Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA)
Building Research Uptake Management Knowledge and Capacity
Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa – or DRUSSA for short – is a five year programme, led by three partner organisations – the Association of Commonwealth Universities, CREST at Stellenbosch University, and Organisation Systems Design. (OSD), an independent consultancy based in Cape Town – and supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
The DRUSSA programme is designed to support and facilitate institutional change within 24 participating universities and research institutes so that they can build and strengthen their internal capacity and expertise in research uptake. It will work with an implementation team selected by each university in order to do this.
No, it is not a training programme, although it does include some opportunities for training through the Master‟s programme in Research Evidence and Impact which will be offered as part of the programme, and through associated continuing professional development (CPD) courses offered by CREST.
Although the DRUSSA programme is led and coordinated by the ACU, CREST and OSD, its aim is not to transfer external best practice into the participating institutions, or to create a particular set of structures for research uptake management. Instead, DRUSSA will work with each individual university to assist its implementation team to identify how they wish to develop their own research uptake capacity, and how this can be done largely through existing staff and resources available within the institution.
The emphasis on DRUSSA as an institutional process is important. It takes as its starting point the need to ensure that capacity is institutionalised, rather than simply developing skills within individual staff members. Its establishment as a five year programme recognises that change within universities takes time, and will involve formal requirements being met as well as acceptance by the university community.
DRUSSA is also a regional programme, with the aim of forging and supporting links between emergent research uptake managers in universities across east, west and southern Africa. This will be a key part of the programme‟s sustainability – by supporting the growth of research uptake strands within existing research management associations, and encouraging staff of participating institutions to become members of these professional associations, the programme will aim to develop an enduring community of research uptake specialists.