The vice Chancellor of Kyambogo University has called on researchers to work closely with policymakers during the course of their research if they are to influence policy.

Prof. Elly Katunguka addressing the participates

Prof. Elly Katunguka was speaking to researchers from different universities in Africa who had gathered in Uganda for training on Translating Science into Policy and practice, supported by AgriFose 2030.

Prof. Katunguka also called on the researchers to work with communities to identify their challenges before engaging in research.

‘Not every study will be considered by policymakers. Researchers have the capacity to transform our country through informing policymakers but this can only be done if they do research that is problem-solving,” Prof. Katunguka said.

The 3-day training, which took place at Royal Suites in Bugolobi, was organized by Kyambogo University and the University of Gothenburg.

Dr. Judith Irene Nagasha

One of the organisers of the training, Dr. Judith Irene Nagasha from Kyambogo University said the training was important in equipping researchers in universities with skills of how to communicate their research findings to stakeholders involved in policy making.

She said the training had attracted lecturers from Kyambogo University, Makerere University, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi University, University of Embu, Nelson Mandela University, University of Gondar, Institute of Environment and Research Burkina Faso, Mekelle University, Ethiopia and other research agencies.

This is the second of its kind, the first training having taken place last year in March 2023.

Also read: AgriFose2030 students awarded certificates

One of the trainers, Prof. Anders Ekbon, from the University of Gothenburg said if researchers get more information about policy and planning processes then they can remove constraints involved in policy making and research.

The course addressed Research and policy linkages, the role of research and researchers in policy-making, understanding the policy landscape, models and strategies for stakeholder interaction and policy engagement, tools for engagement in science communication and planning for and measuring the Impact of research on stakeholder interaction and policy.

Prof. Anders Ekbon from the University of Gothenburg

The course aims at strengthening individual skills and capacities, and national and regional networks, for enhanced policy engagement and science-based influence for sustainable development.

Globally, there is demand including in African countries for universities to carry out more relevant and impactful research which many are doing. However, while universities engage in impactful research, the major challenge has been how to translate their research findings into policy and practice. The practice has been designing and conducting quality research that is disseminated through peer-reviewed conference presentations and publications yet most times policy-makers and practitioners hardly attend these conferences and may never read the published findings. At the end of the day, research findings are not translated into policy and practice.

Policy development processes, therefore, continue to be haphazard and sometimes remain devoid of scientific evidence largely due to the disengagement of the policy and research systems at the national level. It is this gap that this training seeks to bridge.

The translation of research into policy and practice is a daunting task globally and more especially in Africa. This requires equipping researchers with appropriate skills to be able to obtain buy-in from leaders, practitioners and community stakeholders, and successfully engage in translational research into policy and practice.

The course will contribute to the following course learning outcomes:

  1. Presenting scientific results and tentative policy recommendations to a given target group.
  2. Understand and describe their roles in policy-making processes.
  3. Present an overview of the policy landscape relevant to their research, possible research- policy linkages and different models for policy engagement, including the use of social media – all with a focus on their research field.
  4. Perform stakeholder mapping and analysis.
  5. Formulate and present a research-to-policy plan and/or a policy brief/press release and posters.