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OWSD Nigeria National Chapter Presents: "Taking Research Outcomes to Target Beneficiaries: Research Uptake, meaning and benefits", by Clara Chinweoke Ifeanyi-Obi

July 22, 2020

In this eleventh edition of the OWSD Nigeria National Chapter University of Port Harcourt Branch series of scientific communications, Dr Ifeanyi-Obi brings science to its beneficiaries.

Taking Research Outcomes to Target Beneficiaries: Research Uptake, meaning and benefits

By Dr. Clara Chinweoke Ifeanyi-Obi

Research uptake simply includes all activities carried out to facilitate the mainstreaming of research outputs/findings into policy and practice. The goal of every research is to generate new knowledge or add to existing knowledge hence impact sustainable development.

Therefore, for any research to meet the ultimate goal, it must initiate change. Most researchers do not understand the importance of ensuring that their research output reach their target audience. When research findings lie idle in book shelves or at most get published, it cannot be said to have met the expected impact. It is important for researchers to note that only a small proportion of our target audience get to read journal publications hence the need to identify possible ways of mainstreaming research findings into policy and practice.

Furthermore, when researchers engage the public in effort to mainstream their research findings to policy and practice, they get feedbacks on their project which helps to identify gaps and possible restructuring of future works. This is to say that research uptake activities do not only benefit the public, researchers themselves are enriched through feedbacks received hence uptake activities form basic part of monitoring and evaluation of research projects.

Research cycle is never complete without knowledge sharing and impact, therefore researchers must ensure that they revolve through the complete research cycle to ensure expected impact is made and maximum value obtained from resources invested in the research activities.

Source: Brainstorm Lab

When do we begin to plan our research uptake programme?

Research activities commences with the thinking and planning stage. To successfully mainstream research outputs into policy and practice, research uptake activities must be inculcated into research plan right from the planning stage. This will ensure that all relevant stakeholders are identified and carried along in the course of the research. When stakeholders become part of the research project activities, it stimulates their interest and build their sense of commitment towards the project hence mainstreaming of the research findings becomes a hitch-free one.

Bringing in all relevant stakeholders from research inception also help in making the research activity holistic as all stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute their own ideas and perspective to the research project according to their different experiences.

Identifying stakeholders in research uptake programme

A stakeholder is an individual, group of people/organization who is interested and impacted by the outcome of a research or project. There are two categories of stakeholders, namely; primary and secondary stakeholder.

Primary stakeholders are direct beneficiaries of research outcomes / interventions for example Funding Agencies, Institutions/Organizations, Users of the information (Farmers in agriculture sector) while secondary stakeholders include all indirect beneficiaries of research outcomes / interventions: Government agencies (Regulatory bodies etc) and Policy makers.

Example list of key stakeholders for a policy discourse on mainstreaming climate change adaptation options into policy and practice in Southern Nigeria.

(Programme convened by the author with support from the Department for International Development (DFID) under the Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement Programme (CIRCLE)

  • National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI) management staff 
  • Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture,
  • Management staff of Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) 
  • Representatives of State Environmental Protection agency (SEPA),
  • CIRCLE fellows, mentors , supervisors and ISP leads in Universities concerned namely; Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, University of Port Harcourt, University of Ibadan.
  • Professional and Community based association leaders,
  • Leaders of Farmers cooperatives and associations,
  • Key Community leaders,
  • Leaders of Civil Society associations,
  • Researchers in climate change and Agriculture,
  • Key farmers

Examples of research uptake programme

The nature of your research determines what your uptake activities will be. It is important to also note that in developing materials for uptake activities, the language must be tailored towards the level and understanding of the target audience. Examples of research uptake activities include

  • Workshops/Trainings (with researchers, uptake practitioners, research users/beneficiaries, policy makers)
  • Conferences to promote exposure to and use of the research by various stakeholders
  • Policy forums and symposia that bring together researchers, practitioners and policy makers for discussions around the research.
  • Developing publicity material; Infographics, training manuals, Newsletters, Bulletin, Policy Brief, success stories
  • Advisory services to stakeholders
  • Documentary

Conclusion

It is important for policy makers to have reliable evidence for policy making. This can only be possible if researchers make conscientious effort to make their research findings available to policy makers. Without the relevant data for policy making, it will be difficult to have policies that truly address the needs of the people. Therefore, for nations to have informed policy decisions, more visibility of research outputs through uptake programme is needed. 

 

Further reading

Amit, M. (2013). Research uptake; maximizing the impact of research. Programme for improving mental health care (PRIME).

Guide to developing and monitoring a research uptake plan. Malaria consortium. Disease control, Better health.

What does it mean to implement a research uptake strategy? Experiences from REFANI Consortium (2016) Research on food assistance for nutritional impact (REFANI)

About the Author

Dr. C.C. Ifeanyi-Obi is a lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Port Harcourt. Rivers State, Nigeria.

An Alumna of Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) Programme (CIRCLE), Visiting Research Fellowship

Jointly supported by ACU, AAS & UKaid

LinkedIn handle: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clara-ifeanyi-obi-a57840187/

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