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22 September 2017
The DRUSSA Digest | Vol 3 No 2 | July 2014
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The DRUSSA Digest is published online at Drussa.net and distributed electronically, four times a year. The Digest features articles about Research Uptake and Research Uptake Management (RUM) with a strong emphasis on the accomplishments of the DRUSSA universities, and the progress of the project. Please do forward this eDigest to your colleagues and suggest that they register as members of the DRUSSA Network.
 
In this edition of the DRUSSA DIGEST
 
 
IN BRIEF: THIS EDITION OF THE DRUSSA Digest

As the DRUSSA project matures the Research Uptake Conversations from the DRUSSA Universities themselves are taking centre stage. This issue of the DRUSSA DIGEST brings you news on how the DRUSSA Universities are working together on Research Uptake Strategy Guidelines to position their institutions to get research into use in the region.

The DRUSSA Universities are playing a noteworthy role in international Research Uptake discussions too. Recently, at the INORMS2014 Conference, representatives from eight DRUSSA Universities presented their institutions' progress and insights into Research Uptake Capacity Development, as well as participating in significant RU discussion sessions and meetings. These presentations featured in the ‘Snapshot’ series – a collection of progress updates and knowledge sharing about strengthening institutional Research Uptake Capacity. Two of the ‘Snapshot’ articles appear in this issue of the DRUSSA DIGEST, and the full collection makes for a fascinating collective read that bears testimony to the growing momentum of Research Uptake practices in DRUSSA University culture.
 
As the Research Uptake Conversation intensifies, the pivotal role of SSA’s Research and Innovation Management Associations has been recognized by DRUSSA and by funders, and future RIMA events are being geared to maximize on Research Uptake impact.
 
SARIMA played host to the most recent conference, where delegates were spoke of the high calibre and dynamism of the event. Again, DRUSSA University representatives and partners were actively involved in both Research Uptake presentations and discussion sessions, with interesting developments and insights shared and built upon.
 
The DRUSSA team have been busy as always, and in this issue of DRUSSA Digest members from the team share: action plans for the future that follow on from benchmarking learning and strategy; the second meaty read in a four-part Research Uptake Policy series; and our resident tech expert writes about ‘Tools’ for publishing’ and gives a no-nonsense explanation of why it’s worth knowing about EPUBS.
 
Last, but not least, it gives us great pleasure to introduce DRUSSA’s new editorial committee, nominated from across the DRUSSA programme and region, so as to allow for a good breadth and input of Research Uptake ideas and voices.
 
We hope that you find this issue of DRUSSA DIGEST an inspirational Research Uptake read, and we welcome your feedback, input and ideas.
 
IMPORTANT EVENTS:
DRUSSA is working together with key sub-Saharan African networks and associations so be sure to check our 'Events' section for events of consequence, including EARIMA, CARIMA and WARIMA events.
We hope you find this an interesting read. Please do follow the links to the full blogs on www.drussa.net, and add any feedback or comments to particular features there. If you have any suggestions or feedback we would love to hear from you. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
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DRUSSA Universities combine their strategic thinking to mutual benefit
 
At the DRUSSA Benchmarking meeting in March, university representatives discussed what steps were needed to make progress towards compiling effective RU Strategies. Over the weekend of 11th and 12th June, a working group from DRUSSA Universities met in Johannesburg to collectively draft a guidelines document on ‘How to write a University Research Uptake Strategy’. It was agreed that in the context of institutionalization of a new strategic approach, the process of change flows from (1) Awareness, to (2) Policy, (3) Strategy and (4) Action plan. The Research Uptake Working Group (RUMWG) team focused specifically on (3) Strategy, as they collaboratively drafted the guidelines. They worked through key insights that should be taken into account when compiling a Research Uptake Strategy, and will be sharing these, as well as the guidelines document, with the rest of the DRUSSA community.
 
For more about this, read the full blog.
 

Snapshot: University of Buea has a multifaceted approach to grow Research Uptake Management capacity
 
 
by Dr. Nalova Lyonga
 
 
Vice Chancellor Dr. Nalova Lyonga presented at INORMS2014, discussing University of Buea’s cooperative structure that is gearing up to get the university’s research into use.
 
When talking about building the University’s Research Uptake Communication and media reach Dr Nalova discussed the various communication pathways that are being developed to reach stakeholders. Of particular interest is that the university works with local leaders to disseminate information through their indigenous languages.
 
Translation methods draw on those used in churches, with culturally rich tools of drumming, dancing and theatre used to achieve pedagogic goals. Traditional media does feature as part of the University’s communication approach, but oral tradition is still the best communication practice to draw on to facilitate good Research Uptake. Currently, the university is poised to evaluate good communication practices in regard to oral tradition, as used in the many projects that UB presently houses.
 
For more about this, read the full blog.
 

Snapshot: Developing Research Uptake Capacity at the University of Ibadan

 
By Eme T. Owoaje
 
 
Dr. Eme T. Owoaje, Director of the Research Management office at UoI discusses the formalizing of Research Uptake at the University.
 
At University of Ibadan(UoI) Research Uptake activities are integral to activities of selected faculties, particularly Agriculture, Public Health, Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences. As a result of the DRUSSA project these actives are now more formalized.
 
The Research Management office is geared to keep a record of ongoing Research Uptake activities submitted by researchers, and to provide an annual report. To carry out their implementation the ‘Group of 24’ people from UoI actively collaborate with one another with regard to Research Uptake activities at the university, so as to build and embed Research Uptake skills in the institution. This ‘Group of 24’ has representatives from a spectrum of university faculties, from the Directory of Public Communications, the Library, the Advancement Centre, the Management Information Systems Unit and the West African Research and Innovation Management Association (WARIMA) secretariat. A committee of six staff members has been set up to draft a Research Uptake Strategy for the University of Ibadan.
 
It is interesting to note that since we began to formalize the Research Uptake activities at the University, we have simultaneously noticed that increasingly, more funders are requesting Research Uptake activities and deliverables as a condition of their funding.
 
For more about this, read the full blog.
 
 
DRUSSA and funders recognize the pivotal roles of RIMAs in SSA

DRUSSA and funders recognize the pivotal roles of RIMAs in SSA
 
Recent events demonstrate the concurrent recognition amongst funders and the DRUSSA project team that the Research and Innovation Management Associations (RIMAs) are vital mechanisms for strengthening and promoting every aspect of Research Management.
At the INORMS2014 conference held in Washington DC in April all four RIMAs (the professional bodies for research management in sub-Saharan Africa; CARIMA, WARIMA, SARIMA and EARIMA) were represented.
 
To the DRUSSA Universities benefit, RIMA leadership positions are occupied by DRUSSA University’ leaders and champions. As a consequence of this the universities were actively represented at two exploratory meetings held at INORMS2014, one run by the ESSENCE Group and one run by DRUSSA. DRUSSA programme co-leaders Dr. John Kirkland of the ACU and Diana Coates of OSD also participated.
 
What came out of these meetings was that there was agreement that having Research Uptake Management presentations at RIMA gatherings and conferences is a most effective way of raising general awareness of the importance of getting research into use, and as substantial numbers of research managers gather at these events they are ideal for organizing the presentation of training modules. These discussions were followed up at the SARIMA conference in Botswana in July, with the intention that Research Uptake training should be offered in the 2015 round of conferences.  
 
For more about this, read the full blog.
 

SARIMA Conference report back
 
The Southern African Research & Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) hosted the SARIMA Conference 2014 in Gaborone, Botswana from 6 to 10 July 2014. It was a great success. More than 300 delegates from 15 countries attended the SARIMA Conference 2014. Nineteen people from eight countries in the DRUSSA project attended.
 
A DRUSSA-led Discussion session on ‘Communication and the Uptake of Research’ explored how research managers increasingly have to carry out university research output and research utilization assessment as an integral part of their jobs, and this discussion session was well attended.
 
Further topics discussed included where the professional science communication skills required would best be located – in the research office, in the university public relations office, or in faculty offices. Dr. Peter Taylor of the IDRC’s Think Tank Initiative plenary presentation, entitled ‘ Influencing the Agenda: Putting Evidence into Action’, was of particular interest to Universities engaged in Research Uptake.
 
Dr. John Simwinga of University of Zimbabwe and Prof Shaun Pather of Cape Peninsula University of Technology both presented on progress in institutionalizing Research Uptake Management at their respective DRUSSA universities.
 
For more about this, read the full blog.
 

From Benchmarking to Action Plans – planning for the future

by Liam Roberts

While DRUSSA’s 2014 Benchmarking Report has been finalised, published and is now widely available, this is far from the end of the benchmarking story.
The nature of the benchmarking process is that we are seeking to measure and understand change over a period of time – not just the state of play at one moment in time. That is why responses to the 2014 Benchmarking Survey are most interesting by virtue of the responses from 2012 – that is to say, the real knowledge is found in the changes we’ve seen at the universities over this timeframe. It’s also why responses to a future benchmarking survey will help to give even greater dimension to our understanding of how Research Uptake is being built into DRUSSA Universities’ wider research agenda, and the great progress that they are making. This third, future Benchmarking survey is some time away, but it’s important to integrate what we’ve learned so far in near-term activities, too. 
 
On the DRUSSA blog this article continues with insight into: Action Plans; Moving Towards Implementation as well as Sharing Knowledge and adapting approaches.
 
For more about this, read the full blog.
 

Part 2: Research Uptake Policy series: a Meta-analysis of the knowledge-to-policy field
 
by Dr Sara Grobbelaar
 
In this ‘Knowledge to Policy Series’, I selectively review a number of concepts in the field of knowledge to policy. I have identified four areas that will serve as a framework within which to review the knowledge-to-policy literature. Provided in each part is a short reference guide to the literature. Where relevant, I point out practical implications with suggestions on how to utilise these heuristics/theories and frameworks, and, if applicable, how material under discussion been applied in the African context.
 
•   Part III: New approaches to agenda analysis and policy formation (Forthcoming.)
•   Part IV: Towards synthesised theories of policy change (Forthcoming.)
 
 
In Part 2, Meta-analysis of the knowledge-to-policy field’ we discuss using meta-analysis, and review various methods and approaches used in the study of knowledge to policy, with the focus on the analysis activity. This is useful in developing awareness of the various assumptions and origins of heuristics / models and frameworks. 
 
I give a short introduction to various authors that have tried to do such meta-analyses and draw conclusions on how this is useful in understanding various theories that have been developed.
 
For the full version, read the blog.
 

Tools for publishing: why it’s worth knowing about EPUBs

 

by Caite McCann
 
Don’t be afraid of the word EPUB. If it’s not already a part of your lingo, you’ll soon be throwing it into your sentences as often as you say PDF. Like a PDF, an EPUB is a free and open standard format, but in EPUB form, which is another way to describe an eBook that will adapt to be readable on any device from a computer to a cellphone to a Kindle and beyond. It also automatically publishes the most concise format to suit devices of any size, which conveniently reduces download times by reducing the end product size.
 
Why is it valuable to academics? An EPUB tool will allow you to simply prepare research papers, dissertations, theses, course material for students, presentations or supporting material for conferences, a series of newsletters or blogs, etc. in an eBook format.
 
If you are publishing for the first time there are simple tools that will help you get your work to look like a publication, and there are plenty of tools that will help make this process easy (see the blog for more details).
 
A ‘good to know’ is that many publishing houses that supply textbooks are now switching to EPUB, because it allows students to buy their textbooks online.  It’s possible for you to create a textbook or other publication from scratch, or you can automatically convert an existing formatted publication into an EPUB format (license dependent). An interesting ebook feature is that readers can both annotate the content or make personal notes about the content on their own devices.
So publishing in EPUB format is really useful for Research Uptake in that you can create more value from existing work, and reach broader audiences across a spectrum of devices, so as to get research into use.
 
For the full version, read the blog.
 
 

Call for Applications 2015: Postgraduate Diploma, MPhil and PhD in Monitoring and Evaluation Studies

 

Programme monitoring and evaluation research is now a standard feature in the planning and implementation of all social interventions. Whether the aim is to conduct a once-off implementation evaluation or an impact assessment, whether it is to do continuous programme monitoring or more participatory process evaluations, all of these methods require basic knowledge of and proficiency in the methodology of monitoring and evaluation studies.
 
The course have been designed for those who are tasked with the design, management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and interventions. The course content includes topics such as evaluation theory, evaluation design, programme monitoring and indicators, data-collection and analysis in programme evaluation research and the management of an M&E portfolio.
Find the detailed 2015 programme brochure here.

For the full version, read the blog.
 
 
New Editorial team

Introducing the DRUSSA DIGEST’s new editorial team
 
This publication – The DRUSSA DIGEST – features articles about Research Uptake and Research Uptake Management with a strong emphasis on the accomplishments and progress of the DRUSSA universities. The editorial committee is nominated from across the DRUSSA programme, so as to allow for a good breadth and input of ideas and voices. It meets online every quarter to discuss the forthcoming issue of the DRUSSA DIGEST. This involves catching up on relevant news, choosing content themes, devising article ideas, coordinating the production process and ensuring the DRUSSA DIGEST features diverse and relevant viewpoints. As the project matures the voices and ideas in the DRUSSA DIGEST are increasingly coming from the DRUSSA Universities themselves, and this committee is representative of this editorial direction. It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to our new editorial team. Look out for their input in the next DRUSSA DIGEST.
 
To meet the team, read the blog.
 

Events
It’s been an active year for DRUSSA with more events that stakeholders will be interested in coming up over the next few months.
 
The EARIMA Conference will be held in late August in Arusha, Tanzania.
The CARIMA Conference will be held in October in Equatorial Guinea.
The WARIMA Conference will be held in Nigeria in November. 
 
DRUSSA Network News is published quarterly. It is available on the DRUSSA blogsite, the DRUSSA App(register here to get the app) and via email (if you`re registered on the DRUSSA Network).
 
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