|INORMS2014: Key insights|
|Tuesday, 29 April 2014 00:00|
Diana 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.
Q: You brought back a photo of beautiful cherry blossoms from the conference – what was that all about?
A: When we got to Washington DC we realized why the INORMS2014 publicity material had cherry blossoms all over it. It coincided with the world-famous National Cherry Blossom Festival. This three-week, citywide festival celebrates the 1912 gift of 3 000 cherry trees to Washington DC by the mayor of Tokyo. We had a very busy schedule at INORMS2014, but managed to get out to stretch our legs and appreciate the beauty.
Q: What was the theme for INORMS and who attended?
A: The theme of the Congress was,
“Enabling the Global Research Enterprise from Policy to Practice,” with three primary tracks, “Policy, Practice and Performance”.
INORMS is an umbrella association of national and regional research management and innovation associations and societies who gather every two years to enable interaction, sharing of good practice and joint activities between member societies, in order to benefit their individual memberships. This was the fifth INORMS conference. Previously they’ve been hosted in Brisbane, Liverpool, Cape Town and Copenhagen. Delegates from all over the world attended. One of the DRUSSA delegates attending for the first time told me that he had had no idea that research management has such strategic importance. He said that the INORMS experience has transformed his thinking about management of research at his university.
There was representation from three of the four African Research and Innovation Management Associations [RIMA’s] at INORMS: SARIMA, WARIMA and CARIMA. There were also delegates from East Africa who formally resolved to do what they could to reactive EARIMA.
One of our goals as the DRUSSA programme is to work with the RIMA’s to promote the sustainability of Research Uptake and the best way that we seem to be agreeing to do this is through the provision of training in Research Uptake Management, which included a DRUSSA Research Uptake Management presentation by Diana Coates.We also initiated exploratory talks with the other international RIMAs around the incorporation of Research Uptake as a specialist area in Research Management. Watch this space! Again, the method would be through the provision of training courses through the international Research and Innovation Management Association, with plans in place to commission the development of training courses in Research Uptake Administration.
Q: Was there good exposure at INORMS for the DRUSSA Universities in terms of making their research more accessible?
A: Yes, there were two main opportunities. One was a half-day DRUSSA workshop titled “Getting Research Into Use by Policy-Makers and Practitioners: Research Uptake Management; a New Research Management Specialisation”.
In that workshop we featured examples of institutions of universities that are actively working to promote the uptake of research. These included York University in Canada, with a presentation on Knowledge Mobilization throughout the research cycle by David Phipps. From SSA, Dr Eme T Owoaje of University of Ibadan presented on Developing Research Uptake Capacity,while University of Buea representative Nalova Lyongapresented on Research Management Uptake at the University of Buea.
In addition, six other DRUSSA Universities had the opportunity to speak about how they’re implementing Research Uptake in their Universities: University of Rwanda; University of Addis Ababa; University of Nairobi; University of Mauritius; University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology [KNUST]. Other delegates from DRUSSA Universities presented posters and presentations including Edith Wakida from Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Dr. Gideon de Wet from University of Fort Hare. There were also other DRUSSA University representatives at the conference. Overall, there were more than 40 African delegates in the audience of 400.
Q: Did you have any significant insights during the conference that would be interesting to share with our readership?
A:Yes, there were two issues of significance that really struck me, and that both meld together on a practical level.
One was the high level of interest in Research Uptake. In our workshop our participants were drawn from all over the world. Almost all the African delegates were there but that made up less than half the audience. What the global participators found particularly interesting was our focus on promoting organization wide research uptake management capacity, and what intrigued them was the practical case study exercise we did with them to develop a Research Uptake strategy around a particular programme.
The other thing that really interested me about the conference as a whole was how much information and management of information to provide evidence of performance is becoming a dominant focus in research management. It’s becoming a sophisticated system for managing performance, and of recording and evaluating the results of research, with academic publications currently being the current proxy for measurement of performance. But also, at both strategic and practical levels, there is a strong focus on research having a societal impact i.e. that there must be Research Uptake and the processes and information this entails needs to be properly managed. There is an increasing requirement for measurement of socio-economic and development impact and relevance. This means there is an important role for management of the uptake of scientific evidence by research organisations’ external partners.
Q: Where can our readers find the DRUSSA University presentations from INORMS2014?
A: We’ve posted each of the presentations in our DRUSSA e-library. Just click on the link below to open each University’s presentation, or look at the ‘It’s Happening in Africa’ section on www.drussa.net for a blog version of each of these presentations.