Science in Africa (IMPRESSA) competition attests to that. The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) awarded him the prize for his outstanding soya bean research and community outreach in Zimbabwe. All because he took the challenge to move into unexplored research areas with his soya bean field research. His determination to secure the economic welfare of many Zimbabweans has been recognised again with the Zimbabwean Presidential Award for Distinguished Science and Technology bestowed on him in 2013.

Read the full interview   

Dr Nelius Boshoff is a senior researcher at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
 

Research Uptake: Knowledge to policy
 
In a new series, Senior Researcher at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) Dr Sara Grobbelaar selectively reviews a number of concepts in the field of knowledge to policy. The topic has been defined from a range of angles, with various authors from wide-ranging disciplines and research traditions having studied the role of knowledge in the policy-making process. 
 
Dr Grobbelaar identifies four areas that will serve as a framework within which to review some concepts in the knowledge-to-policy literature:
 
  • Part I: Tensions between researchers, policy analysts and politicians
  • Part II: A meta-analysis of the knowledge-to-policy field
  • Part III: New approaches to agenda analysis and policy formation
  • Part IV: Towards synthetic theories of policy change
 
She provides a short reference guide to the literature in each part and, where relevant, highlights practical implications, making suggestions on how to utilise these heuristics/theories and frameworks. She also looks at whether and, if applicable, how the material under discussion has been applied to in the African context.
 
Read the full blog

Dr Sara Grobbelaar is a senior researcher at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
 
 

Career skills toolkit: How to run a Publishing for Research Uptake Campaign
 
by Louise McCann

Collaboratively creating the PLATFORM2013 print and digital publication with the DRUSSA universities was both challenging and rewarding. Several DRUSSA campaigns have had a PLATFORM2013 focus: the launch campaign; the blog-series campaign that featured every article from PLATFORM2013; and the concurrent social media campaign.

The DRUSSA universities and network have participated both actively and quietly in these campaigns, with our figures showing that the number of people participating in the Research Uptake conversation is steadily growing.

The next related campaign is a seven-part blog series titled How to run a ‘Publishing for Research Uptake Campaign’. While this blog series draws on learnings from the PLATFORM2013 campaign, information is presented so as to be adaptable and scalable to suit your particular project`s needs and purpose. The series includes practical guidelines, useful and useable tools, tips, examples and templates – and covers the 'Publishing for Research Uptake Campaign' process from strategy to implementation, monitoring and reporting. Follow this Research Uptake career-skills series on www.drussa.net from 19 February to 5 March
 
Read the full blog

Louise McCann is a consultant to Organisation Systems Design and the Editor of PLATFORM2013
 

Leadership and Benchmarking: A process of Learning
 
by Liam Roberts

Nearly two years ago, the DRUSSA Programme was inaugurated with a Leadership and Benchmarking event in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Leaders and Champions attending the event have since successfully initiated a Research Uptake project at each university, that drives institutional change to establish sustainable systems for Research Uptake.

The starting point of the 2012 event and the project at each university was the DRUSSA Benchmarking Survey. This survey was the first in-depth insight into the workings of the member DRUSSA universities.The survey results demonstrated the many ways in which Research Uptake took place, and provided the basis for experiences to be shared and good practices identified. No one model was acclaimed as a template for others, as each university develops Research Uptake systems that are appropriate for and aligned to its own context.

This is why the second DRUSSA Benchmarking Survey is such an important part of the overall programme of change. Launched in January 2014, the second benchmarking process provides an environment to co-learn about the systems either planned for, or already in place, at DRUSSA universities, but also to learn about the degree of structural and capacity change that has taken place over the past two years.

Read the full blog

Liam Roberts is a Programme Officer (Research) at the Association of Commonwealth Universities
 

DRUSSA Communications Survey

by Diana Coates

Email is most favoured as the most accessible and user-friendly delivery mode for the DRUSSA Community. The 2013 DRUSSA Communications survey revealed that  of the various delivery modes used, emails addressed to a person and received directly are seen to be most important and that newsletters received by email are perceived to be important and helpful, particularly in the way they link to content on the DRUSSA.net site.

Respondents in Africa, may use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but overwhelmingly prefer to access Research Uptake content through the DRUSSA site using a computer or laptop that uses the workplace connectivity channels. [Note: From our side, the number of people following DRUSSA's social media sites is however steadily growing, which is an interesting broader trend.]

The Coffee Station (Mkahawa) the closed interactive discussion platform for the DRUSSA Community was perceived to be important and useful by too small a number of the Community so the decision has been made to archive the platform and its content.
 
What does this mean for DRUSSA’s Community and Networkers?   

Some change in email delivery formats – fewer, but content-rich newsletters, and more alerts about curated content on DRUSSA.net.   DRUSSA friends, in these days of information overload, prefer to have a regular, concise information-push service.  DRUSSA.net will present the public face of the DRUSSA project – more curated material from the universities – more useful and print-ready toolkits – more ‘RUM in Action’.
 
 
Diana Coates is the Managing Director of Organisation Systems Design and the DRUSSA engagement and communications coordinator
 

Events
 
As 2014 kicks off, the DRUSSA activities are filling up the calendar. The new intake of DRUSSA MPhil and PhD students attended the first study block  at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in mid-February.

The DRUSSA Leadership and Benchmarking II event will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 12 to 14  March.

The DRUSSA 2013 short courses follow immediately after at CREST, University of Stellenbosch from 17 to 20 March. The first module will be devoted to Bibliometrics and second to Scientometrics. The courses are fully subscribed.
 
The 7th WARIMA Conference International Conference and Workshop will take place from 2 to 7 March at the University of Jos in Nigeria, around the theme, Networking: A key to Advancing Research Management and Innovation in West Africa.  A panel from DRUSSA universities will present a paper on integrating Research Uptake into Research Management.

SARIMA has put out a call for abstracts for its 2014 conference that will run from 6 to 10 July in Gaborone, Botswana. DRUSSA friends are urged to submit their abstract and to attend the DRUSSA paper presentation.

DRUSSA has been fortunate to secure a workshop session at the 2014 INORMS Conference in Washington DC running from 10 to 13 April 2014. The workshop session, entitled Getting Research Into Use by Policy-Makers and Practitioners: Research Uptake Management, a New Research Management Specialisation is separate to the main programme.

If you are in Washington DC on Thursday 10 April, register for the half-day programme and participate in the drive for the professionalisation of Research Uptake.
 

 

DRUSSA Digest is published quarterly. It is available on the DRUSSA blogsite, the DRUSSA App(register here to get the app) and via email (if you`re registered on the DRUSSA Network).
 
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