|Strong indicators for the sustainability of Research Uptake in Africa|
|Thursday, 18 August 2016 10:28|
At this stage of the DRUSSA programme there is a tendency to focus our attention to questions of sustainability. Will the new Research Uptake expertise and skills be further embedded, and will the universities continue to support institutional research culture shifts? How will the universities’ adapted policy and strategy frameworks support Research Uptake in the medium- and long-term?
Happily, lessons from across DRUSSA’s five years give us strong indicators as to the sustainability and durability of Research Uptake capacity, systems and skills that have been built up over the course of the programme.
Key to sustainability are policies and strategies that support Research Uptake (RU). Over the period of the DRUSSA Programme universities have revised and updated RU related policies as well as produced strategies for implementation. In some cases new policies have been developed in order to include RU. All of these are available on DRUSSA.net and will be made available in the new digital Learning Resource.
Policies and strategies that support RU range from Institutional Repository policies, open access policies, community engagement and most importantly research policies. Amongst some of the policies developed over the last five years are CPUT’s Research Uptake Strategy and Tactics policy (February 2016), Addis Ababa’s Research Policy (2015), the University of Nairobi’s Research Uptake Strategy (2015), the University of the Free State’s Research Strategy 2015 – 2019, and the University of Buea’s Revised Research Strategic Plan.
The positive indicators align well with resolutions from the Benchmarking and Leadership Conference held in April 2016. There, Leaders and Champions designed and agreed a “Conference Consensus” which brought together key resolutions to support Research Uptake for the medium- and the long-term, drawing on their own experience in delivering practical and lasting institutional change.
One of the exercises that fed into the Conference Consensus was a review and reflection on the original Good Practice Statements (first authored by Leaders and Champions in 2012), and collegial selection of forward-looking, high-priority recommendations for any university to consider as they set about strengthening Research Uptake Management systems.
Liam Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Programme Officer (Policy) at the Association of Commonwealth Universities