Dr. Miria Matembe (pictured), the former Minister of Ethics and Integrity has advised researchers in universities to translate research findings into policy. She said there’s a missing link and a lack of interaction between academics and politicians or government. Dr. Matembe said this on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, while speaking at a public lecture on Developing the capacity for translating science into policy and practice in NPT.
She recognized the importance of research because “new problems occur every day, hence the need for solutions to tackle these challenges through more relevant and impactful research.” She identified the challenge as having been that policymakers and implementers never read these research findings, and never attend research dissemination or public lectures. It ends there at universities where research is done. She wondered: “If the government funds research and universities carry out research but research findings don’t help the government in policy formulation and implementation, then what is research for? What is the benefit of the government in funding such research?” she noted that Government and universities are working on parallel lines adding that we need policy-minded researchers and research-minded policymakers. We need policymakers who are hungry to get information for their policies. Government implements interventions for the s people but sometimes people never use them because they’re not based on research findings. Because of a lack of sufficient information, some government programmes are not used, and money is wasted but if implementers did research, they would bring services that are relevant to the needs of the people.
So as universities, do research that is solving local problems. Policymakers and implementers need each other because each category knows the details of where they serve; that’s why the two need collaboration. She noted that in Uganda, our policies and legislations are not informed by research, adding that researchers need to engage legislators and policy implementers.
She concluded by urging politicians to stop their pride and consider research findings. A lot of corruption and general moral decadence influences their actions and they end up abandoning the most important.
Prof. Eli Katunguka, the Vice Chancellor said the government should initiate an inquiry into the research community to find out what they are working on. He equally stressed that policy-minded researchers and research-minded policymakers are very important in solving local challenges. It would be good for our policymakers to be interested in research. We won’t give up because we need to contribute to policy formulation. So as researchers, we need to be policy minded and we continue to engage policymakers adding that as researchers develop proposals, they should be mindful to research impactful areas.