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DSA UK 3 rd November 2012 What Constitutes Effective Research Capacity Building? Lessons emerging from a national-level initiative involving Irish HEIs.

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Presentation on theme: "DSA UK 3 rd November 2012 What Constitutes Effective Research Capacity Building? Lessons emerging from a national-level initiative involving Irish HEIs."— Presentation transcript:

1 DSA UK 3 rd November 2012 What Constitutes Effective Research Capacity Building? Lessons emerging from a national-level initiative involving Irish HEIs.

2 Introduction Speakers Prof Ronnie Munck, Dublin City University Mr Peter McEvoy, Dublin City University Ms Arleen Folan, Dundalk Institute of Technology Dr Ogenna Uduma, Trinity College Dublin

3 Harnessing Knowledge for Poverty Reduction Irish African Partnership for Research Capacity Building [IAP]

4 IAP – offshoot of Universities Ireland apex-level body of 11 institutions Contribution of IAP: Internationalisation strategies more aligned with development thinking Contributed visibly to social responsibility profile of universities Added value to the work of individual universities by working atIreland Inc level Connected science and innovation, learning and teaching and researchin the service of development + DkIT & DIT

5 IAP Project Aims To build individual & institutional capacity in development-responsive research in the Irish universities To build capacity in health, education, gender and ICT research with the four partner African universities In the longer term, to develop an inter- institutional Irish-African development research capacity platform

6 IAP Project Philosophy RCB contributing to poverty reduction and the MDGs as decision-making becomes more knowledge-intensive, Higher Education has a vital role to play - alongside government and wider civil society - in promoting human development Global Sustainable Development requires full participation by Africa in the knowledge society HEIs as generators of evidence-based research, policy advice and training relevant to development agenda HEIs strengthen civil society and reflective public policy networking with local communities and NGOs.

7 Products of IAP Stakeholder Consultation Report on current status of development research capacity in Irish and African partner universities Foresight analysis of health and education needs Metrics package for Research Capacity Building Webportal for community of practice in international development Regional residential workshops on research management (Malawi 2010 and Dar es Salaam 2011) Publication of a research capacity building manual and a series of academic articles (e.g. published by EUA)

8 Factors conducive to institutional-level Research Capacity Building [1] 1.Development of an embedded and socially-responsive research culture in HEIs, recognising the contribution of research to effective teaching, learning and civic engagement 2.The establishment and effective functioning of a Research Office to take research from conceptualisation through to dissemination, and manage the research process across the institution 3.Increased activity of international North-South and South-South partnerships and networking 4.The development of effective research infrastructure, in particular electronic connectivity facilitating on-line access to global research and publications databases 5.Enhanced research training, in particular through more and better structured modalities of postgraduate formation and stronger foundation in research methods (quantitative, qualitative, critical thinking) and cross disciplinary collaboration

9 Factors conducive to institutional-level Research Capacity Building [2] 6.Increased research funding, and more diversified sources of research grants. 7.N-S co-authorship of research publications, in particular in peer-reviewed journals but also in policy-relevant outlets 8.An increase in the number of women entering and remaining in research careers with clear support mechanisms to do so along with learning innovation and civic engagement missions 9.A well developed process of dissemination of research findings, in particular through linkages with evidence based development policy and practice 10.Greater emphasis on the need to relate research to major global challenges - poverty reduction, better quality of life and resilience to climate change.

10 What now?.... Even though funding expired, IAP continues as an inter- institutional network, focused on RCB Learning is being disseminated into: –New phase of Irish Aid Programme of Strategic Cooperation –EU-Africa DocLinks project funded by Erasmus Mundus Encourage university sector and development sector unifying initiatives, such as DSA Ireland Brain Retain - distance mentoring of research students / early career researchers in Africa

11 Title Water is Life Funded by Irish Aid/HEA Programme for Strategic Co-operation Goal of this programme: – to build research capacity in Ireland and Africa in relation to safe and sustainable water provision in Africa Water is Life - 5 year programme to 2014 Large numbers of partners - both Southern and Northern

12 Key activities Develop appropriate activities in the area of water resource sustainability & monitor its effects on community health, gender & poverty through a combination of 8 PhD research projects & community engagement Support research with a water-centred focus; Examine water sourcing, distribution & sanitation; Assess impact on community & health & gender; Engage community interest & support; Generation and provision of an appropriate GIS database; and, Ultimately inform a jointly developed taught Masters degree programme (Ireland/Uganda).

13 Key features Inter / Intra institutional Multi- / Trans-disciplinary Research in the field Multiple levels of engagement: – academic, state, community and policy influencers Top-down and bottom-up approach Focus on policy implementation - from practice to policy

14 Water is Life embodies coordination across all levels of disciplines produce sound and societally relevant research through active collaboration capacity building promote strong N-S partnerships provide evidence for decision making engagement policy dialogue education adaptive management technology advances hydrology anthropology health science engineering geography sociology political science What we are capable of doing What we want to do What should we do? How to do what we want to do? adapted from MaxNeef (2005) Water is Life approach What exists

15 WIL - tangible outcomes Doctoral training (collaborative approach) – 8 African researchers Production of joint N-S Masters –Cert. in Sustainable Water Management Publications – Journal articles (at least 10) – Project book Spatial database Policy briefs International /national colloquia / conference presentations Ongoing public engagement / community training

16 Project schedule Feb 2010 Nov 2010Aug 2012 Student initiation & training (Ireland) Cert. in Sust. Water Management Agreed work plans Identification of cross-cutting themes Cementing of partnerships 1 st WIL workshop (Uganda) Research- informed module development for joint N-S Masters Jan 2010 Student recruitment Dec 2011 External WIL mid-term review Nov nd WIL workshop (Ireland) Ongoing collaboration and dissemination Ongoing production of spatial database Collation and analysis of localised health database Student fieldwork ongoing Collaborative supervision Various conference presentations Production of peer reviewed papers REVIEW REPORT REVISE RE-ASSESS

17 Learning to date ChallengeWIL response Ensuring partner and stakeholderbuy-in (including supervisory arrangements) Set the agenda together including defined roles and responsibilities Determine most appropriate channels/methods of communication for each stakeholder group at an early stage Monitor commitment (accountability) Agree on an MOU and a strategic plan Ensure mutual learning Acknowledge cultural backgrounds of all partners involved Shared ownership of all outcomes Promote platforms for exchange of outcomes - appropriate to stakeholder groups Direct exposure of North and South participants to broad range of partner expertise PhD completion North and South supervisory arrangements (joint supervision) Frequent supervisory visits Realistic stipends and travel allowances (rate per country) 4 year completion targets

18 Learning to date ChallengeWIL response Effective implemetation of research results Ensure societal relevance (initial goal) Ongoing dialogue - academic, community, policy level, etc. Speak the language of the end-user Sustainability and legacy Prevention of brain-drain Enhanced visibility of Southern academic partners through impact peer-reviewed publications Creation and expansion of networks within the network Plan a future sequence of projects from these alliances Provision of robust research findings that can inform decision-making for the future benefit of the end-users (rural Ugandan communities)

19 Strengthening higher education in and for Africa Collaborative delivery with African partners of doctoral training focussed on students based in Africa Raising awareness and building development skills of Ireland-based doctoral students Analysis, evaluation and communication managed by a new institutional platform for development Co-funded by Irish Aid under the Programme for Strategic Cooperation between Irish Aid and Higher Education and Research Institutes

20 Three partnership models Multilateral – Indigo International Doctorate in Global Health Bilateral – TCD and Makerere University (Environment and Medicine). One co-registered doctoral student from Makerere in the field of wetlands and climate change. Africa-led – African Economics Research Consortium (AERC). TCD Teaching in the CPP.

21 Multilateral –12 Indigo students now registered at TCD (6 funded by Irish Aid): from Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda, Nigerian, Finland, Sudan, Ireland, Canada and United States. Bilateral –One student currently in his fourth year in Makarere and visiting TCD in September. AERC –Two students currently in their fourth year. TCD staff contributing in the CPP Current status

22 Review Semi- structured interviews with all partners, supervisors and students in all model. Multilateral 37, bilateral 5, African-led 11 and 11 Externals SWOT Analysis

23 African - led SWOT Strengths Good partnership model Strengthens economics training in local universities in Africa Contributes to capacity building and economic development in Africa CPP Biannual conference Cost effective Weaknesses Funding structure AERC strong emphasis on the course work (CPP) and not on the overall research process Non Standardisation of PhD Lack of adequate Infrastructure Opportunities Unmet demand for PhD in the South due to lack of resources Building on collaborative networks Knowledge exchange Threats Current Financial climate Enabling environment High management costs

24 Strengths Equitable partnership structure Supervision Model Student Centred Cost effective and a good sandwich programme Weaknesses Limited capacity of the programme Nature, timing and planning of the sandwich programme Opportunities Scale up and broaden the programme Threats Small scale of the programme Funding Bilateral SWOT

25 Strengths Innovative nature of the programme Sandwich nature of the programme Capacity building element of the programme Programme design and structure Weaknesses Institutional Challenges Managing partners and expectations Financial Constraints Programme design and structure Opportunities Need to build health research capacity in the South Focus on Southern led initiatives and joint partnerships Threats Funding and research infrastructure Building and maintaining equitable partnerships Multilateral SWOT

26 Recommendations The needs, motivations, and expectations of each of the groups involved in this type of programme should be articulated and attended to from the start. The systems within which the programmes are being established should also be understood and articulated including constraints and resources available. The added value of participating in a network, particularly an international network, beyond the individual student and supervisor was emphasised by participants across all models. The selection of students, supervisors and research topics are crucial stages and should be considered carefully. The selection of junior staff members who have existing positions in Southern universities to participate in PhD programmes is aligned with core objectives of research capacity building.

27 Recommendations contd. The objectives of the programme should help determine the degree of input individual supervisors, students and a wider advisory group should have to the topic. Research topics should match the particular objectives of the programme. Good project planning and communication is crucial to the success of the programme throughout. All partners should be involved in the earliest stages of planning to build the foundation for equal partnership. Each of the models of partnership builds capacity and is a worthwhile investment in the development of African education systems. Continued investment is recommended.

28 Title Overall conclusions What do we mean by partnership over and above the rhetoric? How does higher education feed into socio- economic development and poverty reduction in practice? Who sets the development research agenda and decides on priorities? Is the Northern/Western model of higher education relevant/replicable in Sub Saharan Africa? Is there an 'Irish' model of research capacity building?

29 Title Thank you

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