|Exploring Research Utilisation at the University of Ibadan|
|Friday, 31 July 2015 13:38|
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.
When the opportunity to participate in the MPhil STS course sponsored by DRUSSA came up, I excitedly applied for the scholarship. My position as the Director, Research Management Office, University of Ibadan, requires me to have a solid understanding of research uptake and utilisation and I was aware of the findings of numerous scientific of research projects conducted by the researchers at University of Ibadan which had potential for further uptake. Many of these findings are largely unknown to others apart from the researchers and their peers because they were mainly published articles in journals. I felt the Masters Programme would provide me with the requisite knowledge and skills to enhance the university’s research uptake and utilisation by other beneficiaries, beyond the academic world.
Science Technology and Development
The course itself was an interesting and rather different academic experience for me. Coming from a medical background where the learning approach is focused on hard scientific facts, the social science or humanities approach adopted in this programme took a bit of getting use to. The Science, Technology and Development Module was particularly challenging for me because of the political economics slant. However, the lectures were very interesting and the course materials provided useful information on the topic. The various modules were taught by a wide variety of lecturers from Stellenbosch University, other South African institutions and Europe. This gave an international outlook and a broad perspective to the course. Apart from the taught courses, there was also an opportunity to engage in practical sessions during the Bibliometrics Module. We were introduced to the Web of Science database and taught how access research publication information. Application of the Bibliometrics Module provided me with useful 3rd party provided information about the leading researchers at University of Ibadan, publishing patterns and trends, collaborators and funders.
The course on Science and its Publics was particularly enlightening. The role of the media and in particular social media in disseminating research findings was clearly demonstrated by the course instructor.
The Utilisation of Research at the University of Ibadan
I am currently working on my dissertation “The Utilisation of Research at the University of Ibadan” which explores the ways research findings are utilised by beneficiaries and the factors that influence the utilisation of these findings. I am currently analysing the results of the survey and writing up the dissertation supported by my supervisor, Dr. Nelius Boshoff.
A major benefit of my research project is that we have been able to obtain information about the sources of research funding, and the level of research utilisation, providing a holistic picture of research and Research Uptake at the university.
Overall, my participation in the MPhil STS course has been an interesting experience, exposing me to new concepts and enabling me to acquire skills in the area of research utilisation. A major benefit is that I now have better understanding of the importance of research utilisation. As a researcher myself, I can pass on the information to my colleagues and also promote increased research utilisation at the University of Ibadan through the Research Management Office.
Dr Eme Owoaje , Director of the Research Management Office at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria