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1 March 2017
Research Uptake Success Stories: a common thread Print
Thursday, 18 August 2016 12:02

Critical to Research Uptake success, and one of the focus areas of the DRUSSA Programme, are the institutional support mechanisms that are available to provide support to individual research projects. These include policies and strategies that guide Research Uptake; support structures such as the Research office, Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Management Offices that identity research for uptake and manage stakeholders; and Communications and media offices that provide additional technical support in terms of writing skills, online accessibility of publications, events management and design. As a result of these support structures, Research Uptake activities have been strengthened.

The success of Research Uptake initiatives will hinge on understanding and engaging effectively with the relevant stakeholders, be they government officials, industry partners, communities, development organisations or the broader public. Many DRUSSA Universities have Innovation offices, such as the University of Mauritius’ Knowledge Transfer Office, NUST’s Research and Innovation Office and Kenyatta University’s Division of Research and Innovation . These offices provide support in not only identifying research for uptake, but also in managing stakeholders and providing knowledge exchange mechanisms.

 

Gathering and Sharing important Research Uptake stories: some highlights

DRUSSA.net has gathered  many stories which reflect the importance of stakeholder engagement and how DRUSSA universities are managing their relationships with key audiences. For example:

  • By correctly identifying industry and other stakeholders Addis Ababa University held a very successful open day, showcasing its research to potential industry partners.
  • Both the University of Mauritius and Mbarara University of Science and Technology have used stakeholder analysis to strengthen uptake. In both cases the research was taken up by stakeholders (farmers and policymakers respectively).
  • Kenyatta University was able to work with multiple stakeholders in attacking the problem of food security and NUST worked with a number of stakeholders to improve technologies for the textile industry.
  • The OAU used participatory research to address food security and enhanced the Research Uptake potential of their research by having identified and engaged with stakeholders through the research process.
  • In the 2016 DRUSSA Benchmarking Survey policy makers were identified as key stakeholders for universities and through the DRUSSA Fellowship Programme universities in Uganda and Ghana have been able to work with policy makers in reviewing policies such as the Ugandan Energy Policy and Food Security in Ghana.
"Inviting the media to such events has the additional impact of disseminating research to the public through popular media channels such as radio and television"

Working with the Media to amplify research dissemination and engage with stakeholders

A key stakeholder for all universities is the media. Some universities have their own radio stations, for example KNUST, and others, such as CPUT,  work with the media to attract potential industry partners, through open days where the media and potential industry partners are invited to see the potential that current and completed research has for technology transfer. Inviting the media to such events has the additional impact of disseminating research to the public through popular media channels such as radio and television.

"The list goes on, but one common strand throughout is the importance of stakeholder engagement"

Stories of success

There are a number of examples of successful research uptake at DRUSSA universities. These include research that has been taken up by neighbouring communities (for example University of Fort Hare research and research at Ibadan benefiting rural farmers), by policy makers (for example research on malaria conducted at Calabar University); and by the general public (for example CPUT research on the benefits of rooibos tea).The list goes on, but one common strand throughout is the importance of stakeholder engagement. 


Alison Bulen is the DRUSSA Programme Content Writer

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