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28 April 2017
The DRUSSA Digest | Vol 4 No 4 | Jan 2016
Editorial and Contents
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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.

 

Editorial

The DRUSSA universities continue to provide examples of the ways in which Research Uptake is being embedded in their university systems. Kenyatta’s Research Uptake Communicator fills us in on how new avenues to get knowledge translated and into use by stakeholders are being put in place, while Obafemi Awolowo University’s Communicator recounts the extensive work that’s being done to digitise and index all completed research for web-access which will take a couple more years to get up to date. Addis Ababa University reports that an exhibition of research with potential for uptake attracted over 5 000 visitors, while the University of Mauritius’ turn to external stakeholders has concentrated on bringing the higher education sector into a debate about how universities can provide solutions to development needs.
In this final year of the DRUSSA programme its very much about handing on the learning, training and experience accumulated over the past years to the universities:  in the next few months the intensive peer-learning and training materials that have been developed and piloted will be used within the universities to support and inform researchers who are undertaking projects that require engagement and communication with stakeholders and beneficiaries. And, being the final year, evaluation of the outcomes of the programme is vital, with surveys, case studies and tracking and recording examples of engagement and communication underway.   
 
We hope you find this an interesting read. Please do follow the links to the full blog version of each article on www.drussa.net for even more interesting reading. Please add any feedback or comments to particular features there. If you have any general suggestions or feedback we would be pleased to hear from you. Please email the Communications and Engagement Co-ordinator and the DRUSSA DIGEST Editor  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
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Mauritius Higher Education Institutions and Research Uptake: Research Responses to Development Priorities

 
 
One element of the DRUSSA programme’s Research Uptake approach is to foster university higher education policy dialogue. The University of Mauritius organized a symposium on 27th November 2015 entitled, “Mauritius Higher Education Institutions and Research Uptake: Research Responses to Development Priorities”.
 
The one-day Policy Symposium was held to create an enabling platform for effective deliberations among key stakeholders and actors in the educational sector in Mauritius. Primarily, the Higher Education Policy Symposium aimed at engaging stakeholders to solicit their views and opinions on how higher educational policies, plans and strategies should be formulated to encourage research uptake practices and dialogue between policy makers and academics.
 
You can read the full blog here

Maliny Naïdoo Soobrayen is the Placement Coordinator for Work Based Learning, CILL, University of Mauritius and a DRUSSA Research Uptake Communicator

 

 

Kenyatta University has an established culture of Research Uptake

Kenyatta University continues to  build a strong and dynamic research culture that enriches academic experience, creates new knowledge across disciplines, and helps improve the economic, social, and cultural vitality of the country, region and beyond. Research continues to be an important catalyst for development and with the country’s effort geared towards middle income economy, the University recognizes that creation, adaption and use of knowledge are among the critical factors necessary for rapid economic growth and development.
 
The University appreciates that knowledge translation is important in influencing policy and practice and thereby responding to the society’s needs and challenges of today and the future. In order to continue strengthening Research Uptake, the University has put in place more avenues aimed at amplifying the need to include stakeholder engagement and communication in research activities at the University, as outlined in the full blog which you can read here

 
Violet Sweeney Tindi is Kenyatta University’s DRUSSA Research Uptake Communicator, based in the Division of Research, Innovation and Outreach.
 

5 500 people attended the Research Output Marketing Exhibition (ROME) at Addis Ababa University

To promote the practice of disseminating research outputs to government and commercial entities and to the wider public the University of Addis Ababa College of Natural Sciences (CNS) organized a two-day Research Output Marketing Exhibition (ROME) in 2015. The main purpose of the event was to promote Research Uptake by showing where the potential for these to be converted into marketable commodities and/or services is being investigated. The event was also intended to promote the research prowess of the College and initiate and strengthen the ties between the College and the industrial and agricultural sectors.

 

The “ROME” Exhibition was specifically designed to promote the research of members of CNS. Showcased in the event were the results generated by the faculty and from close to 50 post-graduate programs and over 550 past and present PhD students whose primary advisor is/was a CNS faculty member.

 

Thirty-four selected marketable research outputs, grouped in five major thematic categories, were presented at the event.

 

You can read more here


 

Habtamu Getinet is the Senior Research Capacity Building Officer and Research Uptake Communicator at the University of Addis Ababa

 

 

 

Linking Universities and Government in Uganda: The DRUSSA Fellowship Programme

 
During 2015 DRUSSA implemented a Fellowship Programme in Uganda and Ghana. As part of the programme Prof. Dr. Eng. Noble Banadda, from Makerere University was placed in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in Uganda. He tells DRUSSA about the complexities of Evidence Informed Policy Making in Uganda.
 
As a key expert in the field of agriculture and the environment, the DRUSSA Fellowship was an opportunity for Prof Banadda to discuss research priorities with policy makers. In his role as a DRUSSA Fellow the research needs were co-identified with the Commissioner of Agribusiness in the ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in Uganda.
 
Prof Bannada explains: “We agreed on a wish list that the Ministry wanted, but the source of funding was not clear. The mentality in the Ministry is quite different to what I am used to in academia. In academia, we do things for the sake of posterity. The ministry operates on budgets and time lines. To reconcile those two divergent attitudes is no easy task. The expectation was that DRUSSA would provide the funds to conduct research to fill in gaps in knowledge about specific issues. It was later understood that I would use my knowledge, and research experience to share what I know with colleagues at the ministry. We therefore agreed to focus on the beans and milk value chains. The ministry has committed to support me by their presence while in turn we need to understand that the ministry, as a government department, operates under a budget cycle. Ministries do not have budgets to conduct research. I plan to engage the top managers in ministry in a series of seminars and workshops where I shall share my research findings. It’s my anticipation that they’ll participate by asking the hard questions and the whys, and in this way I hope to influence their consideration of agricultural development policies”.
 

You can read the full blog here


 

Prof. Dr. Eng. Noble Banadda of Uganda’s Makerere Univeristy is a DRUSSA fellow placed in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in Uganda

 

 

 

Key Research Uptake activities and successes at Obafemi Awolowo University Nigeria

 

The success of the DRUSSA Programme at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) has been collective efforts of the DRUSSA Leaders and Champions, as well as the Research Uptake (RU) administrators. Their work has led to the sensitisation of the principal officers of OAU, the establishment of Faculty Research Uptake administrators and the deepening of RU practices within the institution. A presentation at the 2015 WARIMA Conference Prof Olubukola Olakunbi Ojo, Deputy Director of Linkages and Sponsored Research and currently DRUSSA Champion, outlined the key RU activities as well as successes at OAU. Prof Abiodun Adediran and Prof Kehinde Taiwo were the initial DRUSSA Leader and Champion, with Prof Olubukola Olakunbi Ojo joining in 2014.  Dr. I.A. Oke and Dr A. G. Akintomide are the science communicators who have been training Faculty Representatives and Mr S. O. Adewoye the university webmaster.These key RU persons are supported by faculty and departmental representatives nominated by the Deans and the Heads of Department respectively.

Prof Abiodun Adediran and Prof Kehinde Taiwo were the initial DRUSSA Leader and Champion, with Prof Olubukola Olakunbi Ojo joining in 2014. Other university staff have been selected to support their work including Dr Akintomide as a designated science communicator, along with Prof Ojo, and Mr Adewoye who is the university webmaster. These key RU practitioners are supported by departmental representatives nominated by the Heads of Department.

 

Much of the Research Uptake activity is reflected on the OAU website link to a Research Uptake/DRUSSA Page. Here university staff can find information about the DRUSSA programme as well as detailed information about what Research Uptake is and some of the barriers to Research Uptake. Most importantly, a newly added interactive blog facility where university staff can register and load blogs allows researchers to upload blogs about their research, which contributes to broader dissemination of, and interaction with, their findings.

 

Read more here


 

Prof. Olubukola Olakunbi Ojo is a Deputy Director in the  Directorate of Linkages and Sponsored Research, Obafemi Awolowo University Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

DRUSSA Universities Track Cases of Engaged Research 

 

As one of the results of the DRUSSA programme member universities are fully aware that effective Research Uptake isn’t something that is added on to the end of a project, should time allow. Research Uptake can be “built-in” to the research process from the very start. It involves identifying external stakeholders who need, can relate to, adopt and utilise research findings; building reliable channels of engagement and communication with them; and getting the language right. Sustainable partnerships can grow from such positive experiences, making Research Uptake even more effective in subsequent projects, as well.

 

This holistic approach not only encourages research user buy-in, but, crucially, improves the research and establishes trust that can serve researchers well in the formation of future partnerships and future projects. 

 

In every university there is ground-breaking research going on that is highly relevant to a range of external audiences, and DRUSSA partner universities have identified specific projects to follow the influence of how new or strengthened Research Uptake managements systems can maximise the chances of research being taken up by end users.

 

We call these showcases “Demonstrator Research Projects.” They are examples of some of the most innovative developmental research being undertaken at each DRUSSA institution, and ones where new strategies, processes and skills can all come to bear in heightening external engagement with the research.

 

You can read about the Demonstrator Research Projects at University of Mauritius, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and the University of Buea here


 

Liam Roberts, Acting Programme Manager (DRUSSA,) The Association of Commonwealth Universities

 

 

DRUSSA’s Research Uptake Communication Peer-learning Approach

 

RUC2016, the fourth activity in the Research Uptake Communications (RUC) series is underway, integrating digital and face-to-face team-mentored learning exercises that guide each team to strategise, plan and complete a RUC campaign.

The DRUSSA universities have taken a peer-learning and sharing approach to learning Research Uptake Communication (RUC) knowledge and skills, both within their own university teams, and at every opportunity with the RUC teams in the other universities taking part in the programme. It has been an annual mentored digital learning exercise, with a face-to-face exercise in 2015, that has guided each university RUC team to strategise, plan and complete a RUC campaign.

 
Read more here

 

 

 
Coming up: A Science Communication package for DRUSSA Universities

 

A training package based on user-identified priorities for sub-Saharan African universities’ external-facing engagement and Research Uptake communication modes is to be handed over in April 2016.
 
The demand for training resources comprising a digital training package, a train-the-trainer guide and trained trainers, has consistently been expressed by DRUSSA programme participants, who have recommended an in-service, short course format. The recommendation was that the course should be focused on the need for post-graduates and early career researchers to prepare themselves for the challenges of winning grants and contracts that require research to be relevant and accessible. Established researchers too, are increasingly required to engage with potential user groups who require evidence-based research findings. 
 
These user groups range from entrepreneurs to community leaders, policy makers, the funders of research, and the general public.  As the DRUSSA programme draws to a close, the training package will become a useful legacy of the work that has been done over the past 5 years, will contribute to consolidating the integration of Research Uptake into institutional management systems, and extend the reach of research findings beyond academic audiences.
 
 

Scholarships for Online Course on Using Knowledge in Policy Making in Africa

 

The online course “Leaders of change: helping African policy makers develop their capacity to promote the use of knowledge in policy” is starting on March 28th. Through this call, Politics & Ideas, the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) and the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) will support, with full scholarships, the involvement of those public officials from Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe interested in promoting the use of knowledge in their organisations through their participation in this online course (limited places).

For further information on the course’s background, objectives, learning methodology and content go to the R2A website. For additional queries, please write to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

 

 
Events
  • 4 April - 5 April 2016  DRUSSA Workshop Science Communication - Train the Trainers' Course, Johannesburg South Africa
  • 6 April DRUSSA Workshop Research Uptake Communications 2016
  • 27 - 29 April 2016 - The DRUSSA programme will convene the third Benchmarking review, in Mauritius

 

 
 
The DRUSSA Digest 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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