Kyambogo University has completed the process of incorporating the “Translating Science into Policy and Practice course” into its graduate training curriculum. The course was previously offered as a short course supported by the Agrifose2030 Program.
The rolled-out course is to help researchers simplify their research findings to enable legislators to appreciate science and formulate policies.

The “Translating Science into Policy and Practice” course was designed by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, within the Agriculture for Food Security 2030 Programme (AgriFoSe2023) in collaboration with Kyambogo University.

The course was for the last two years run by Agrifose2030 and attended by researchers from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania among others.

According to the scholars, their major challenge has been how to translate 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.

“We just need to bridge the gap between researchers and policymakers. At times we do research and it is only out there for publications but policymakers don’t get to know about it. So we encourage communication teams to come and breakdown the science jargon that the public can read about. The bottom line is to have policy-oriented researchers and researchers that are policy-oriented.” Prof Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya, the Vice Chancellor of Kyambogo University said on November 6, 2023, after rolling out the course at the university.

He revealed that researchers have the ability to solve problems of the world if they collaborate with policymakers in government for policy development since their role includes research and application and exploitation of university knowledge outside academic environments through interaction with society.

Dr Judith Irene Nagasha, the Co-Principal Investigator of the project said they want to break away from having findings, putting them in the book and keeping them somewhere in the bookshelves and nobody reads about them saying, “We want to engage different stakeholders according to different disciplines of research to access this kind of findings.”

She noted the need to impart communication skills in scientists for easy conveying of research findings to policymakers and leaders.

The development is in line with making Kyambogo University a centre of excellence for research and policy interaction so that researchers, policymakers and people from different institutions that are interested in science research can come together and pave way for the impactful solution that address the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The researchers say the course is important because new problems occur every day creating the necessity for implementable solutions and suggestions to tackle the new problems that arise and inform policy.

Prof Sofia Boquist, the Agrifose2030 Programme Director noted that Africa has a range of problems that need to be addressed through science research.

She called for the interaction of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to offer solutions that curb these societal problems.

“This is to be done through collaboration with researchers from other institutions in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe among others to acquire skills in attracting policymakers to make science-based policies,” She said.

Prof James Mugisha, the Dean Faculty of Social Sciences where the course is going to be run as a core said the culture of these short courses is going to continue at the faculty. He asked for support from the administration to enable smooth running of this course.

He said the course had gone through all the necessary university academic approvals and was ready to be rolled out.

The Agrifose2030 Programme

The activities of AgriFose2030 are aligned with the African Union target of eliminating hunger and food insecurity by 2025 as indicated in African Agenda 2063 and the African Union Summit decision on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation reaffirmed in 2014 and 2015.

The African Agenda 2063 seeks to offer policy space and a platform for individual, sectorial and collective actions to realise the continental vision and develop an implementation mechanism that is underpinned by a strong knowledge management system which enhances the quality of delivery through cutting-edge research and innovation including in Agriculture.