Results of the DRUSSA Benchmarking Survey revealed

Results of the DRUSSA Benchmarking Survey revealed

Published on 17 March 2014

African universities are gradually introducing new mechanisms to encourage the uptake of research by key stakeholders, although much more remains to be done. These are the findings of a benchmarking exercise undertaken by the Development Research Uptake in Sub Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) programme, led by the ACU.

The results of the 2014 DRUSSA Benchmarking Survey were presented by ACU staff Emma Falk and Tom Harber at a meeting of 22 partner universities in Cape Town last week. The survey revealed an increase in the number of offices and posts dedicated to research uptake, new initiatives to consider how staff could be incentivised, and a range of measures to facilitate better relations with external stakeholders. Progress, however, was uneven and the partner universities recognised that more would need to be done if these new structures are to have maximum impact.

‘These findings are encouraging, and were backed up by practical examples at the meeting,’ said John Kirkland, Deputy Secretary General of the ACU. ‘Equally, no one thinks that introducing systematic measures to help get African research into use will be easy. This process requires a sea change in thinking. It has taken decades in northern countries, and there is no reason to think that it will be easier in Africa. However, many universities are showing real commitment, and they should be supported in this.’

The survey and meeting formed part of the DRUSSA project, which the ACU leads, with funding from the UK Department for International Development. The project involves 24 universities drawn from throughout Africa, and is being undertaken in conjunction with South Africa-based consultancy Organisation Systems Design, and the Centre for Research and Evaluation in Science and Technology (CREST) at the University of Stellenbosch. 

Further details of the DRUSSA project can be obtained from the ACU Project Manager, Karrine Sanders, at or by visiting

Photo credit: Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA)