Training of researchers on Translating Science into Policy and Practice started on March 10th with over 30 researchers from different parts of the world participating. The training is conducted by Kyambogo University and the University of Gothenburg under the Agriculture for Security Program (AgriFose2030).

The course is intended to bridge the gap between Science and Policy by enabling the use of research findings in policy development and practice. The course will strengthen the individual skills and capacities of researchers for policy engagements and science-based influence for sustainable agriculture and food security.
The training attracted attendance from researchers from Kyambogo University, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Makerere University, and Nairobi among others.
The course facilitators Dr. Anders Ekbom, Dr. Daniel Slunge, Prof. Sofia Boqvist, and Dr. Judith Nagasha shared with the participants the overview of the training as well as the objectives of the training.
Participants learned that the training will last 3 months with 2-days of training every month.

Read Also: Translating Science into Policy and Practice Project launched at Kyambogo University

Areas to be covered by the training include;

  1. Research and Policy Linkages: what can we learn from history?
  2. The role of research and researchers: opportunities for engagement
  3. Understanding the policy landscape
  4. Models and strategies for stakeholder interaction and policy engagement
  5. Tools for engagement: science communication in practice (press release, elevator speech, policy brief, stakeholder mapping, social media)
  6. Planning for and Measuring the Impact of research on stakeholder interaction and policy engagement

The second day of training, March 24th, 2022 saw the participants discuss policy matters such as the opportunities associated with engaging with stakeholders and policymakers.

Some of the opportunities identified included;

  • It creates support for the researchers
  • Allows the researcher to get feedback from the stakeholders
  • It reduced the potential for conflict
  • Creates sustainability
  • Access to data and research materials
  • New research ideas/-problems
  • Present findings at stakeholder workshops/seminars
  • Influence & uptake of research results
  • Invitations to Advisory boards, Government
  • Commissions
  • Invitations to media events, debates, public hearings
  • Inquiries for independent research advice and “second

Risks

  • Takes time
  • Hampers promotion
  • Misuse; misinterpretation of research results
  • Policy capture
  • Losing integrity; independence
  • Losing academic esteem & recognition
  • Subjective opinions from the stakeholder and policymakers
  • Playing into the politics of the day
  • Balancing multiple interests

Mr. Okiror John, from the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, shared with participants his experience with research and policy interactions.

He shared with the participants the policy development process which includes;

  1. Problem identification and agenda setting;
  2. Policy drafting and stakeholder consultations;
  3. Policy approval processes;
  4. Policy monitoring and evaluation;

It is important to note that all the four stages in policy development involve synthesis and dissemination of data and information, exchange and application of knowledge to improve decision making.

Mr. Okiror emphasized that the agriculture sector is a key driver of Uganda’s economic growth and economic inclusion.
The sector accounts for 70%of employment, provides more than 50% of the exports, contributes about 25% of GDP, and food security for most of Uganda’s households;
He guided that the policy focus is on promoting agro-industrialization to drive increased production and productivity of the key strategic commodities that will foster growth in net exports, as well as ensure food and income security
for the rapidly growing population.

Mr. Okiror concluded by encouraging research to engage in policy advice, saying the use of evidence in agriculture policymaking and agriculture systems development plays an important role in guiding investment decisions.

It also improves service delivery and agriculture outcomes.
He said there is a strong focus on the role of evidence in national policy and planning frameworks, however, the implementation of these policies and plans remains weak.

By Betty Kyakuwa