WRC’s strategic approach to research uptake for impact and the WRC knowledge tree


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IWMI/WRC Research Uptake Workshop
inga jacobs

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WRC’s strategic approach to research uptake for impact and the WRC knowledge tree

  1. 1. The WRC’s approach to research uptake and the WRC Knowledge Tree Inga Jacobs 12 – 13 March 2014 Lombardy Hotel, Pretoria
  2. 2. 29-Apr-14File name 2 WRC Vision To have highly informed water decision-making through science and technology at all levels, in all stakeholder groups, and innovative water solutions through research and development for South Africa, Africa and the world.
  3. 3. Knowledge dissemination and uptake 29-Apr-14 3 Knowledge dissemination and ensuring better uptake of water science is central to all WRC activities. Initiatives/products include: Reference group system Technical, Policy and Ministerial Briefs Lesson plans Workshops, conferences, dialogues Knowledge dissemination and sharing networks Water Wheel Videos, press releases Impact studies Technical manuals and guidelines WRC 101 courses…
  4. 4. The medium term results for specific beneficiaries that are a logical consequence of achieving specific outputs The long term developmental results at a societal level that is the logical consequence of achieving specific outcomes The final products, or goods and services produced for delivery The processes or actions that use a range of inputs to produce the desired outputs and ultimately outcomes The resources that contribute to the production and delivery of outputs Guiding frameworks 29-Apr-14 4 Figure 3. Government Guide to Outcome Approach, May 2010 (Source: www.thepresidency.gov.za) IMPACTS OUTCOMES OUTPUTS ACTIVITIES INPUTS What we aim to change? What we wish to achieve What we produce or deliver What we do What we use to do the work
  5. 5. Re-orientating our focus away from only end products to process as well Impact - the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy (academic, economic, societal); recorded or otherwise auditable occasion of influence from academic research on another actor or organisation. Uptake – the process where research findings enter the domains of intended but also unintended audiences; 'the process of becoming aware of and accessing research outputs, and the institutions, policies, systems and mechanisms supporting this process'. 29-Apr-14 5
  6. 6. The way in which impact is viewed at the WRC Strategic: WRC Knowledge Tree Institutional: Impact/Outcome-based indicators Functional: WRC Projects
  7. 7. The WRC Knowledge Tree 29-Apr-14File name 7
  8. 8. Transformation and redress Growing PDI involvement/leadership in projects, as well as helping to promote development through the reduction of poverty and inequality in South Africa Example: Extending a hand to extension officers WRC-funded research had determined that the current level of training presented by tertiary organisations to extension workers for the tasks that they have to perform on irrigation schemes is inappropriate in the majority of cases. This formed the basis for this project, which developed and interactively tested learning material for the capacitating of extensionists in the promotion of efficient use of irrigation water by smallholder farmers. Example: Growing PDI research leadership Increase in the number of PDI project leaders in research projects 29-Apr-14 8
  9. 9. Sustainable development solutions Providing sustainable development solutions that have had positive effects on the environment, economy and society including: protection of water resources, optimal water use, equity between generations, current equitable access, environmental integration and good governance Example: Tackling food insecurity and malnutrition In an important WRC study the nutritional water productivity of foodstuffs was determined. The result is an index for a given food product that includes nutrient- based output per unit water use. This knowledge can be used to promote the production of those food products that may contribute to closing the nutrient gaps in vulnerable communities while simultaneously leaving a sustainable water footprint. 29-Apr-14 9
  10. 10. Informing policy and decision-making Appropriate evidence-based knowledge generated to guide decision-making, influencing the development of policy, practice or service provision, shaping legislation, altering behaviour, contributing to the understanding of policy issues, reframing debates Example: State of Non-Revenue Water . 29-Apr-14 11
  11. 11. Human Capital Development in the water and science sectors Evidence of support to train students or to train and mentor new research leaders. Example: Supporting SA’s future engineers The WRC became the main sponsor of the Aqualibrium Schools Water Competition, hosted by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE). The competition, which celebrated its ninth year in 2012, tasks school teams to design a model water distribution network, to distribute three litres of water equally between three points on a grid using two different diameter pipes and connection pieces. Example: Support to 494 students in 2013/14 financial year 29-Apr-14 12
  12. 12. New products and services for economic development Contribution to job creation, economic development through the development of innovations Example: Managing olive industry wastewater The latest WRC project developed a scaled-up system through the construction and commissioning of a dedicated containerised wastewater treatment plant and research facility on-site at Buffet Olives farm, in the Western Cape. The plant, a stand-alone skid-mounted, end-of-pipe system, served as a demonstration model for commercialisation and roll-out to other farms. 29-Apr-14 13
  13. 13. Key questions for discussion • When should impact and uptake be evaluated? Timing of evaluating research impact presents a challenge. • With whom does the responsibility of impact lie? The researcher vs the funder? • Contribution is as hard to measure as attribution. • Does/should a research impact constitute a change in outputs, activities or social outcomes as a result of that influence? Uptake is a lot of things that do not have to be measured - but should be understood. 29-Apr-14File name 14
  14. 14. Thank you ingaj@wrc.org.za