Research 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.
It therefore has to have an additional and equally important focus: ensuring the accessibility of research findings by communicating and disseminating knowledge in different ways for different categories of users. It is undertakenin a context of rapidly improving ICT capacity and integration that provides research institutions with the means to reach multiple audiences and readerships in innovative ways.
Research Uptake Management uses a ‘whole research cycle’ model and methodology. It is a purposeful, iterative process that addresses internal (researchers and institutional) and external (funders and beneficiaries) stakeholder requirements. It involves including a dissemination and uptake strategy when planning, carrying out and evaluating the research, so that the resultant knowledge and information is produced in formats and on delivery platforms that are appropriate for the target readership(s)/audience(s)/user(s).
Formal strategic Research Uptake Management directly addresses a relatively neglected area in research institution’s sphere of operations. It provides the capacity for institutions to demonstrate, practically and tangibly, how it engages with the communities in which it is located; and that it does provide scientifically validated solutions for the natural and social challenges that people face in their daily lives.
Nelius Boshoff is a researcher at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa