Tag Archives: research systems

Insights into the state of research systems in developing countries – Part Two
avatar

In May 2015, as part of INASP’s strategy development process, we engaged an independent consultant to conduct a phone/skype survey of 39 stakeholders from 26 countries who represent different parts of the research and development system. In yesterday’s blog post, Sue Corbett shared some of the positive messages that emerged from the survey about the progress of research in the south. In today’s blog she looks at the persistence of “old problems” and complex challenges. As discussed in yesterday’s blog, there have been many positive signs in the development of southern research systems – more equal north-south partnerships, growth in higher education and academic research and an increasing presence of research evidence amongst policymakers, to name a few. However, significant challenges remain in the creation of a culture and enabling environment for research in the south. One root cause is that the increased funding is nowhere near enough to support … Continue reading

Tagged , , , Comments Off on Insights into the state of research systems in developing countries – Part Two

Insights into the state of research systems in developing countries – Part One
avatar

In May 2015, as part of INASP’s strategy development process, we engaged an independent consultant, Teresa Hanley, to conduct a phone/Skype survey of 39 stakeholders from 26 countries who represent different parts of the research and development system. Survey respondents included researchers, research and programme managers, senior university personnel, librarians, journal editors, capacity builders and donors. They work in universities, government departments, NGOs, think tanks, foundations and other parts of civil society. Some knew INASP well and others less so, but we considered them to be thought leaders in the sector. Respondents were generous with their time and views and we gained many useful pointers for our future strategy at INASP. But some more general key messages emerged about what is happening across the global south in the production, communication and use of research in the global south which we are keen to share widely in this two-part blog. First, … Continue reading

Tagged , , , Comments Off on Insights into the state of research systems in developing countries – Part One

How do you build a ‘system view’ of a country – and then what do you do next?
avatar

In the last year or so we’ve been grappling at INASP with what it means to take a systems approach to capacity building (and we’re not the only ones thinking about this, as ITAD’s framework suggests). As we blogged last year, we have begun by trying to develop a more detailed ‘systems’ view of some of the countries in which we work. It’s an exploratory approach – and these are by no means detailed, in-depth pieces of analysis. But they do give us a much richer understanding of some of the key enablers and obstacles to our work. And they show that light-but-valuable analysis of this type is within the scope of even a small NGO like INASP (we currently have around 30 members of staff, working in over 20 countries). Step one:  a quick sketch We’ve taken a two-stage approach. Firstly we’ve quickly mapped the research and knowledge system … Continue reading

Tagged , , , , 1 Comment

World class universities – or world class systems?
avatar

The idea of ‘world class universities’ grips the higher education sector, driven by several big international rankings. It’s an idea that is no less popular when it comes to many of the countries in which INASP works. But when it comes to research and higher education for development, is it world class universities that we should be pursuing? Different institutions to do different things Goolam Mohamedbhai argues that what African higher education needs is ‘mission differentiation’, namely a range of institutions doing different things. Rather than focusing on creating new universities, governments should instead be supporting existing institutions in different ways – some to become more research-focused, and some to concentrate more on undergraduate education. ‘It would be impossible, and unnecessary, for most staff in all tertiary institutions on the continent to have a PhD’ he argues. In a similar vein, Lynn Meek argues that our emphasis should be on … Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , Comments Off on World class universities – or world class systems?

Tackling systems and complexity in a research capacity programme: Part 3
avatar

This is a joint post written by: Alex Ademokun (@AAlex_A), Senior Programme Manager, Evidence-Informed Policy Making Jonathan Harle (@jonharle), Senior Programme Manager, Research Access and Availability In our last two posts, we discussed how INASP’s thinking on capacity building has been influenced by some recent debates on systems and complexity (and also by many years of experience) and how we go about understanding the national research systems in which we work. In the intervening weeks we’ve had some really valuable comments, and had the opportunity to reflect further as our programmes continue to unfold. As we’ve said before, we see ourselves as a ‘doing’ organisation, and want to try and ground this discussion in specific, practical experience as far as we can. So here we want to offer some examples of these approaches in three of the countries we’re working in – Nepal, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.

Posted in General, Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tackling systems and complexity in a research capacity programme: Part 3

Tackling systems and complexity in a research capacity programme: Part 2
avatar

This is a joint post written by: Alex Ademokun (@AAlex_A), Senior Programme Manager, Evidence-Informed Policy Making Jonathan Harle (@jonharle), Senior Programme Manager, Research Access and Availability In our first post we talked about how INASP’s thinking around capacity building has been influenced by recent debates on complexity and systems thinking and by our 2012 evaluation. We also outlined what we mean when we talk about research systems. In this post we want to discuss how we go about understanding the national research systems we operate in, and how we make the most of our relatively modest role within these systems. Understanding the system When we set out to understand national level research systems we noticed a lack of documented research or case-studies in developing countries. So, as a first step, we commissioned profiles from partners in each country. The focus of the profiles was on documenting the formal components of … Continue reading

Posted in General, Series | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments