Developing Research Management Structures in African Universities

Status: Completed project

Duration: 2009-2012

Project lead: The Association of Commonwealth Universites, United Kingdom

Funder: Carnegie Corporation of New York

Project award: USD 549,000

Summary: The ACU was awarded a grant to run a three-year project to support the strengthening of research management in a small cohort of African universities. The five participant universities were: University of Winneba, Ghana; University of Jos, Nigeria; Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; Makerere University, Uganda; University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

This project assisted the institutions in converting their awareness of research management issues into robust, sustainable structures by supporting the establishment of a central facility with oversight of research management and forming or revising institutional research policies and strategies. It was structured around five main strands of activity: communication with consultants; partnerships with universities in the global north; targeted initiatives awards; annual benchmarking meetings and surveys.

This continued the work started in the 2007-2008, Carnegie-funded project called Strengthening Research Management in African Universities, which sought to strengthen research management in 13 African universities.

Outcomes: During the project, the participating universities all developed clearly defined research management policies and offices, and over the course of the project, the numbers of staff allocated to these functions at the universities increased. In addition, the universities adopted leadership roles in the development of regional structures and other communities of practice for research management – they are all represented on the executive board of their respective regional research management associations.

Feedback from the participant universities indicated overall improvements in building research management structures at their respective institutions over the course of this project. However, it was also noted that the development of effective research management structures should be seen as a medium or even long-term process – and would continue after the formal project ended.

Outputs: The project findings are detailed in the paper 'Research management in African universities: from awareness raising to developing structures'.