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23 November 2017
DRUSSA Symposium Print
Thursday, 19 September 2013 15:42

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.
 
Facilitated by the ACU, Organisation Systems Design and CREST at the University of Stellenbosch, the Symposium has been a tremendous opportunity for representatives from each university to share their own initiatives in getting research into use, making research outputs more visible, connecting with policymakers and drawing from development challenges in the design of new research. 
 
The Symposium’s been channelled into four strands – Promoting Research Uptake within the University; Processes and Systems to Manage Research Uptake; Making Research Visible; and the Strategic Challenge for Research Uptake. These streams of discussion have covered most of the questions, and some persuasive answers, as to how universities can get their research into use – by communities, by industry, and by government policymakers.
 
DRUSSA’s 24 member universities have been driving forward new institutional plans to build on the Research Uptake aspects – this Symposium serves too as a springboard from planning to implementation. Presentations from delegates have offered views of ways forward – Cape Peninsula University of Technology spoke of the process of changing research culture, and Obafemi Awolowo University spoke to raising the university’s research profile. The University of Limpopo and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology spoke about developmentally-relevant research, and Kigali Health Institute and Zimbabwe’s National University of Science and Technology spoke to research that aligns with national development goals, especially for smaller universities. The University of Fort Hare and MUST led our discussion on strategy, pointing to ways RUM needs to involve the whole of the institution – from human resources to processes for curriculum development. (Only Registered Users may view the documents in the Document Index tab, which becomes visible once you have signed in)
 
The conversations and group sessions that have flowed from these interventions have shed new light on how sometimes quite different universities can each address their common objective – getting cutting-edge research into the public and policymaking domain. The DRUSSA Team looks forward to keeping working with each member university on these plans – if this Symposium is anything to go by, we’ve got some tremendous momentum so far.
 
Liam Roberts (liam.roberts@acu.ac.uk) is a Programme Officer (Policy) at the Association of Commonwealth Universities
 
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