Research Management and Uptake Programme

Research funders, university leaders, and academic staff expect research projects to be managed with an increasing level of professionalism, transparency, and accountability. In addition, demands are now being placed on universities to also demonstrate the impact of their research, allied with moves toward evidence-based policymaking.

The ACU has more than a decade of experience working within the field of research management, and is at the forefront of the emerging discipline of research uptake management. Our work in this area provides resources, and actively supports the development of the external environment (such as the establishment of professional research management associations, and fora for dialogue between funders and universities) to enhance related work taking place within ACU member institutions.

  • Research management and administration embraces anything that universities can do to maximise the impact of their research activity, but which is not part of the research process itself. This includes assisting with identifying new sources of funds and negotiating contracts with external sponsors, through to financial management of research projects and exploiting and disseminating research results.

  • Research uptake management is an emerging field within university management which focuses on a practical, cost-effective and sustainable approach to getting research into use. Research uptake management requires specialist individual capacity, aligned organisational structures, and strategic management processes to optimise conditions for the dissemination, uptake, and application of scientific evidence, including facilitating evidence-based policymaking.

  • Our High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) activities are concerned with advancing the framework for intergovernmental collaboration in science, technology and innovation.

Ongoing projects

Completed projects

  • Support for Research Governance and Management in Malaysia was a mini-project run by the ACU and the University of Malaya, Malaysia, between 2015-2016. The project sought to review the current Malaysian research management and governance framework, identify needs and areas for improvement, compare Malaysian practice with some of the best practices in the UK, and make recommendations for improvement in Malaysia.

  • Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) was a five-year, DFID-funded programme supporting 22 universities across Africa to strengthen the management of research uptake. It ran from 2011-2016 and has produced a wealth of materials which is now available in open access under the DRUSSA Learning Resource.

  • Promoting African European Research Infrastructure Partnerships (PAERIP) was an EU-funded project that ran from 2010-2013, aiming to boost and develop research infrastructure and cooperation between Africa and Europe.

  • The Research and Innovation Management for Africa and the Caribbean (RIMI4AC) project ran from 2009-2013 and sought to increase the capacity of research and innovation (R&I) managers, as well as the effectiveness of R&I management in universities and other institutions that produce research, in the Caribbean and Africa. 

  • Development Partnerships for Higher Education (DELPHE) was a programme supporting inter-university partnerships between universities that address the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Across Africa and Asia, DelPHE was able to support 200 inter-university partnerships between 2005-2010, with all funded projects completed by mid-2013.

  • Developing Research Management Structures in African Universities was a project which ran from 2009-2012, to support the development of research management structures in five African universities. 

  • Coordination and Advancement of Sub-Saharan Africa-EU Science and Technology Cooperation (CAAST-Net) was a high-level joint Africa-Europe project whose goal was to pursue an increase in the quality and quantity of bi-regional cooperation in science and technology between Europe and Africa, in both policy and research, targeting areas of mutual interest and benefit. It ran from 2008-2012.

  • Communicating research for utilisation was a small-scale study carried out between 2010-2011 which considered the potential of a complementary approach to existing research communication initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. It offered a meso-level strategy to build capacity inside the institution where the researcher is employed and to establish research communication expertise as a core competency set.

  • Research Africa was a partnership programme designed to strengthen and deepen research capacity in African universities. The ACU worked with partners between 2006-2010 in developing an online service, providing linkages and helping to share information between African and global research communities.

  • Strengthening Research Management in African Universities was a one-year Carnegie-funded project (2007-2008) to strengthen research management in 13 African universities. The cohort of institutions included five Carnegie partner universities, four MacArthur Foundation partner universities, and four ACU member universities, with a heavy focus on benchmarking.

  • West African Research and Innovation Management Association (WARIMA) was a one-year project aimed to establish a professional association to enhance structured capacity building in research and innovation management in the West Africa region. It ran between 2007-2008.