Research uptake management: a strategic framework for institutionalising research uptake at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi

Ankamah-Lomotey, Vincent Anum (2019-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study examined the issue of research uptake and research uptake management with particular reference to how these can be institutionalised within an organisation. The focus was to propose a strategic framework that identifies pathways and activities necessary for research uptake suitable for the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana. The broader impact of the study is its implication to the management of research. Generally, research is aimed at advancing knowledge, influencing policy, improving practice and resolving socio-economic problems. The expectation that knowledge produced by universities and research institutes should affect human life has led to the increasing demand for knowledge utilisation. Ghana’s foremost technological institution, KNUST, was set up to provide the necessary technological manpower and knowledge for the labour market. Essentially, its mandate is to provide higher education, undertake research, disseminate knowledge and foster relationships with stakeholders. Undertaking research and disseminating knowledge imply taking research beyond the confines of the laboratory and publication in refereed journals to society. Developmental research for which KNUST is noted has to reach other major stakeholders, such as small and medium-scale industry, farmers and policymakers. The management of research in the university ought to make this a priority. The aim of the study was to address the problem of research uptake and utilisation by examining the need for a policy framework to institutionalise research uptake at KNUST. The proposed framework takes a critical look at the planning and generation of developmental research at KNUST and the mechanisms and activities necessary for research uptake. The study, which employed a survey and interviews with researchers at KNUST, established that the expected areas of research impact are solving environment and social problems, influencing policy, influencing practice and solving immediate and technical problems. However, the extent to which researchers have been successful in these areas was found to be below expectation compared to advancement of knowledge and solving theoretical problems, which seemed to be the main focus of researchers. It was found that, although there are several areas where the university can play a role in local and national development, the research agenda and focus of researchers at KNUST as well as of faculties and colleges are aimed at advancement of knowledge and solving theoretical problems. There were however, a few examples of research that had influenced national policy and practice. A policy shift is therefore necessary to correct this if the university is to make an appreciable impact on society. It was observed that, as far as engagement with stakeholders is concerned, researchers engage mostly with scientists and researchers from other universities and research institutes. The mechanisms and channels of engagement varied from stakeholder to stakeholder and from faculty to faculty. Generally, it seems researchers at KNUST mostly engage through conferences, workshops and seminars. Researchers generally consider it very beneficial if their research provides opportunities for further research, opens avenues for collaboration and funding, their research is used, and if it influences practice. In order for acceptance, adoption and possible use of research findings, researchers largely agree that stakeholders should be involved in the research process at the research formulation and proposal stages. The most common reason given for stakeholders not using research findings that could be beneficial to them was attributed to financial constraints on the side of researchers and stakeholders for dissemination and implementation of research findings. From the findings, a policy framework for institutionalising research uptake is proposed. This framework incorporates pathways, mechanisms and channels of engagement that facilitate research uptake.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie het die kwessie van navorsingsopname en navorsingsopnamebestuur ondersoek, met spesifieke verwysing na hoe dit binne 'n organisasie geïnstitusionaliseer kan word. Die fokus was om 'n strategiese raamwerk voor te stel wat roetes en aktiwiteite identifiseer wat nodig is vir navorsingsopname wat geskik is vir die Kwame Nkrumah Universiteit van Wetenskap en Tegnologie (KNUST), Ghana. Die breër impak van die studie is die implikasie daarvan op die bestuur van navorsing. Oor die algemeen is navorsing daarop gemik om kennis te bevorder, beleid te beïnvloed, praktyk te verbeter en sosio-ekonomiese probleme op te los. Die verwagting dat kennis wat deur universiteite en navorsingsinstitute gelewer word, die mens se lewe moet verbeter, het gelei tot die toenemende vraag na kennisbenutting. Ghana se voorste tegnologiese instelling, KNUST, is gestig om die nodige tegnologiese mannekrag en kennis vir die arbeidsmark te verskaf. In wese is sy mandaat om hoër onderwys te lewer, navorsing te onderneem, kennis te versprei en verhoudings met belanghebbendes te bevorder. Die onderneming van navorsing en verspreiding van kennis impliseer dat navorsing oor die grense van die laboratorium en publikasie in referentydskrifte na die samelewing plaasvind. Ontwikkelingsnavorsing waarvoor KNUST erken word, moet belangrike belanghebbendes bereik, soos klein en middelgrote bedrywe, boere en beleidmakers. Die bestuur van navorsing in die universiteit moet dit dus 'n prioriteit maak. Die doel van die studie was om die probleem van navorsingsopname en -benutting aan te spreek deur die behoefte aan 'n beleidsraamwerk te ondersoek om navorsingsopname by KNUST te institusionaliseer. Die voorgestelde raamwerk neem 'n kritiese blik op die beplanning en onderneming van ontwikkelingsnavorsing by KNUST en die meganismes en aktiwiteite wat nodig is vir navorsingsopname. Die studie, waardeur 'n opname en onderhoude met navorsers by KNUST voltooi is, het bepaal dat die verwagte navorsingsinvloede die oplossing is van omgewings- en sosiale probleme, beleid beïnvloeding, praktyk beïnvloeding en om onmiddellike en tegniese probleme op te los. Die mate waarin navorsers daarin geslaag het, was egter laer as die verwagte vertoning in vergelyking met die bevordering van kennis en die oplos van teoretiese probleme, wat oor die algemeen navorsers se hoof fokus blyk te wees. Daar is bevind dat die navorsingsagenda en fokus van navorsers by KNUST sowel as fakulteite en kolleges op verskeie gebiede waar die universiteit 'n rol kan speel in plaaslike en nasionale ontwikkeling, gemik is op die bevordering van kennis en die oplos van teoretiese probleme. Daar was egter enkele voorbeelde van navorsing wat nasionale beleid en praktyk beïnvloed het. 'n Beleidsverskuiwing is dus nodig om dit reg te stel indien die universiteit 'n merkbare impak op die samelewing sou wou maak. Wat betref betrokkenheid by belanghebbendes, is daar gevind dat navorsers veral betrokke is by projekte saam met wetenskaplikes en navorsers van ander universiteite en navorsingsinrigtings. Die meganismes en kanale van betrokkenheid wissel van belanghebbende tot belanghebbende en van fakulteit tot fakulteit. Oor die algemeen lyk dit of navorsers by KNUST meestal betrokke is by konferensies, werkswinkels en seminare. Navorsers beskou dit oor die algemeen as baie voordelig indien hul navorsing geleenthede bied vir verdere navorsing, “oop” maniere vir samewerking en befondsing, navorsingsbenutting, en om praktyk te beïnvloed. Ten einde die gebruik van navorsingsbevindings, stem navorsers grootliks saam dat belanghebbendes by die navorsingsproses betrokke moet wees in navorsingsformulerings en -voorstelle. Die mees algemene rede vir belanghebbendes wat nie navorsingsbevindings gebruik wat voordelig vir hulle sou wees nie, is toegeskryf aan finansiële beperkings en die verspreiding en implementering van navorsingsbevindings. Uit die bogenoemde bevindings word 'n beleidsraamwerk vir die institusionalisering van navorsingsopname voorgestel. Hierdie raamwerk bevat roetes, meganismes en kanale van betrokkenheid wat navorsingsopname sou kon fasiliteer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107332
This item appears in the following collections: