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23 August 2017
RUM in Action


When Research Uptake Communications Comes Alive

The series of three structured and mentored Research Uptake Communications (RUC) training activities run by DRUSSA partner Organisation Systems Design over a  five-year period  for the DRUSSA programme culminated with a sense of a positive onward journey. A fitting place to begin a retrospective look at the RUC Campaigns is the 6 April 2016, the day fifty-three RUC course participants gathered in one room in Johannesburg, South Africa as part of the face-to-face element of the RUC2016 activity. It was a rare opportunity for this RUC community, who have networked digitally and only met at one previous event, to be in the same physical location.

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Working with Policy Makers

How research is undertaken, made available, accessed, applied and used is at the heart of Research Uptake. In order to address a range of developmental challenges research needs to be disseminated outside the academic domain to meet policy- and decision-makers needs for reliable evidence from science, technology and social science research. The DRUSSA programme piloted an approach to support capacity building for government staff to access and use research evidence. The purpose is to have university researchers and ministry advisors better understand and appreciate how and when research evidence can inform policy decision-making.

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Online Learning Resource

Over the five years of the Programme the selection of resources to support Research Uptake capacity strengthening has been ongoing, curated and published on DRUSSA.net by the Communication and Engagement unit, directed and run by Organisation Systems Design in South Africa. Karrine Saunders, the ACU's DRUSSA Programme Manager, takes us through the key resources and their availability in the future.

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Strong indicators for the sustainability of Research Uptake in Africa

At this stage of the DRUSSA programme there is a tendency to focus our attention to questions of sustainability. Will the new Research Uptake expertise and skills be further embedded, and will the universities continue to support institutional research culture shifts? How will the universities’ adapted policy and strategy frameworks support Research Uptake in the medium- and long-term?

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Contemplating the achievements of the DRUSSA Universities

John Kirkland, DRUSSA Lead and Deputy Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, reflects on the Programme’s success in supporting Research Uptake capacity at African universities.

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University Leaders take over the institutional Research Uptake baton

At a symposium on the side of the recent Commonwealth Conference of University Leaders in Accra Ghana, Vice-Chancellors from the DRUSSA universities resolved to continue to provide strategic support for the consolidation of research uptake into institutional systems and processes and individuals’  key research process competencies. 

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The role of experiential learning during a DRUSSA Fellowship Programme

As part of the DRUSSA Fellowship Programme Professor John Munene from Makerere University worked with the Ugandan Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (MoESTS) to strengthen/enhance the use of research evidence to inform its policy formulation, implementation and evaluation mandate.  He explains the role of experiential learning in building government capacity to use evidence.

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Bridging the Gap between Academic Research and Energy Policy in Uganda

The DRUSSA program support for Fellowships in Uganda aims to promote more use of evidence-based policies by enhancing the processes for interaction and networking between researchers and policy-makers. DRUSSA Fellow Dr Geofrey Bakkabulindi from Makerere University was based at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) of Uganda from December 2015 to May 2016 and worked with ministry officlals on the review of the National Energy Policy for Uganda (2002). Dr Bakkabulindi recounts his experiences.

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DRUSSA Universities write about Research Uptake: A Collection

As the Programme comes to an end the Communications and Engagement team has collated a Collection of Research Uptake stories from the DRUSSA Universities that have been published on DRUSSA.net. This Collection provides a view of DRUSSA Universities Research Uptake activities, reflects the diversity of Research Uptake activities and also the depth of Research Uptake capacity at DRUSSA Universities. 

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DRUSSA Benchmarking Report 2016: the Research Uptake Landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa

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. 

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2016 DRUSSA Benchmarking Conference

altaltThe third DRUSSA Benchmarking and Leadership Conference took place in Mauritius from 25 to 27 April – and, while this may have been the last such Conference the message that rang out from the proceedings was that this did not represent the end of the road. If anything, as one delegate put it, this was only “the end of the beginning”.

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Sustainable Research Uptake Capacity at the DRUSSA Universities

The DRUSSA Programme is delighted to introduce the 2016 DRUSSA Benchmarking Survey Report, the third (and the final) such report in the series. It provides longitudinal evidence of the levels and types of Research Uptake capacity strengthening that the DRUSSA universities have undertaken in the period 2012 – 2016.

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DRUSSA Fellowship: working with the Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD) Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana

As part of our series of interviews with DRUSSA Fellows, we talked to Dr Rose Omari, who has been appointed as a Fellow in the Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD) Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana. The Fellowships are a way of linking the supply (universities) and demand (government) side of Research Uptake and her placement allows WIAD in-house access to research expertise from the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) – which is one of the thirteen research institutes of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Ghana.

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Working with Government in Ghana to strengthen policy-academia ties

The DRUSSA programme has been working with academic institutions and government departments in Ghana and Uganda in order to link the supply and demand side of Research Uptake. This is being done through symposia, professional development courses and a Fellowship scheme which places academics in government departments, allowing in-house government access to research expertise. Dr James Atta Peprah (from the Microfinance Unit in the Department of Economics at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana) participated in the Fellowship scheme and worked with the Ministry of Trade and Industry. He shared some of his experiences with us.


 

"I also took part in Credit Policy deliberations which are ongoing at the Ministry. Credit issues are one of my research areas so I was able to make significant inputs to the document (still ongoing). My contributions were very much appreciated."

 

Tell us about the activities that you initiated working in the department

At the Ministry, I have had several consultation with the staff. First I took part in stakeholders deliberations to draft the Ghana Sugar Policy during which I offered a lot of suggestions and inputs into the policy document. For example I made recommendations on the fact that the local people should be strongly involved in the activities. I reviewed similar documents that exist from other countries to improve the policy document.

I also took part in Credit Policy deliberations which are ongoing at the Ministry. Credit issues are one of my research areas so I was able to make significant inputs to the document (still ongoing). My contributions were very much appreciated.

I also spent time developing a paper entitled Academic research and policy gap: What might be going wrong? The paper is based on interviewsconducted to solicit views on why policy makers do not, or find it difficult to use academic research findings in their work. Two sets of questionnaires were developed for policy makers and academic researchers from selected public universities. The Ministry was much involved in the data collection for the paper.The items in the questionnaire focused on perceived problems that policy makers face in using research findings for policy formulation. A brief will be prepared from the peer reviewed paper to share with the Ministry, with the assistance from the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute STEPRI – CSIR (the implementation agency of the Fellowship scheme in Ghana).

 

Do you feel overall that there was an acknowledgement that academic research can play a role in the policy making process, and what have you learned about the ways in which researchers can present their information in more usable ways?

My Department at the University is thinking about how to collaborate with the Ministry in terms of policy oriented research. You have to note that the Provost of my College endorsed my working with the Ministry. There are plans to establish long-term relationship with the Ministry so that at the end of my Fellowship another Faculty member can be placed. In fact involving the students in the research I am currently doing at the Ministry has also benefited the students a lot and I hope to access data from the Ministry to be used by students in my department at the University. 

"In order for academic research findings to be relevant for policy, they should be written up in plain language and should be free from ‘jargon’. What policy makers need is recommendations that are relevant to the issues under consideration."

Policy makers are of the view that academic research findings are usually based on theoretical assumptions. In their view, in general, research findings do not really reflect the reality of what policy makers at the Ministries have to consider. Policy makers tend not to understand the ‘language’ of academia. In order for academic research findings to be relevant for policy, they should be written up in plain language and should be free from ‘jargon’. What policy makers need is recommendations that are relevant to the issues under consideration.

 

What is the general feeling amongst policy makers that you have come across about the role of research in the policy process as well as the role that they would like universities to play in the research/policy arena?

Policy makers see the need for using academic research findings in the policy formulation and implementation processes. The major problem has always been the ‘gap’. The gap emanates from several sources. For example, the policy makers do not know the kind of research that the academic staff of Universities are conducting. Conversely, the academic staff do not also know the kind of research that policy makers are interested in, and this creates the mismatch between the academic research findings and policy making. Another major issue is the way research findings are communicated to the policy makers. The policy maker may find it difficult to understand results which may (in the case of economic research) be full of econometric regressions. They would like universities to do research that is relevant and accessible.

 

If you were asked to identify two or three challenges that face universities in engaging with policymakers what would they be?

There are a host of challenges but let me mention just three. Among the key challenges is access to empirical data from the Ministries. It is sad to note that ministries are not always comfortable to give out empirical data to be used for research.

Politics and policy implementation cannot be delinked. Policy makers are more often than not having to satisfy politicians in terms of their work. For that matter they are influenced more by politicians more than those in the academia. As a result they sometimes see no need to think about findings of academic research thus making academic research findings uptake very low.

Finally, academics generally perceive that the focus of academic research, as I found out in my research, is not to feed into policy per se but for academic progression. The dominate notion of ‘publish or perish’ in the academia does not really motivate the university academic staff to engage in research for policy unless it is academically rigorous.

Going forward I think universities need to encourage academic staff to engage in policy oriented research and policy briefs for the purposes of their promotion. There should be a policy on data availability from the Ministries to the Universities. 


Dr James Atta Peprah is a Senior Lecturer in the Microfinance Unit of the Department of Economics at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana and participant in the DRUSSA Fellowship Programme

 
High Level Buy-In For Research Uptake At KNUST

As part of the final year of operation of the DRUSSA programme, a team is undertaking a series of support visits to member universities to make the case for consolidating management of research uptake and promotion of the university research uptake agenda. Prior to 2015 year-end the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Research Uptake team welcomed the Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) team .

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DRUSSA’s Research Uptake Communication Peer-learning Approach

RUC2016, the fourth activity in the Research Uptake Communications (RUC) series is underway, integrating digital and face-to-face team-mentored learning exercises that guide each team to strategise, plan and complete a RUC campaign.

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Linking Universities and Government in Uganda: The DRUSSA Fellowship Programme

During 2015 DRUSSA implemented a Fellowship Programme in Uganda and Ghana. As part of the programme Prof. Dr. Eng. Noble Banadda, from Makerere University was placed in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in Uganda. He tells DRUSSA about the complexities of Evidence Informed Policy Making in Uganda.

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Coming up: A Science Communication package for DRUSSA Universities

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.

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DRUSSA Universities Track Cases of Engaged Research

As one of the results of the DRUSSA programme member universities are fully aware that effective Research Uptake isn’t something that is added on to the end of a project, should time allow. Research Uptake can be “built-in” to the research process from the very start. It involves identifying external stakeholders who need, can relate to, adopt and utilise research findings; building reliable channels of engagement and communication with them; and getting the language right. Sustainable partnerships can grow from such positive experiences, making Research Uptake even more effective in subsequent projects, as well.

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Research Uptake Strategy at the University of Fort Hare

In an intensive workshop the University of Fort Hare (UFH)’s Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre (GMRDC) identified research uptake priority areas, identified key internal and external institutional stakeholders and developed a road map for taking the UFH Research Uptake Strategy forward.

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Research Uptake for societal empowerment and sustainability

A two day Research Uptake Sensitisation and Planning Event was held by the DRUSSA Universities in West Africa, and hosted by University of Ibadan. There were thirty delegates from Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Calabar and University of Ibadan. Professor Oyeronke A. Odunola, Director of the University of Ibadan’s Research Management Office, who coordinated the event, reports on the success stories and challenges that were shared.

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Research Uptake Management Working Group – RUMWG

The RUMWG group will soon commence work on ‘Edition Two: A Framework  for Strategy - Institutionalising Research Uptake'

With the benefit of a third year of experience in guiding activities for organizational change, advocating for resources, and embedding institutional Research Uptake capacity requirements into policy and practice, the Research Uptake Management Working Group (RUMWG) convenes again in November 2015 to update and extend the subject matter of the Framework for Strategy. The second edition will be published and disseminated in March 2016.

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Southern African DRUSSA Regional Meeting

The DRUSSA team visited a number of Southern African universities during September, and in October met with the University of Botswana (UB), University of Zambia (UZ) and the Zimbabwean National University of Science and Technology (NUST) at a regional workshop held at the University of Botswana. DRUSSA.net interviews Dr B. Mogodisheng Sekhwela who provides an overview of the discussions.

 

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Knowledge Transfer at the University of Mauritius

The University of Mauritius has set up a Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO), which aims to provide a strong link between the university, government, industry, and the broader community. This will increase the visibility of research conducted by academics and make it more accessible, a key part of Research Uptake Management (RUM), which is at the core of the DRUSSA Programme.

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Another point of view - research uptake isn’t all media buzz

The DRUSSA team recently visited a number of Southern African DRUSSA Universities and conducted workshops with Research Uptake teams on campus. Lauren Kansley, from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, talks about the workshop she attended and how it has influenced her thinking about the role of media liaison in the Research Uptake process.

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DRUSSA Research Uptake Capacity - Benchmarking III

Sharing and learning from good practice and assessing change is at the heart of the DRUSSA programme. That is why we are delighted to announce the third (and final) DRUSSA Benchmarking Process launched on 12 October 2015. As always, sharing of the survey results will be an opportunity to learn from and communicate examples of institutional change and DRUSSA universities’ successes.

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Training the Trainer for Research Uptake Communications (RUC)

In an interview with DRUSSA.net, Dr Regina Ejemot-Nwadiaro, from the College of Medical Sciences Department of Public Health at the University of Calabar shares her thoughts on the Research Uptake Communicators (RUC) course held in Rwanda earlier this year.

The University of Calabar has a strong research focus, with research ranging from tropical diseases to biogass energy from waste. As part of its mandate the university disseminates research findings to interested stakeholders in a variety of ways so that the research can have real impact. Dr Ejemot-Nwadiaro, a member of the Research Uptake Team at University of Calabar participated in the annual Research Uptake Communication mentoring campaign which resulted in each of the DRUSSA universities producing a Research Uptake blog for publication on their own university’s, and the DRUSSA.net website. We interviewed her on the benefits the mentoring and guidance has had for her university.

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Bridging the Gap between Research and Policy: the DRUSSA Fellowship Programme in Ghana

The DRUSSA programme has been working with academic institutions and government departments in Ghana and Uganda in order to link the supply and demand side of Research Uptake, through Symposia, Executive Education courses and a Fellowship scheme that places academics in government departments, allowing in-house government access to research expertise.One of the Fellows in Ghana, Dr George Adu, shares his experiences.

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Exploring Research Utilisation at the University of Ibadan

Research Uptake is a key responsibility for research managers at universities but very often it is something that is learned “on the job” with little opportunity to reflect on the theory and best practices. Dr Eme Owoaje from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria is a DRUSSA-sponsored MPhil student in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST). She shares her experiences of learning from DRUSSA academic programme, from DRUSSA colleagues and how it influenced her role as the Director of the Research Management Office.

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The DRUSSA short course learning resource

The DRUSSA Short course learning resource was developed for DRUSSA Universities in support of their Research Uptake capacity strengthening initiatives.

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The DRUSSA literature review on Knowledge Utilisation

As part of the DRUSSA programme, a literature review has been conducted in the field of Knowledge Utilisation.  It is a resource that contains six essays on key topics.  We believe that this report contains topics relevant to scholars and practitioners interested in learning more about the extant literature on research uptake and utilisation.

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DRUSSA Fellowship Programme links Universities and Ministries in Uganda

The DRUSSA Fellowship programme has been in place for six months and is proving to be a worthwhile initiative. We share the experiences of three fellows in Uganda based on articles written for a dedicated blogspot and a further interview with Annabella Habinka, one of the Fellows.

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DRUSSA Vice-Chancellors Support Permanent Research Uptake Capacity

The report on the Vice Chancellors seminar held in May is now available. It contains findings and recommendations for DRUSSA university decision-makers that emerged from the discussions at the Seminar.

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Public Science Communication at the National University Of Science And Technology (NUST)

Heather Ndlovu, an M Phil student in Science and Technology Studies at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) and DRUSSA bursary holder, is a Lecturer in the Department of Records and Archives Management in the Faculty of Communication and Information Science at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Zimbabwe. She shares her experiences of studying for her M Phil and outlines her research report topic.

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DRUSSA Short Courses

The final DRUSSA short course was held in Stellenbosch in early June. Dr Sara Grobbelaar outlines the aim of the short course as well as the resources that were made available at the event.

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RUC2015: Effective Research Communication

Ritah Namisango, Senior Public Relations Officer at Makerere University shares her experience at the RUC2015 Conference. Held in April 2015 in Rwanda the Conference focused on using institutional websites as a tool for Research Uptake, but also explored the importance of institutionalising Research Uptake in DRUSSA Universities.

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The path towards a Master’s of Philosophy in Science and Technology studies: A personal perspective

The University of Stellenbosch’s Centre for Research on Evaluation Science and Technology offers an MPhil in Science and Technology Studies (Specialising in Research Uptake and Utilisation), with a rigorous application process including the submission of a proposal for a dissertation. Theogene Nyandwi, a DRUSSA bursary holder from the University of Rwanda, outlines his personal experience of participating in the course and how this has impacted on his work in Research Uptake activities at the University.

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Research Collaboration in Ghana

What are the various forms and levels of research collaborations being undertaken in research institutions in Ghana? What are the factors influencing research collaboration? In other words, why do researchers in Ghana collaborate? Dr. Frederick Owusu-Nimo, a DRUSSA bursary holder, outlines research that he is currently conducting on this issue as an MPhil student at CREST, Stellenbosch University.

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DRUSSA Universities Leadership Seminar

DRUSSA is well served by our network of champions, leaders and implementation teams at partner universities. Ultimately, though, change depends on the support of Vice-Chancellor and senior colleagues at institutional level. Their time and attention is precious.

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DRUSSA - Linking Researchers and Policy Makers in Ghana and Uganda

altaltDRUSSA has been working with academic institutions and government departments in Ghana and Uganda in order to link the supply and demand side of Research Uptake. This is being done through symposia, professional development courses and a policy fellowship scheme which places academics in government departments, allowing in-house government access to research expertise.

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RUC2014 Blog 1: Research Uptake Communications: connecting with your public ?

The DRUSSA Research Uptake story  gives you some food for thought on how, by using RUC skills, DRUSSA Universities can further contribute to unlocking the potential of girls and women in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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DRUSSA's Strategic Institutional Progress Workshop

altaltThis article provides a brief overview of the DRUSSA workshop held in Cape Town in December 2014, where DRUSSA Universities reflected on their Research Uptake (RU) strategies and policies as well as their RU management and institutional capacity.

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Institutionalising University Research Uptake – a Framework for Strategy

This blog provides an overview of a new report in the DRUSSA Handbook series. Entitled Institutionalising Research Uptake – a Framework for Strategy, the document provides guidelines and insights into how universities can incorporate Research Uptake into their broad institutional policies and plans.

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The Research Uptake Communications (RUC2014) campaign is underway.

Communications Professionals from the DRUSSA Universities are working through a coach-facilitated exercise to strengthen their RUC skills while building their University’s Research Uptake Communications portfolio.

 

 

 

 

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Tracking Research Output at KNUST to support Research Uptake

Not all research has the potential for use in policy or practice, but much of it does. A metadata information system on research output aids the identification process, so that universities  are able to support Research Uptake plans and activities that do have a potential impact on policy and/or practice.

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The DRUSSA programme extends its activities in Ghana and Uganda

Effective and sustainable Research Uptake also includes demand-side activities that facilitate and contribute to the use of research evidence by policymakers. In recognition of this, the DRUSSA programme was awarded additional UKAID funding in 2013 to support ‘demand-side’ capacity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

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ACU/SARIMA Conference May 2015

DRUSSA will be well represented at a major international conference Research and Innovation for Global Challenges inJohannesburg from 11-15 May 2015. Key issues related to Research Uptake will be considered at a policy level as well as institutional and practical level.

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KNUST updates us on Research Uptake progress at the university

The Research Uptake team at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has spent the last two years laying the groundwork for a comprehensive Research Uptake strategy

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Snapshot: Developing Research Uptake Capacity at the University of Ibadan

Dr. Eme T. Owoaje, Director of the Research Management office at University of Ibadan discussing the formalizing of Research Uptake at the University.

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SARIMA Conference report back

THE SARIMA2014 conference was a great success. A round up of key information and insights puts you in the picture.  

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DRUSSA and funders recognize the pivotal roles of RIMA’s in SSA

Recent events demonstrate the concurrent recognition amongst funders and the DRUSSA project team that the Research and Innovation Management Associations (RIMA’s) are vital mechanisms for strengthening and promoting every aspect of Research Management

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From Benchmarking to Action Plans – planning for the future

While DRUSSA’s 2014 Benchmarking Report has been finalised, published and is now widely available, this is far from the end of the benchmarking story. 

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Benchmarking and blog series of snapshots charts Research Uptake implementation at DRUSSA Universities

Diana Coates rounds up this blog series of Research Uptake snapshots, as presented at INORMS2014 by SSA Universities participating in the DRUSSA programme, and links the evident RU momentum with results from a recent programme-level benchmarking report. 

 

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Snapshot: University of Buea’s has a multifaceted approach to grow Research Uptake Management capacity

Vice Chancellor Dr. Nalova Lyonga presented at INORMS2014, discussing University of Buea’s cooperative structure that is strategically gearing up to get increasing research into use.

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Snapshot: The new University of Rwanda’s big ambitions for research uptake capacity building

At INORMS2014 Prof. Dr-Ing. Verdiana Grace Masanja presented UoR’s Research Uptake objectives to increase production and use of scientific knowledge of international quality to contribute to Rwanda's development.

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Snapshot: University of Mauritius successfully includes use of a business model for Research Uptake capacity growth

Unique for including a business approach to its Research Uptake, The Consultancy and Contract Research Management Office at University of Mauritius is a strategic and operational success story. Prof B. Lalljee presented at INORMS2014.

 

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Snapshot: Towards the implementation of Research Uptake Management at KNUST

Vincent. A. Ankamah-Lomotey presented an update on Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology’s Research Uptake status at INORMS2014

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Snapshot: Addis Ababa University makes changes to improve Research Uptake

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Prof. Teketel Yohannes spoke at the recent INORMS2014 conference, on what Addis Ababa University is doing about Research Uptake and his university’s drive to get research into use.

 

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DRUSSA universities move to action stage in strengthening Research Uptake capacity

‘Now that DRUSSA Universities have completed their two-year review process they are poised to make substantive changes to their research uptake and research uptake management capacity’, says programme manager Karrine Sanders.

Evidence-based decision-making is critical to development policy. Policymakers and development practitioners need good scientific evidence about the causes of problems, the potential solutions to these problems and their impact – sub Saharan African universities are key contributors of contextualized and relevant scientific evidence.

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Snapshot: The University of Ghana’s progress into strengthening Institutional Research Uptake Management Capacity and recommendations.

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Dorcas Opai-Tetteh of University of Ghana presented at the INORMS2014 conference, on the progress on Strengthening Institutional Research Uptake Management Capacity mainly by the office of Research, Innovation and Development (OIRD) of the University of Ghana. 

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Universities benchmark progress in improving Research Uptake Capacity

The DRUSSA project held the second of three Research Uptake benchmarking events in Cape Town in mid-March 2014.  Diana Coates shares the DRUSSA Universities key insights.

The purpose of the benchmarking series is to provide evidence for universities participating in the project to assess their progress in strengthening their institution’s capacity to realize their mission to provide research evidence that contributes to socio-economic development, in their community, their region, country and in sub-Saharan Africa.   

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Snapshot: UoN’s progress towards institutionalizing Research Uptake

Prof. Lucy Irungu of University of Nairobi spoke at the INORMS2014 conference, briefly summarising University of Nairobi’s progress in getting research into use. 

The University of Nairobi (UON) has made notable progress towards embedding Research Uptake and Research Uptake Management into our institutional structures since the launch of the DRUSSA programme in June 2012. The university has successfully put to use opportunities available through the DRUSSA postgraduate and short courses, so as to strengthen both institutional and individual capacity at UON.

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Vincent Ankamah-Lomotey of KNUST, Ghana, reports back on his impressions of INORMS 2014

So rich were the experiences and demonstrations of Research Uptake best practices within the global research enterprise at INORMS2014, that I returned with confidence that universities in developing countries have the ability to build capacity to move research from policy into practice.  

 

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INORMS2014: Key insights

altaltDiana Coates was one of the DRUSSA participators at INORMS2014 held in Washington DC in mid-April. She answers a quick Q&A that gives you a swift and interesting overview of the congress.

 

 

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Half-time Report
altaltThe DRUSSA benchmarking and leadership event in March will mark the half-way point for the DRUSSA project. 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. 
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Research Uptake: In conversation with 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. Good use has been made of opportunities available through the DRUSSA postgraduate and short courses programmes to broaden the skills sets of staff members. The University of Nairobi was one of the first the DRUSSA team visited for an  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.
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UFH Research Uptake Policy going strong
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.
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DRUSSA Communications Survey
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.
 
Printed materials provided to participants are viewed as helpful. This is a challenge for a Sub-Saharan wide project—with a limited number of physical events and the outrageous cost of delivery of printed materials, other solutions have to be found. 
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Leadership and Benchmarking: A process of learning from change
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Nearly two years ago, the DRUSSA Programme was officially inaugurated with a Leadership and Benchmarking Event in Johannesburg. Neither a conference nor a workshop, this event was a critical opportunity to convene the Leaders and Champions from participating DRUSSA universities to fully establish what was then a new and fledgling community. Along with the DRUSSA partners, these Leaders and Champions successfully initiated what is now a long-running dialogue and community of practice that drives institutional change by establishing sustainable systems of Research Uptake at their universities.
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Research of little benefit until it gets into use
In the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation annual letter for 2014, Bill Gates says economic improvements have lifted many countries out of poverty. He also predicts that “by 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world”. He says countries will “benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labour forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments.”
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Coming soon: DRUSSA Benchmarking II
As the programme moves into Phase 2 DRUSSA universities will be asked to take stock of changes in their approach to Research Uptake since the programme began. This will inform the next benchmarking, culminating in the second DRUSSA benchmarking conference in March 2014. 
 
The Benchmarking II questionnaire, to be distributed later this month, will be based on questions asked in Benchmarking I and will also include questions on additional issues that have emerged as the programme has developed. This will provide the opportunity to note areas of change in your university’s structures, functions, processes and approaches to getting your university’s research disseminated and taken up. 
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DRUSSA implementation event at the University of Botswana

The leadership of the University of Botswana has welcomed the DRUSSA programme and expressed their appreciation for it during a meeting at the start of the DRUSSA Research Uptake implementation event on 14 and 15 November. Present at the meeting were the Deputy Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), Dr John Kirkland, and University Management of the Academic Affairs Division. The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic Affairs, Prof Otlogetswe Totolo, who pledged support for the initiative, which is intended to enhance the entrenched history of research that supports Botswana’s national development.

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Educational partnerships between African and Asia Pacific countries can benefit economies

by Thierry Claudien Uhawenimana

 

An ancient Chinese proverb says that when planning for a year, there`s nothing better than planting grain, when planning for ten years, there's nothing better than planting trees, and when planning for a lifetime, there's nothing better than training and educating people. A number of countries in Asia Pacific have seen their economies boom after investing heavily in education.

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DRUSSA implementation event at NUST, Zimbabwe

The DRUSSA team's long-awaited visit to Zimbabwe's National University of Science and Technology (NUST) finally took place on 28 and 29 November. The NUST implementation team preceded the event with a short meeting, during which NUST Leader Prof Samson Sibanda and myself as DRUSSA Champion provided an overview of the programme.

At a meeting on the first day, several members of top management, including Deans and Principal Officers, represented NUST. DRUSSA representatives Tomas Harber and Liam Roberts took participants through the main components of the DRUSSA programme, including the MPhil and PhD scholarship programme and the short courses presented by CREST in South Africa.

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Research Uptake on DRUSSA university websites
Recently, Platform2013 editor Louise McCann asked the leaders and champions to approach their IT departments to make a space on your websites for a page or subsite that deals with research and/or Research Uptake. Some of you had already developed such a presence, while others are now in the process of making this happen. 
 
So, what is a good way to display your university’s approach to Research Uptake online? There is no silver bullet. It will depend entirely on how your university’s site was designed and developed and, of course, what resources are available. Some of the DRUSSA universities that have managed to create a RU space include:
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Fostering community outreach-based research at universities to improve development

by Thierry Claudien Uhawenimana
 

Universities and higher learning institutions play an important role in shaping communities’ development. Their activities can lead to raised wages and productivity, allowing individual countries to make impressive strides in accelerating social, economic, scientific, technological and political advancements.

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Evaluating research impact: Reporting on activities and telling the stories

Heat is North America’s primary weather-related killer of vulnerable citizens living in economically disadvantaged conditions. To address this concern, the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University (Toronto, Canada) supported a research collaboration between a York graduate student and a community centre in a low-income Toronto neighbourhood.

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CPUT Research & Technology Innovation blueprint: Aligning with RU
In general, higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa have operated around three key pillars, namely teaching, research and community engagement. As an emerging university of technology, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology has made great strides towards nurturing and building its research and technology innovation portfolio since its inception in 2005. Hence, it is well versed with the various elements of research practice and the management thereof, with pockets of excellence across the university.
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DRUSSA Symposium

For just more than a year now, member universities of the DRUSSA programme have been a busy group – developing new systems for increasing Research Uptake, sharing ideas and leading conversations on the online DRUSSA “Coffee Station", and participating in Research Uptake workshops on their own campuses.
 
This week, these member universities had the opportunity to come together in Nairobi, taking part in one of the highlights of the DRUSSA programme – the DRUSSA Champion’s Symposium, the drivers of the Research Uptake agenda at 24 universities across the Continent.
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DRUSSA science communication training in Africa

“Informative, visual, fun, relevant, interesting, engaging, stimulating and very thought provoking.” These were some of the words used to describe the recent delivery of the DRUSSA science communication course. The course is Module 2 of the 2012 DRUSSA postgraduate short course offering.

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MPhil | PhD open for applications
The MPhil | PhD: Science & Technology Studies (Specialisation in Research Uptake & Utilisation) programme offered by the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa introduces the social, political, economic, epistemological, historical and ethical dimension of science as a complex human system.
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Postgraduate short courses open for applications
The Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa has announced dates for its postgraduate programme in Research Uptake and Utilisation.
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DRUSSA team activities

The programme is structured into four work programmes:

-- Work Programme 1 (WP1) is led by the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and focuses on strengthening the capacity of individuals at universities for Research Uptake Management.

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Work Programme 1: Strengthening individual Research Uptake Management capacity

Demand for formal qualifications in the management of research uptake is high in universities` research and public relations and communications offices. The need is particularly great for postgraduate short courses that can be undertaken with minimal disruption and time away from work.

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Work Programme 2: Strengthening institutional Research Uptake Management capacity

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) has the task of strengthening institutional capacity in Research Uptake Management in participant universities. We`re pleased to be able to bring our experience in studying research management systems to bear in this critical area of the research management process and will identify models of engagement to get research into use.

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Work Programme 3: Literature review and case study work

A literature review on knowledge utilisation and research uptake is underway as part of Work Programme 3. Among other aspects, the literature review will highlight different perspectives and models of knowledge utilisation as well as different approaches to facilitate such utilisation. Some of the perspectives emerging from the literature are: 

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Work Programme 4: Engaging our audiences
DRUSSA Online went live in May 2012 and with it an innovation that places it at the cutting edge of technology, not only in Africa, but worldwide. Aside from our simple blogsite and database, DRUSSA Online features an app (click on the blue "register" button at the top right hand of the sidebar on this page to get it) that allows a specially tailored version of the site to be accessed online as well as offline, from your desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
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DRUSSA Online: Give us your feedback

DRUSSA Online has been developed and optimised for the African environment. This means you can access our services from your desktop or mobile, and use it whether you are online or offline.

We are currently in a user acceptability testing phase and once this is complete, the full suite of services will be publicly launched.

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DRUSSA's Digital Engagement Strategy

altaltHow does DRUSSA digitally engage around the central topic of Research Uptake with varied levels of audiences in both ICT-challenged Sub-Saharan Africa and the hi-tech Developed World, using limited resources?

 

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Welcome to DRUSSA Online! Please give us 15 MINUTES of your time to test our services

altaltThese online services have been developed and optimised for the African environment. This means you can access DRUSSA Online from your desktop or mobile, and use it whether you are online or offline. The suite of online services was designed to build a strong and cohesive Community within the group of 24 universities participating in the DRUSSA programme as well as an extended, open Network for other interested parties.

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RUM in Action

altResearch Uptake Management (RUM) works with scientific research that has both a traditional focus on building and disseminating the bodies of knowledge created in the academic domains, and a newer and wider focus on maximising the conditions for the application of these bodies of knowledge to achieve outcomes that have a developmental impact.

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Diana Coates on Research Uptake Management

Research Uptake Management (RUM) is a process to systematically manage the research cycle from conception to utilisation with the purpose of getting research findings to the audience(s) for whom they are intended. It is usually research that is intended to have practical application while being underpinned by scientifically validated evidence.

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