Knowledge for Development

Related developments

Research on Higher Education and Science and Innovation Policy: Policy Implications

By Merle Jacob, UNESCO Chair, Lund University, Sweden   Merle Jacob recommends that in the pursuit of providing broad-based education – primary, secondary and tertiary – policy makers should not sacrifice quality, even though the demands, expectations and the diversity of options for higher education in ACP countries have shifted.


Higher education and community engagement in the Pacific: development and policy issues

In this book 13 academics present a series of cases and perspectives to illustrate areas where higher education institutions could do more to accelerate the development of the Small Island Developing States in the Pacific. The chapters highlight diverse efforts emerging from within the Pacific higher education sector, bringing new voices into scholarly discussions about development, policy issues and recent changes in the education sector.    (SPC, 30/09/2014)


A Creative Commons guide to sharing your science

In this online guide, Puneet Kishor of the Creative Commons explains that a more open copyright licence does exactly what researchers want, when it comes to moving research forward and receiving credit for their work. This guide introduces the Creative Commons licences best suited to science and the principles behind them.    (, 02.09.2014)


Tissue culture, conservation biotechnology, virus indexing and seed systems of vegetative crops: A training manual

ASARECA has recently compiled a training manual with information on tissue culture, conservation biotechnology, virus indexing and seed systems for vegetative crops such as case cassava and sweet potato and associated techniques. This manual brings together knowledge in these fields that is currently scattered over a large numbers of research institutes and is not readily available for use by practitioners. The manual is meant for research scientists and technicians and students, who are encouraged to adapt the references to their own working conditions and to add more materials as they deem fit.   (ASARECA, 17/07/2014) 


Situation analysis of the current status of tissue culture application in the Eastern and Central Africa region

This situation analysis documents the existing tissue culture capacity in terms of human resources and physical infrastructure. This study covered six of the ten ASARECA member countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia, and is the first comprehensive analysis of the current state of tissue culture in East and Central Africa. The report presents valuable information that can help scientists, donors and policy makers make informed decisions on issues related to tissue culture application in the region and can inform the development of tissue culture application policies and programmes and their management.    (ASARECA, 17/07/2014) 


Academic self-publishing: a not-so-distant-future

The Open Scholar C.I.C. argues that the current structure of scientific journals is restraining scientific progress, caused by rejection rates and lack of access. They see the urgent need for academic self-publishing. Open Scholar proposes LIBRE, a five step bottom-up workflow that will help the science community move from competition to collaboration and from closed to open access.    (Open Scholar C.I.C, 19/06/2014)


Call for research universities to bring development in African continent

Dr Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson  of the African Union (AU) Commission, delivered a public lecture at the University of Pretoria on the role of research in African universities and how it can bring about development on the African continent. Dr Dlamini-Zuma said research universities, as producers and disseminators of knowledge, were critical to development and to building knowledge economies. She emphasised the need for a skills revolution to train thousands and thousands of professionals in a whole range of different fields such as urban planning, health, education, infrastructure, as well as in agriculture and agroprocessing. She called for more dynamic linkages and cross-fertilisation between industry, businesses, industrial policy and universities. Dr Dlamini-Zuma also called for building research universities in an African context with a concurrent drive to increase the number of PhDs within the continent and spoke on the need to create research centres of excellence across the continent.   (University of Pretoria, 30/04/2014)   


How to improve the evaluation of research activity at universities

At a seminar organised by the Interuniversity Institute for Advanced Research on Science and Universities (INAECU), Rafael van Grieken, director of the Spanish National Agency for Evaluation of Quality and Accreditation (ANECA), spoke about the evaluation of research activity at universities. Van Grieken argued that the model of accreditation and evaluation of research at universities is characterised by being overly quantitative and by not sufficiently appreciating aspects such as professional activity and knowledge transfer. 'The model tries to evaluate quality, but ends up being very quantitative because of the regulatory framework, the secondary or indirect nature, the structuring (of knowledge) into large areas and the obligation to express it by points', explained van Grieken, who noted that knowledge transfer is not sufficiently appreciated in some areas while in others it is perhaps valued too much. According to him, there was a need to develop solid qualitative indicators to assess the universities' activities and impact. The purpose of the seminar was 'to help Spanish science improve, be competitive, on the basis of proposals of evaluation and of policies of incentive schemes for research activities'.    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 07/05/2014)   


Dryad Digital Repository: making the data underlying scholarly publications accessible and reusable

The Dryad Digital Repository is a curated resource that makes data underlying scientific publications accessible, freely reusable, and citable. Dryad provides a general-purpose home for a wide diversity of data types. Non-profit membership is open to any stakeholder organisation, including but not limited to journals, scientific societies, publishers, research institutions, libraries, and funding organisations. Publishers are encouraged to facilitate data archiving by coordinating the submission of manuscripts with their data to Dryad. Dryad originated from an initiative among a group of leading journals and scientific societies in evolutionary biology and ecology to adopt a joint data archiving policy (JDAP) for their publications, and the recognition that easy-to-use, sustainable, community-governed data infrastructure was needed to support such a policy.  (Dryad, 2014)  


Africa-EU university boost: Commission backs plan to double size of partnership scheme

The African Higher Education Harmonisation and Tuning event, jointly organised by the European Commission and African Union Commission on 27 March 2014, focused on student mobility, recognition of qualifications and credits, as well as the development of new and joint degree programmes. Over the next seven years, it is envisaged that the new 'Erasmus+' programme will provide grants for 25,000 African students and academics to study or train in Europe, and around 2,750 African researchers will receive support. One of the aims of the meeting was to double the scope of the initiative from 60 African universities and 130 000 undergraduate students to 120 universities by 2015. Overall, it seeks to improve institutional evaluation and to implement a framework for quality assurance and accreditation.  (EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce, 25/03/2014)


Revealing the unwritten realities of doing PhD field research

A new publication by PhD students from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS, Sussex, UK) shares previously undocumented insights into the realities and challenges of fieldwork. The IDS Bulletin 'New Perspectives from PhD Field Research', goes beyond typical textbook subjects such as research design, data collection and results analysis and discusses the actual lived experiences and challenges that students face when conducting fieldwork. It comprises seven articles covering locations from Ecuador to Bolivia, Mexico, Kenya, Swaziland, Germany, Nepal, China and India. The nature of the authors’ experiences and the topics they reflect on are equally wide ranging, covering, for example: performance and rituals in ethnographic research on peace building; the necessity of engaging with politics in water management, and; the disjuncture between gendered legislation and urban planning. By providing new insights into a variety or research topics, innovations for fieldwork practices, and important reflections on the human experience of PhD research, the authors hope that the Bulletin will benefit both students and the wider community of development practitioners working on the ground.   (IDS, 13/03/2013)


Higher education for science, technology and innovation: Accelerating Africa’s aspirations

The Government of Rwanda and the World Bank co-hosted a high-level forum on 'Higher Education for Science, Technology and Innovation' in Kigali, Rwanda on 13 March 2014. The event brought together ministers of education and higher education, and experts from academia and the private sector. They discussed the alignment of higher education in Africa with the continent’s massive and largely unmet demand for engineers, scientists, health professionals and technicians. The forum also highlighted the importance of setting up regional centres of excellence in various disciplines such as agriculture, biotechnology, health, water and sanitation, and information and communication technologies.   (World Bank, 12/03/2013)


Human capital for agriculture in Africa

The key messages in this brief on tertiary agricultural education (TAE) produced by the World Bank are as follows: (i) The low level of human capital in Africa's agricultural sector remains a significant constraint to growth, poverty reduction, and food security on the continent; (ii) Agricultural education has been neglected for several decades and is poorly prepared to address the need for qualified professionals; (iii) African ministers and leaders have asked for 'a radically new approach' to agriculture education, as the current system is out of step with the job market. At present the students are passive receivers of knowledge with little ability to use it once graduated. The vision for change in learning paradigm within TAE sees future graduates receiving less theoretical knowledge and instead being capacitated to see and analyse reality, reflect if they have adequate knowledge or need to add more. In interacting with the world through experiential learning, graduates will be equipped with a toolbox of skills and methods, which they apply on the ground.   (World Bank, 01/03/2014)


Building institutional capacity for Research Uptake: enabling push factors through engagement

Sara Grobbelaar, a senior researcher at CREST (Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology) of the University of Stellenbosch, writes the third part of her blog series on ‘enabling push factors’ when building institutional capacity for research uptake. She suggests that universities should set up the appropriate infrastructure and develop capacity to ensure research efforts and ideas are ‘pushed’ into the external environment. Getting the ‘word out’ and successfully engaging stakeholders, she explains, is beneficial in a number of ways: learning is mutual, research results are improved and research is legitimised. Grobbelaar believes training for researchers and their support staff is needed on appropriate engagement approaches and participation methods, and on administering and managing a university’s knowledge base.   (DRUSSA, 10/09/2013)


University radio as a tool for Research Uptake

Tom Harber, the DRUSSA Project Officer at the Association of Commonwealth Universities, blogs about the potential role of university radio stations – which are generally popular and backed by the administration – in helping with research uptake. Recent DRUSSA campus visits have raised the question of how university radio stations can be leveraged into a Research Uptake Management strategy. One way radio programmes could help is by facilitating external stakeholder engagement – by explaining to the audience the research purpose, results and real-life impact and encouraging ‘talk-back’ programmes. According to Harber, the universities however need to ensure they offer valued recognition to their radio-trained alumni to help secure the replacement of on-campus communicators.  How farmers in Tanzania reap the benefits of radio:


Proceedings: Foresight and Future Pathways of Agricultural Research through Youth

This document contains the proceedings of a national workshop in India on ‘Foresight and Future Pathways of Agricultural Research through Youth’ (March 2013). It was concluded that young agri-professionals face a major challenge in combating food insecurity. To be successful, they will have to utilise their skills in an exceptional manner and for that tertiary agricultural education must ensure: (a) effective communication of science in agriculture, (b) integration of social media in agriculture, (c) promotion of agriculture as a career path, and (d) networking capacity to influence national agenda. Also identified was the need to communicate a more positive image of agriculture to young people, promote high school agriculture, and related agriculture literacy programmes.  (APAARI, 2013)


Embedded services as a modality for sustainable Rural Advisory Services (RAS)

On 23 September 2013 the Swiss Forum on Rural Advisory Services (SFRAS) organized an event entitled Embedded Services as a Modality for Sustainable Rural Advisory Services. It was held as a side event of the Annual Conference of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) in Berlin, Germany. Services are defined as ‘embedded’ when their delivery and their funding are linked to a business transaction in a value chain. This is typically the case when the advice is linked to the sale of agricultural inputs or to the procurement of agricultural products by a processor or trader. An event summary, a presentation on ‘Embedded Services’ and five case studies have been made available.    (SDC, 29/09/2013)


Special report: OECD's Innovation, Higher Education and Research for Development project

Around 50 academics, policy experts and managers got together with development assistance agencies in Marseille on 1-2 July 2013 for a meeting of the OECD’s  Innovation, Higher Education and Research for Development – IHERD – programme, financed by the Swedish donor agency SIDA. The meeting had the theme  'Increasing Evidence-based Approaches in the Design and Implementation of Innovation and Research Policy in Developing Countries'. Themes ranged from building  bridges between these three pillars, the importance of networking, the role of research universities, South-South collaboration, competitive funding, research capacity  and strategies in developing countries, and the mandate of Centres of Excellence.  IHERD brought together two different research communities – higher education  studies, and research (or science) policy. Synergies between the two sectors have been recommended both in terms of transnational funding mechanisms and  coordination of capacity and research communities.     (University World News, 19/08/2013)


Open Knowledge Caribbean Network

The Open Knowledge Environment of the Caribbean (OKCARIB) is an Open Access repository for archiving scientific research information; either generated within, or useful to, the Caribbean.  The Network was formed in partnership with a number of Caribbean institutions conducting scientific research and generating information. This project comes as a direct outcome of several  workshops hosted by the Caribbean Academy of Sciences in collaboration with Inter Academy Panel (IAP), the US National Science Foundation and the Academy of Sciences for the  Developing World, TWAS as part of their project on "Open Access to Scientific Literature and other Digital Scientific Information Resources in Central America and the Caribbean.


The Atlas of African Agriculture Research and Development

The preview of the Atlas of African Agriculture Research and Development, published by IFPRI in 2013, is part of a wide-ranging e-Atlas initiative that will showcase a variety of spatial data,  tools, and services generated by R&D practitioners working in Africa. This preview features a number of maps and data tables related to topics such as Africa’s public agriculture R&D  investments and its agriculture research pool (using ASTI data), and the footprint of agriculture, environmental and economic constraints and opportunities. Organized around 6 themes, the  Atlas includes more than 30 data summaries, each containing mapped data and supporting text that puts the visual information in context.(HarvestChoice, 09/07/2013)