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Strengthening Research Uptake - examples from the csir


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nikki funke
IWMI/WRC uptake workshop

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Strengthening Research Uptake - examples from the csir

  1. 1. Strengthening Research Uptake – Examples from the CSIR Nikki Funke Senior Researcher Natural Resources and Environment Unit
  2. 2. What is the science-policy gap? © CSIR 2011 Slide # Godfrey et al., 2010
  3. 3. © CSIR 2011 Slide # Funke and Nienaber, 2011 Complexity of the South African policy-making process
  4. 4. © CSIR 2011 Slide # CSIR Mandate “The objects of the CSIR are, through directed and particularly multi-disciplinary research and technological innovation, to foster, in the national interest and in fields which in its opinion should receive preference, industrial and scientific development, either by itself or in co- operation with principals from the private or public sectors, and thereby to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the people of the Republic, and to perform any other functions that may be assigned to the CSIR by or under this Act."
  5. 5. Conducting research for impact: some challenges • Focus in NRE still seems to be on producing high quality scientific outputs sometimes at the expense of end-user engagement and relevant and targeted research outputs • However, things are changing slowly but surely because of: – CSIR-wide focus on research impact, and – Role played by social scientists and natural scientists with an interest in research uptake in the NRE Unit • Some examples to illustrate
  6. 6. Research Uptake Strategy for the Upper Olifants River Study • The Upper Olifants River Study focused on identifying sources of pollution, impacts of pollution and mitigation strategies in the Upper Olifants River Catchment. • The study’s technical team expressed a need for the development of a research uptake strategy in order to:  To link technical research findings with stakeholder needs  To set out the need for further research and activities to optimise the uptake of research findings
  7. 7. Purpose of the Upper Olifants Research Uptake Strategy The purpose of this strategy is to suggest separate but inter-connected activities for a way forward when it comes to:  transferring the research findings of the Upper Olifants River Study,  strengthening stakeholder relationships,  creating public awareness, and  obtaining clarity on the issues of co-operative government and government departments’ environmental management responsibilities.
  8. 8. Research Uptake Strategy and Pillars of Support
  9. 9. Lessons learned • Importance of a research uptake strategy • Need for early planning of uptake and sufficient funding to implement such a strategy • Need to manage stakeholders’ expectations about what the strategy can achieve
  10. 10. National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas Project • Important national-level initiative that offers concrete tools to improve and facilitate freshwater conservation management and planning in different sectors by identifying a national network of freshwater ecosystem priority areas. • The project was based on a high level of technical inputs and endorsement by scientific experts from a range of organisations and engagement with end-users from government and non-government sectors. • The NFEPA products include:  a set of digital maps of the priority areas at the national and Water Management Area (WMA) level,  a NFEPA atlas aimed at creating awareness among the end-user community and a more generalist audience,  and an implementation manual targeting government actors in different sectors. • Aim for products to be taken up into existing legislative tools and policy
  11. 11. National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas Project
  12. 12. Lessons learned • The “Who” and “How” of targeting government departments: – Target all levels of government – Target various levels of the political hierarchy – Target a wide range of government departments • Design of research outputs: – Some degree of entrepreneurial logic is important – Products must fit into existing legislative tools and policy and must be timely. • The politics of targeting high-level decision-makers – Target individuals who “have the ear” of high-level decision-makers – Products need to suit the political climate within which decision-makers work – Importance of bridging actors
  13. 13. Parting Thoughts • Not just one-sided communication (speaking at your target audience) • About use of relevant products to inform every-day decision-making and strategising at higher levels • Importance of being self-reflexive and learning from each experience to improve on the next one • How do we monitor that there is uptake and that research products are being used?