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1 March 2017
Research Uptake Strategy at the University of Fort Hare Print
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 09:31

In an intensive workshop the University of Fort Hare (UFH)’s Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre (GMRDC) identified research uptake priority areas, identified key internal and external institutional stakeholders and developed a road map for taking the UFH Research Uptake Strategy forward.

In September 2015 UFH hosted a visit by the DRUSSA team. The visit focused on the University’s research uptake activities and strategy to date.  The GMRDC is responsible for managing and facilitating the University of Fort Hare’s research mission.

The visit was timely as the UFH has integrated its Research Uptake and Strategic Research Plans and the workshop discussions led identification of key areas for improvement. Tactics to implement these plans effectively were also discussed in depth.

 

Objectives of the workshop

The objectives of the workshop included:

  • Support for the DRUSSA Leader in his role in leading Research Uptake at the University of Fort Hare
  • Sensitising the GMRDC staff on Research Uptake at the University of Fort Hare and ways forward for the remainder of the programme and beyond
  • Supporting the DRUSSA Leader in refining and synthesising the existing University of Fort Hare Research Uptake Action Plan
  • Supporting the University in making full use of the DRUSSA programme’s opportunities to share good practice and learning with other DRUSSA member universities
  • Assessing areas where the DRUSSA Coordinator can further support the University of Fort Hare’s Research Uptake activities

Through a number of engaging group activities the DRUSSA team took the team through different research uptake scenarios that aided in understanding different stakeholders and science communication strategies to identify and reach targeted audiences for the specific research findings of a particular research project.

 

Tangible outcomes

The workshop resulted in tangible outcomes, beyond further contextualisation for the University of Fort Hare research uptake context. These included:

  • A stakeholder mapping exercise for GMRDC staff to assist in prioritising research uptake activities.
  • A baseline for existing resources at the University of Fort Hare that can be leveraged for research uptake purposes
  • A direction for further research uptake collaboration between the DRUSSA programme and the University of Fort Hare for the remainder of the programme.

In the workshop it was agreed that UFH will tailor make workshop material and introduce a Research Uptake Management workshop for researchers at UFH, amongst the array of other workshops that GMRDC already offers. This will sensitise researchers and create a greater sense of awareness of the Research Uptake Strategy, as well as assisting them to develop actionable plans to successfully disseminate their research findings effectively.

 

Sustainability

At the workshop it was agreed that Research Uptake should be included as a deliverable of all research projects. To support the Research Uptake Strategy at the University further a fully-fledged Innovation Office has been established to harness Innovation through identifying potential intellectual property, which may result in commercialising and marketing the innovation. It was however noted that the University’s Research Uptake strategy could be negatively affected by a lack of resources such as expertise, physical infrastructure and effective support systems on campus. This would jeopardise the sustainability of long-term institutionalisation of research uptake management. However the DRUSSA team’s visit was a great success and a very big boost for the GMRDC office. It left the Fort Hare team thinking on how best we can further support incorporation of Research Uptake and  maximise impact in a sustainable way. The lessons learnt will certainly assist us in the monitoring and evaluation of the research uptake outputs.


Mrs Tarisai Chikungwa-Everson is the Research Manager at the Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre of the University of Fort Hare, and a DRUSSA Communicator

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