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23 September 2017
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Strengthening Research Uptake at Makerere University

In an interview Susan Mbabazi, Assistant Registrar in the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT) at Makerere University and the DRUSSA coordinator, outlines the Research Uptake activities at the university and some of the challenges in institutionalising Research Uptake at Makerere.

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Using Research Uptake as a Strategic Tool to raise KNUST’s developmental university profile

Public universities’ responsibility to contribute to social and economic development nationally and regionally in Sub-Saharan Africa is as much a crucial task for survival as it is for the economy to stay competitive and grow in order to ensure the welfare of society. This essential objective has impacted on strategies adopted by public universities towards meeting their national mandate. The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is no exception.

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Promoting Science Communication at the University of Buea

Sama Awa-Mengi has immersed herself in Science Communication and Research Uptake since being nominated as a Research Uptake Communications Officer at the University of Buea. Through the RUC2014 and 2015 coaching programmes and her participation in the CREST Science Communication course in early 2015 she has learned both the good practices and the reality of communicating for uptake on behalf of the the University and its staff.

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Experiences In Research Dissemination With Part-Time Undergraduate Interns In A Resource Challenged Setting

Sub-Saharan universities recognise the need to establish research management offices but many of these offices are challenged by a lack of resources. Professor Yogi Naik, head of the Research and Innovation Office (RIO) at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Zimbabwe discusses how RIO uses interns to achieve some of the objectives,  and outlines some of the remaining challenges for his office.

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University of Ghana’s Technology Development And Transfer Centre: A Platform For Academia-Industry Engagement

Building University-Industry linkages is key to the success of the uptake of new technologies and innovations. The University of Ghana has set up a new office, the Technology Development and Transfer Centre (TDTC), to promote these linkages and at the same time strengthen the capacity of researchers to produce applied research that meets the needs of industry.

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Research Uptake in CPUT’s Research and Innovation Strategy

At research intensive universities there is always a tension between the traditional focus on producing research to enhance the university’s international standing and the new imperative to produce and promote research that contributes to national development. Can universities focus on each of these objectives without compromising the other?

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DRUSSA University Vice-Chancellors’ Leadership Seminar

At the Vice Chancellors (VC’s) meeting that took place on the side of the ACU SARIMA Conference on the 11th May, DRUSSA Vice-Chancellors discussed their university's experiences of Research Uptake (RU) awareness raising and capacity building over the first three years of the DRUSSA Programme. As well as outlining successes, challenges and barriers that have been faced, they also discussed opportunities for future sustainability.

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Moi University College Principal to lead University Research Chair for Health systems (URC) in Kenya

As DRUSSA universities build research capacity, Kenya has a new programme which aims to promote top-quality research and Research Uptake, improve post-graduate training and enhance collaboration between universities and other research stakeholders - a model which looks set to make a difference in how universities strengthen relationship with both policymakers and industry.

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RUC2014 Blog 18: Why Waste Separation management is key in Rwanda and beyond

The University of Rwanda looks at how developing economic drivers for waste separation management at urban municipal level could improve public health, protect the environment and create useable benefits such as the production of fertilisers and biogas that could be used to the benefit of communities in African cities.

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RUC2014 Blog 17: New dye made from weed revives Kenya’s textile industry and brings local fabric costs down

A researcher from Moi University has worked out how to extract natural and environmentally friendly dye from weeds that threaten food crops, leading not only to the revival of a local textile business, but to the textile industry at large in Kenya.

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RUC2014 Blog 16 Entreprenurial spirit burns bright amongst township youth

A study into youth entrepreneurship in Khayelitsha township in South Africa reveals that despite a lack of support youth still remain enthusiastic about starting their own businesses. Findings show that simple interventions could counteract threats to this entrepreneurial spirit, with positive benefits.

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RUC2014 Blog 15 Waste to Wealth: production of biogas energy from organic waste in Nigeria

The issue of sourcing modern renewable energy sources remains a top global priority.  University of Calabar highlights the potential of biogas technology.

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Building Research Capacity: The African Universities Research Approaches Programme

A new programme aimed at building capacity in both teaching and research practice is in its start-up phase. Its conceptualisation and its broad objectives are similar to those of  DRUSSA. Both programmes strengthen the research capacity of Universities research support capacity in order that universities can contribute solutions to socio-economic challenges.

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Deciding on a research topic to communicate for uptake is a daunting task

An important part of any university Research Uptake strategy is choosing which research to feature. To maximise the chances for uptake to be successful the topic covered by the research needs to be relevant to broader societal needs. Johannes Selepe from the University of Limpopo gives us a glimpse into how they selects topics as outlined in their UL2020 Research Strategy document, and the key dissemination outlets they publish in.

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Symposium on Higher Education in Uganda

A recent symposium on higher education in Uganda focussed on how to bridge the gap between policy and research. The symposium laid the groundwork for strengthening the relationship between research institutions, particularly universities, and policymakers and influencers. It provided an opportunity for senior delegates from universities and the Ugandan government to reflect on the challenges facing both sectors.

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How KNUST makes strategic choices about which research to feature for uptake and utilisation

Deciding which research to focus on to communicate solutions that could be taken up and utilized is now undertaken strategically.  Courage Julius Logah from KNUST discusses how the university chooses which research to focus on and some of the challenges that communications practitioners face in discovering research that fits the criteria for uptake.

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Developing a Research Uptake Culture

One of the challenges for communications practitioners is ensuring that they are alerted to quality and relevant research by the researchers themselves. Candes Keating interviews the Cape Peninsula of Technologies (CPUT) DRUSSA Champion and Deputy VC for Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships, Dr Chris Nhlapo, about how CPUT is building a culture of Research Uptake at the university.

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The Division of Research, Innovation and Outreach (RIO) at Kenyatta University

Kenyatta University has a new Division of Research, Innovation and Outreach (RIO) which has established a web presence, a one-stop resource to provide institutional support for staff undertaking research and Research Uptake.

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DRUSSA’s Symposium on Higher Education and the National Development Plan in Ghana

What happens when you put 25 Ghanaian higher education stakeholders in the same room for two days? A) Lengthy arguments on the real reasons for the recent energy blackouts; B) an in-depth debate on why the Black Stars are underperforming; or C) a meeting of minds on the linkages between academia and policymakers through the generation of research evidence for policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

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African Research Excellence: the Launch of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA)

At the African Higher Education Summit held in Dakar in March leading universities established an Alliance of African research intensive universities with the purpose of sharing resources, supporting each other and building excellence in research and research management. In addition the Alliance hopes to serve as a hub that supports research across the African continent.

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DRUSSA visits Moi University

During a visit by the ACU/DRUSSA team in February 2015  Moi University was able to show its progress in terms of Research Uptake, starting with University-Industry linkages and ending with using radio as a dissemination tool and everything in-between.

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Alliance for Excellence in the Sciences in Africa

The Alliance for Excellence in the Sciences in Africa (AESA) platform is a partnership of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, and with support from Wellcome Trust UK, UKAid, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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RUC2014 Blog 14: This journey never ends! The University of Limpopo Women's Academic Solidarity Association experience

How can research contribute to empowering women academics in South Africa? This article, first published by University of Limpopo is a result of part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, and discusses how the University of Limpopo Women’s Academic Solidarity Association is succeeding in this.  as a community that cuts across disciplinary boundaries and categories such as age, rank and race in the pursuit of women’s development as academics and researchers.

 

 

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RUC2014 Blog 13: Changing gender contracts in self-help housing construction in Botswana: The case of Lobatse.

How can research contribute to unlocking the potential of girls and women in Lobatse, Botswana? This article, first published by University of Botswana and produced by Mhitshane Reetsang as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, tells the story of how the interpretation of policy be implementers with discriminatory gender norms can undo well-meaning policy. It also suggests where change needs to happen for roleplayers to unlearn and address skewed gender decision-making.

This blog, from the University of Botswana, is the thirteenth in this blog series. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here.

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RUC2014 Blog 12: Parents could play a vital role in developmental screening of rural children to allow for early intervention.

How can research contribute to parent-centered developmental screening of children? This article, first published by University of Ghana, is a result of part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme.

 

This blog, from University of Ghana, is the twelfth in this blog series. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here

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RUC2014 Blog 11: Investigating the safety levels of fossil fuels for women in urban and rural areas in Nigeria

How can research contribute to protecting women’s health and the environment? This article, first published by Obafemi Awolowo University, is a result of part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme.

 

This blog, from Obafemi Awolowo University, is the eleventh in this blog series. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here.

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RUC2014 Blog 10: The Gynocular increases low and middle-income countries access to cervical cancer screening

How can research contribute to accessible cervical cancer screening for low- to middle-income countries? This article, first published by Mbarara University of Science and Technology and produced by Dennis Lukaaya as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme introduces a low-cost, hand-held, battery driven coloscope that enables colposcopy in any setting.

This blog, from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, is the tenth in this blog series. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here.

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RUC2014 Blog 9: Research in Uganda reveals positive support to HIV disclosure and a need for gender-specific disclosure support strategies

How can research contribute to helping HIV-positive women in Uganda? This article, first published by Makerere University and produced by  Dr. Daniel Semakula as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme discusses the short and long-term outcomes of disclosure amongst clients attending an urban HIV clinic in Uganda

This blog, from Makerere University, is the ninth in this blog series*. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here

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RUC2014 Blog 8: Soybean-enhanced diet could improve life expectancy for Kenyan children

How can research make a positive impact on young children suffering from malnutrition and ill health in region of Kenya that’s been highly affected by the HIV pandemic. This article, first published by Kenyatta University and produced by Peter Mwirigi as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, looks into how a soybean enhanced diet could help.

 

This blog, from Kenyatta, is the eighth in this blog series*. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here

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RUC2014 Blog 7: Collateral-free credit: A tool for empowerment of rural women in Ghana

How can research contribute to helping poverty-stricken women in Ghana? This article, first published by Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and produced by KNUST’s Courage Julius Logah as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, looks into how interest free microloans can be atool for empowerment of rural women in Ghana. 

This blog, from KNUST, is the seventh in this blog series*. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here

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RUC2014 Blog 6: Urgent attention needs to be paid to the mental wellbeing of orphans in South Africa

How can research contribute to helping orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa? This article, first published by University of Free State and produced by UoF’s Mandy Jampies as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, touches on experts concerns about a lack of intervention programmes to address socio-emotional problems and behaviour disorders.

This blog, from the University of Free State, is the sixth in this blog series. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here

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RUC2014 Blog 5: Empowerment by Women for Women in Nigeria

How can research contribute to unlocking the potential of girls and women in Nigeria? This article, first published by University of Ibadan and produced by UoI’s Adeola Funmilayo Oladeji as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, tells the story of how training in sweet potato processing could increase the likelihood of enhanced livelihoods for rural Nigerian women. 

This blog, from the University of Ibadan, is the fifth in this blog series. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here

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RUC2014 Blog 4: Why is it Imperative that Women Own Land in Cameroon?

How can research contribute to unlocking the potential of girls and women in Anglophone Cameroon? This article, first published by University of Buea and produced by UoB’s Sama Awa-Mengi Levai as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, tells the story of how promoting land-ownership gender equality could empower women to contribute further to poverty reduction in the region.

This blog, from the University of Beau, is the fourth in this blog series. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here.

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RUC2014 Blog 3: Ethiopian women vulnerable to horrors of Gulf States human trafficking

Addis Ababa LogoAddis Ababa Logo

How can research contribute to unlocking the potential of girls and women in Ethiopia? This article, first published by Addis Ababa University and produced by AAU's Habtamu Getinet as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, tells the story of how research into the realities of human trafficking of Ethiopian women and children in the Gulf States can make a case for the need for government-level policymaking. 

 

This blog, from Addis Ababa University, is the third in a series, which will be profiled over the coming weeks. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here.

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RUC2014 Blog 2: From self-help group to life-changing water company

How can research contribute to unlocking the potential of girls and women in Wandiege Community, Kisumi County, Nairobi? This article, first published by University of Nairobi and produced by UoN’s Susan Wanjiru Muchina as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme, tells the story of how a community-driven water intervention is making an impact.

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Public Engagement: Crowdsourcing pilot at the University of Fort Hare

The University of Fort Hare has taken an innovative approach to public engagement. Using crowd sourcing the research project involves citizens in gathering data on public safety issues, thereby contributing to the research and promoting Research Uptake.

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Public Engagement: Sustainable Integrated Pond Based Aquaculture in Nigeria

altaltOutreach activities linked to a research project at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria keep it real by using a range of communication methods to both involve resource-poor farmers, and to create awareness of this innovative food-security project so as to enhance Research Uptake.

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New Voices: Building Uptake Capacity amongst Young Researchers

This blog outlines an innovative programme at the University of Stellenbosch which builds the capacity of emerging researchers to promote Research Uptake, by developing their Science Communication skills.

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Developing a Stakeholder Engagement and Science Communication Plan: Improving agricultural practice in Mauritius

This, the second blog in our Stakeholder Engagement series, highlights the work of the University of Mauritius’ team in developing, implementing and evaluating a stakeholder engagement and science communication plan aimed at promoting Research Uptake for the results of its Quantification And Movement Of Sediments And Agrochemicals Under Various Types Of Mulches In Coastal, Hilly Food Production Systems In Mauritius research study.

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Lessons Learned From Developing a University Policy/Strategy To Support Research Uptake

This article outlines the experience of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana in building policies and strategies to support Research Uptake (RU). It provides an overview of some of the challenges that African universities face in providing institutional support for  research uptake  and utilization activities and some insight into how these barriers can be overcome.

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Research into Practice: Participatory research strengthens Research Uptake

A System Of Crop Intensification developed by the University of Ibadan’s Department of Agronomy in collaboration with Ajibode Organic Farmers in Nigeria has made a significant impact.

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Advancing responsible and ethical conduct of research at Kenyatta University

Kenyatta University has been at the forefront of promoting responsible and ethical conduct of research among the staff members through the activities of the Initiative for Research, Innovation and Management (iRIM), and Partnership for Innovative Medical Education in Kenya (PRIME-K) programs.

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A Strategic Approach to Research Uptake

Researchers from the  Oxidative Stress Research Unit at CPUT developed a research communication strategy for her valuable research findings on rooibos tea. In so doing, the helped the institutions’ Research Uptake strategy.

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Public Engagement for Research Uptake Using Websites

This blog provides an overview of Obafemi Awolowo University’s (OAU) public engagement activities and highlights the importance of university websites in promoting public engagement.

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Developing a Stakeholder Engagement and Science Communication Plan for research findings of a Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Malaria study

This, the third blog in our Stakeholder Engagement series (see the first and second  blog here), highlights the work of the MSF/Epicentre Mbarara Research Centre of Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda.  The Centre developed, implemented and evaluated a Stakeholder Engagement and Science Communication plan aimed at promoting Research Uptake for the results of its study on using Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Malaria.

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Research Innovation and Outreach at Kenyatta University

At Kenyatta University Research Uptake Management capacity is being put in place to get research into use in the full range of research activities – from participative community research to technology transfer to public engagement.

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Webometrics Ranking 2014 – Top African Universities

The most recent Ranking Web of World Universities (or Webometrics Ranking) has been published.

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Institutionalising Research Uptake at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology

At the recent SARIMA Conference in Gaberone, Botswana Prof Shaun Pather, Head of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the DVC: Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships at CPUT provided some insight into progress made in terms of deepening and further institutionalising Research Uptake at the University.

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African Research and Innovation Management Associations – the “RIMAs”

In August 2014 the Eastern Africa Research and Innovation Management Association (EARIMA) held a consultative meeting in Arusha Tanzania.

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Institutionalising Research Uptake at the University of Zambia

University of Zambia logoUniversity of Zambia logo

At the recent SARIMA Conference in Gaborone Dr John Simwinga, Assistant Director at the Directorate of Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Zambia (UNZA), outlined steps taken by the university to institutionalise Research Uptake.

 

 

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Managing Research Uptake for Impact

DRUSSA Universities are currently developing their institutional research uptake strategies and these strategies outline their own “pathways to impact”. You will be able to read more in the coming months about these research uptake strategies here on the DRUSSA blog.

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CREST calls for postgraduate student applications for Monitoring and Evaluation Studies

Are you interested in doing an MPhil or PhD in Science and Technology Studies, or considering Postdoctoral Fellowships in the M&E arena? Read on for details.

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Introducing the DRUSSA DIGEST’S new editorial team

Individuals from across the programme have been appointed as editorial committee members for DRUSSA’s quarterly publication

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Now published: The DRUSSA 2014 Research Uptake Benchmarking Report

 

Liam Roberts discusses highlights and background as the DRUSSA project publishes the second benchmarking report that tracks and measures the DRUSSA universities’ implementation of new ways to strengthen and deepen their institutional Research Uptake (RU) systems.

 

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New Insights into SSA Institutional Research Uptake Capacity

The Summary Report of the second DRUSSA Benchmarking Survey has been released.

The universities responded to a comprehensive survey covering institutional priorities, policies for research, staffing for research management and uptake, and current research and research uptake activities.

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Changing family structures- defining Uganda’s social crisis context

altaltFollowing on from her PLATFORM2013’ article on ‘Land inequality and family planning’ Dr. Viola Nilah Nyakato discusses recent property-related family conflicts in Uganda that she believes highlight the nature of gendered property inequality in Uganda, and the country’s need to implement a legal framework to protect women’s property rights.

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Career skills toolkit part 7 of 7: How to report on your ‘Publishing for Research Uptake’ campaign and next steps, including publication distribution and awareness strategy

After all your hard work you have a beautiful print and/or digital publication ready to use. Again, what you do with it depends on why you have run this campaign in the first stage and what you have produced. But what you do know is that you need to report on this stage of the project. And that you want your publication to reach the stakeholders it is intended for.

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Career skills toolkit part 6 of 7: How to produce and publish a Research Uptake publication

This section relates to Part 4 ‘How to project manage a ‘Publishing for Research Uptake’ campaign’ but goes a few steps further, giving you a step-by-step breakdown of the practical steps involved in producing and publishing a Research Uptake publication.

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Career skills toolkit part 5 of 7: How to engage contributors to support your ‘Publishing for Research Uptake’ campaign.

Where possible make your life simpler. This is particularly true in publishing. Motivate your contributors to contribute to your Research Uptake Publication, give them positive reasons for doing so, and give them a clear brief as to how you want them to contribute. You’ll up your response rate while saving everyone hours of unnecessary work.

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Career skills toolkit part 4 of 7: How to project manage a ‘Publishing for Research Uptake’ campaign.

If you are producing a small-scale Research Uptake Publication it may not be necessary to use some or any of the tools and templates provided in this handbook.  But the larger the campaign, the more details there are to take care of – and that’s where tried and trusted publication campaign documents will help you keep a good handle on things.

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Career skills toolkit part 2 of 7: How to begin a ‘Publishing for Research Uptake’ campaign.

Strategic thinking at the beginning of a RUC Campaign helps to clarify objectives from which a plan will follow. In this section we discuss the value of taking a campaign approach to a Research Uptake Publication project.

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Career skills toolkit part 3 of 7: How to conceptualise a Research Uptake publication formula and how to brief a designer and editor

Your Research Uptake Publication may take the form of an e-book, a brochure or pamphlet, a poster series or something else. It may be something you only use in digital, or print – or in both. This section covers how to nail down the look and feel of your concept, and how to communicate this to an editorial and design team.

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Prof Sheunesu Mpepereki: Pulling out all the stops for the sake of worthwhile science

altalt

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 also started to speak 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 agricultural science must deliver food on the farmers’ tables, money in their pockets. That is the only way it can be worthwhile science. If hunger and malnutrition continue to ravage the village where I grew up, I cannot claim to be a scientist who knows about agriculture and production."

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Career skills toolkit part 1 of 7: PLATFORM2013: The Research Uptake Conversation Continues

PLATFORM2013  – a print and digital publication from the DRUSSA Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa [SSA] – was collaboratively produced by the DRUSSA Universities and DRUSSA Work Programme 4, all based in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over the last few weeks DRUSSA has featured twenty excellent evidence-based development research articles from DRUSSA’s PLATFORM2013 publication as a conversation starter in the Research Uptake Conversation. 

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Sustainable Integrated Aquaculture Development in Sierra Leone
The fish cum rice, piggery and poultry production projects (SIARP) at Njala University in Sierra Leone seek to develop land use systems through adaptive research and traditional experiences compatible to the cultural and social values of the people. It further aims to improve socioeconomic conditions, reduce risks, and generate jobs and income in rural areas. 
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South Africa`s Integrated National Disability Strategy: The long and winding road to uptake
Last week’s blog on “Three golden rules to get research into policy” discussed the “evidence to policy divide”, offering three tips on how to cross it. Here, we look at the long and arduous journey of one national policy, from research to uptake.
 
Having its roots firmly in the struggle against Apartheid, South Africa’s national policy on disability has everything to do with the country’s past. The Integrated National Disability Strategy (INDS) is the product of disability activists emerging directly from the armed struggle, during which many cadres became disabled and took their struggle from politics and the military into the arena of disability. And when during negotiations for a peaceful transition to democracy, a Constitution was being
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PLATFORM2013: The objective of the Nigerian-Canadian [NINCANVEG] project is to increase food security and economic empowerment of women farmers.

Obafemi Awolowo University’s PLATFORM 2013 article in PLATFORM2013  discusses how the importance of indigenous leafy vegetables to human nutrition has been realized in the present situation of economic meltdown, global food crisis and climate change.

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PLATFORM2013: Production, processing and marketing of Moringa Oleifera by rural women

University of Ibadan’s article in PLATFORM2013 outlines how the popular superfood moringa oleifera became part of a University of Ibadan value-chain research project in the field of agricultural extension and rural development. This has resulted in community uptake of production, processing and marketing skills, which has led to income generation and improved rural community well-being.

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PLATFORM2013: Cameroon’s Anti-malaria campaign

University of Yaoundé 1’s feature in PLATFORM2013 discusses how treatment policies for uncomplicated malaria in Cameroon have changed four times since 2004, and how, to reach the goal of universal malarial treatment coverage, policy changes must take into account evidence from field-based studies to win the battle against malaria.

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PLATFORM2013: The SIAD project at University of Buea seeks to improve food security and economic growth as a priority for fighting poverty

University of Buea’s article in PLATFORM2013 describes how the Sustainable Integrated Aquaculture Development [SIAD] project uses a farming system that integrates aquaculture and agriculture, and aims to contribute to improving broad-based agricultural productivity, competitiveness and markets for Cameroon’s rural poor, through the development of sustainable integrated aquaculture capacity.

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PLATFORM2013: Rotavirus Vaccine Introduction in Ghana

University of Ghana’s article in PLATFORM2013 outlines how over the last two decades the overall objective of their research into rotavirus treatment has been to provide a much-needed evidence-based data to the Ministries of Health and Finance, as well as to policy-makers, to support the recognition of rotavirus as a significant cause of diarrhoea in children in Ghana and Africa.

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PLATFORM2013: Flora of Ethiopia by University of Addis Ababa

University of Addis Ababa’s article in PLATFORM2013 features a research project that documents the wealth of local plant diversity in Ethiopia, providing evidence that has already positively impacted on policy decisions. Further mutually beneficial opportunities to link these research results with policy-makers have been identified.

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PLATFORM2013: The cost of overloading freight vehicles on Ghana’s transit corridors

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)’s article in PLATFORM2013 discusses how the opening of Ghana’s transport corridors to landlocked West African States has prompted a study of the economic impact of the overloading of freight vehicles.

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PLATFORM2013: The impact of water sector reforms and interventions in urban Kenya

University of Nairobi’s article in PLATFORM2013 briefly discusses how utilisation of research information from the WASRIP project will form the evidence base for policy development to address access to safe and affordable water, especially to the urban poor, in Western Kenya, Kisumu, Kisii and Homabay counties.

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PLATFORM2013: Inspirational sustainable island farming in Mauritius

University of Mauritius’ article in PLATFORM2013 outlines a project in Mauritius that focused on working closely with a community of onion farmers to implement environmentally friendly farming practices on sloping coastal land in a way that both supports the local eco-system, and increases crop yields and fish catch in the nearby lagoon.

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PLATFORM2013: An urgent rescue intervention is needed to save the Acacia Kirkii tree from extinction in Rwanda

NUR Vice RectorNUR Vice Rector

National University of Rwanda (Huye Campus’) article in PLATFORM2013 highlights the threat to the endangered Acacia Kirkii species, found only along the Muvumba River in the Eastern Province of Rwanda.

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PLATFORM2013: University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences, studies Rwandan youth and substance use

University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences (formerly Kigali Health Institute) article in PLATFORM2013 discusses a commissioned study involving stakeholders and beneficiaries that has contributed to the evidence-base needed to begin planning a policy-led campaign against drug abuse among Rwandan youth.

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PLATFORM2013: Moi University looks at E-Waste management as a permanent feature that needs to be managed in the digital age

Moi University’s article in PLATFORM2013 revolves around the vast amounts of e-waste accumulating in the Upper Nile Watershed States. This formative-stage research postulates that as e-waste as a permanent feature of the digital age, its management and regulation need to be factored into policy. 

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PLATFORM2013: Micro-propagating disease-free cocoyams by Kenyatta University

Kenyatta University’s article in PLATFORM2013 outlines how the micro-propagation of Kenyan cocoyam project has the potential to improve food security, nutrition and health for Africa’s rural poor. The intention is to achieve this through wider growth of healthier, more resilient Kenyan cocoyam crops.


Researcher: Dr Ruth Wanjau | Senior Lecturer | Department of Chemistry | Kenyatta University | Nairobi | Kenya.

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PLATFORM2013: Sleeping sickness diagnosis improved by University of Zambia

University of Zambia’s article in PLATFORM2013 discusses the re-emergence of sleeping sickness, a tsetse transmitted debilitating disease of humans and animals in Sub-Saharan Africa. Diagnosis of sleeping sickness in endemic regions remains unsatisfactory, but cost-effective Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification [LAMP] has the potential to accurately address this problem.

Researcher: Prof. Boniface Namanagala | Head of Department | Paraclinical Studies | University of Zambia | Lusaka.

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PLATFORM2013: TB/HIV Intervention Evaluation by the University of the Free State

The University of the Free State’s article in PLATFORM2013 describes the ‘Centre for Health Systems Research and Development’ (CHSR&D) public health evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of training and mentoring interventions to improve TB patients’ uptake of HIV testing in the Free State Province.

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PLATFORM2013: Nguni cattle enter the South African beef market: a project underscored by numerous development goals by University of Limpopo

University of Limpopo’s article in PLATFORM2013 gives us insight into cross breeding of Nguni cows with angus bulls as a means to increase the ouput of beef cattle in South Africa, highlighting the important role that indigenous livestock can play in Africa.

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PLATFORM2013: A water quality capacity intervention by the University of Fort Hare

University of Fort Hare’s article in PLATFORM2013 reveals the urgent need for intervention in the water sector in the Eastern Cape province to ameliorate the problem of a shortage of skilled specialists, especially in its impoverished communities.

Researcher: Prof. Al Okoh, Group Leader: Applied and Environmental Microbiology Research Group (AEMREG) and Head of Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology | University of Fort Hare | Alice | South Africa

(Portrait: Researcher Prof. Al Okoh)

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PLATFORM2013: Textile technologies for the empowerment of rural women in Zimbabwe by National University of Science and Technology

National University of Science and Technology’s (NUST) article in PLATFORM2013 discusses how gender inequalities continue to influence the dependence of women on men, and how textile technologies have been used to empower women to minimize this dependence through training and research.

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PLATFORM2013: Functional Foods by Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)

Prof L Vuyisa Mazwai-TangaProf L Vuyisa Mazwai-Tanga

Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s [CPUT] PLATFORM2013 article discusses the ingredients of a unique and affordable omega caro-e food supplement that have been scientifically proven to have specific health benefits in terms of health promotion and reducing the risks for diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammatory diseases..

FUNCTIONAL FOODS

Prof. A J S Benade and Dr Maretha Opperman, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) | Cape Town | South Africa

[Photo: Prof L Vuyisa Mazwai-Tanga, Vice-Chancellor, CPUT]

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The PLATFORM2013 Research Uptake Conversation begins

PLATFORM2013 – a print and digital publication from the DRUSSA Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa [SSA] – is aimed at accessibly communicating evidence-based development research with the goal of deepening its reach and impact in the region. From Thursday 5 December 2013 to 16 January 2014* at 10.30am daily www.DRUSSA.net will feature a DRUSSA University article PLATFORM2013 as a conversation starter in the Research Uptake Conversation. 

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African research performance
During DRUSSA's 2013 short courses offered by CREST in early October in Johannesburg, Jean Baptiste Micomyiza of the Public Relations Office at the University of Rwanda, Huye Campus (formerly National University of Rwanda) interviewed CREST Director Prof Johann Mouton on the question of African research performance. Prof Mouton said while significant research was being done in Africa, it was also true that Africa’s overall share of world scientific production is only about 1.4 percent. Prof Mouton cited a number of reasons for Africa’s poor research performance, including a lack of funding, brain drain and conflict. 
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DRUSSA launches PLATFORM2013
The Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) programme is taking the opportunity to officially launch PLATFORM2013 tomorrow at the Association of Commonwealth University’s Centenary Celebrations in London. This conference addresses higher education questions around the theme “Future forward: taking charge of change”, which is a good fit for the introduction of this groundbreaking regional publication.
 
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Benefits of Fort Hare Nguni Cattle Project to be felt for generations to come

In September last year, Prof Naftali Mollel wrote a blog for the DRUSSA website about the successes achieved in the Nguni Cattle Project at the University of Limpopo in South Africa. This project is, in fact, part of a larger one taking place in seven provinces, whereby a university in each of the provinces collaborates with the department of agriculture and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to work with emerging farmers to grow Nguni herds. 

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Research into policy: Kenya`s UPAL Policy

Urban and peri-urban farming is a fact of life in many developing countries. In Africa, you’d be hard pushed to name a single country where this is not the case. It is here to stay—and to be encouraged rather than eradicated—as more and more people migrate from rural to urban areas, food prices continue to escalate, salaries remain low and jobs are scarce. By 2010, for the first time in history, 52 percent of people globally were living in urban areas and the number keeps escalating. At least 800 million of them in developing countries practice urban and peri-urban agriculture and livestock rearing (UPAL).

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Uptake of drug abuse research: Rwanda`s success story

Research done into drug abuse among the youth of Rwanda has had significant impact in that country, not only changing its policy direction, but also giving rise to interventions by civil society and other stakeholders, ultimately leading to changes in behaviour at grassroots level. Many factors must have played a role in the success of the uptake of this research done last year and concluded earlier this year at the Kigali Health Institute, including the fact that the study was done in collaboration with the country’s ministry of youth, which one may assume indicates commitment on the part of the government. But the effective communication of the research findings to segmented audiences had to have played a major role in this success story.

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Effectively communicating research for maximum impact

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.

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Economic benefits follow Research Uptake in SA`s Limpopo Province

by Prof Naftali Mollel

Despite impressive economic growth over the last 15 years, South Africa’s Limpopo Province is still characterised by high levels of unemployment and poverty. An innovative programme underpinned by research done at the Agricultural Research Council, Nguni Breeders’ Society and the University of Limpopo can help stimulate the economy by creating a substantial number of new jobs.


The Limpopo IDC Nguni Cattle Development Programme (download pdf) entails the production of beef through the entrepreneurial development of rural cattle farmers into beef producers across the whole beef production value chain.

An initiative of the Limpopo government in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the University of Limpopo, the programme initiates rural farmers into the mainstream beef production industry by upgrading cattle in the rural areas by reintroducing indigenous Nguni bloodlines through the university. How it works in practice is that farmers are loaned 30 pregnant heifers and a bull and have to pay back the loan by providing the same number of heifers and a bull as progenies of the initial herd within a five-year period. Some farmers have been so successful that they have been able to pay back the loan within two-and-a-half years.

The partners formed the Limpopo IDC Nguni Cattle Development Trust as a vehicle for the implementation of the programme. Since 2006, when the pilot phase began, 44 successful projects have been established and there has been wide uptake of the programme in the province. The beef-production industry is volume based. To introduce rural farmers into the beef production industry and integrate them right through the beef-production value chain, the programme now has to be expanded. The massification of the programme will contribute to poverty reduction in the area by developing an integrated, differentiated and competitive beef-production industry.

A large number of communal cattle farmers have organised themselves into various cattle-farmer associations, which provide platforms for collective action in advancing common interests. These associations will in future be upgraded into cattle farmers' cooperatives. The cooperatives will be established in such a way as to enhance chances of success by eliminating the traditional weaknesses of cooperatives. In fact, a number of the successful cattle farmers' associations are already operating as cooperatives.


The massification project has three main stages, namely the backgrounding stage, the feedlot stage and the slaughtering stage. It is estimated that at least 5 500 direct jobs will be created at the primary production level. An additional 400 jobs are estimated to be created during the backgrounding and feedlot stages of the production process. These figures exclude jobs that will be created at the supporting industry levels in the value chain. The massification project will also create further opportunities in meat processing, turneries and distribution channels.

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 in the beef production industry, largely as a result of substandard farming methods. The gap in the market is sufficiently large and provides opportunities.

The success of the pilot phase of the programme caught the attention of other roleplayers in the beef production value chain, including one of the country’s largest supermarket groups, which opens up further possibilities. Its ongoing success will be enhanced by the judicious selection of entrepreneurs.

A framework for monitoring and evaluation has been developed, with self-sustainability and outreach being the two main outcomes to determine the success of the programme. Financial success will be measured by the extent to which operating costs can be recovered, the value of resources preserved and grown, resources mobilised and reliance on subsidies minimised. Uptake will be measured by the spread of beneficiaries and size of assets. Cattle farmers and entrepreneurs in the beef-production value chain constitute the primary stakeholders. Other stakeholders are government, research institutions, financial institutions and institutions for collaboration.

By holding a common vision for the Nguni Cattle Development Programme in Limpopo, all the stakeholders contribute to developing social capital in the province.

 

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

 
Keeping momentum in policy rollout is crucial

Innovative and visionary thinking combined with inspired leadership and mobilisation can go a long way in bringing relief to Africa’s poor. But is that enough?

 

Take the case of Ethiopia’s Southern Nations Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR), where poor hygiene and sanitation are the main causes of ill health. In 2003, the region’s Bureau of Health launched a community health strategy that aimed to educate households on hygiene and sanitation and promote the building of household latrines.

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