Academia and government open channels of collaboration at DRUSSA symposia

Last week, the first in a series of policy symposia were held in Ghana and Uganda, as part of a new raft of activities being undertaken by the Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA). The ACU is the lead partner in this DfID funded programme, which is seeking to assist in supporting research intensive African universities to play a greater role in contributing to the evidence base to address specific development challenges.

The initiative is built on the understanding that policies underpinned by a sound evaluation of research evidence lead to higher impact interventions and programmes for poverty reduction and improved quality of life. The ACU programme team, in conjunction with our partners in Ghana and Uganda, are implementing approaches to collaborate with six development focused government ministries to strengthen demand-side capacity.

In Ghana the DRUSSA partners are the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI) and the University of Ghana’s Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER). The team is working closely with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

In Uganda the partners are the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) and the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) at Makerere University. Here the team is working with the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sport, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.

Within the ministries the programme will be delivering a series of three interactive and mutually reinforcing activities to address identified capacity needs. These are designed to foster dialogue and links between senior policymakers and senior academics. The first of these activities took place last week with a series of three policy symposia in Ghana and Uganda in which senior policymakers from the respective ministries met with a cross-section of academics who specialise in disciplines relevant to contemporary policy initiatives, to discuss the current research in and approaches to specific policy areas. Full reports of the events will be available in due course.

Similar policy symposia will be held regularly over the next two years and will be supported through the production of a series of professional development courses on ‘handling science and evidence’ for junior and mid-level policy advisors. The courses will focus on enhancing the key skills of evidence evaluation, interpretation and engagement, using case studies drawn from current ministerial work.

The skills, knowledge and professional linkages that emerge from the policy symposia and the professional development courses will be reinforced through the introduction of a fellowship scheme. This scheme will place early career academics, with expertise in areas relevant to each ministry, within ministerial departments to provide staff with day-to-day access to research expertise. It will also foster skills and linkages that the Fellow can take back to his or her university to inform future collaboration between that institution and the ministry.

The next two years of the programme will be an exciting time for all those involved, and particularly for Ghana and Uganda, who are at the forefront of initiatives to link the supply and demand sides of research uptake. The end result, it is hoped, will be a greater reliance on locally-produced research evidence and local expertise to address domestic policy issues.

Last modified on 05/01/2016
Tags: Africa, DRUSSA, research

Comments

Keep it up , I'm immpressed, it will have an imapct on development basinf on research evidence
by Dr. Nsambu Kijjambu Frederick
on 07/11/2014 04:00

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Indeed this interesting and the key focus for research utilisation. Annabella
by Annabella Habinka
on 13/11/2014 00:15

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