RESEARCH MANAGEMENT coaching

The purpose of the Research Management coaching is to support scientific institutions and scientific researchers with generating, disseminating, and implementing scientific findings.

The coaching entails compiling and addressing the necessary conditions required to bring about a given impact.

The ambitions are compiled and also related challenges. Strategies for addressing the challenges are agreed on and the different activities are addressed together until the expected impact has been reached.

Services

Partners

HR&S offers coaching to scientific institutions and other scientific research related stakeholders  in Sub-Saharan African countries.

Within scientific institutions we target the:

  • Top and middle management.
  • Management administration.
  • Scientific researchers.
  • Technicians.
  • Librarians.

Related stakeholders include:

  • Agreed suppliers of scientific equipment.
  • Ministry of research and education.
  • Private and policy sector seeking scientific knowledge and capacity.
  • Development institutions targeting scientific research.

Operations

HR&S has developed six unique Practical Strategies and our strategies have given rise to nine unique ActionAreas.

Corner-stones include:

  • Motivation.
  • Truth & Trust.
  • State-of-the-art knowledge.
  • Sustainable economy.
  • Institutional capacity.
  • Transparency & accountability.
  • Cross-cultural understanding.
  • Equal partnership.

Tools include:

  • User-driven social good.
  • Stakeholder analysis.
  • Strategy for change.
  • Accountability management.
  • Evaluation planning.
  • Testing the strength of evidence of impact.

Modes of delivery

  1. On-line trainings.
  2. On-line workshops.
  3. On-site workshops.
  4. Individual coaching.
  5. Round-Table sessions.
  6. Field visits.

Activities

Activities include:

  1. Access to well functioning internet.
  2. Access to scientific literature.
  3. Access to well-functioning advanced scientific equipment.
  4. Training on “the scientific method”.
  5. Workshops on scientific supervision.
  6. Workshops on seeking research grants.
  7. Workshops on developing and submitting manuscripts for publication.
  8. Workshops on motivation, team-building, net-working, knowledge-sharing and time-management.

Strategy for change

Twenty 3-5 days long workshops on Research Management have already been held benefitting from the HR&S strategies.

We have targeted Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Findings from the workshops have been compiled below.

Target Partners

The programme addressed five categories of Target partners (TPs):

  • TP1 Research
    TP1A. Researchers: PhD students, Post-doc researchers, Professors.
    TP 1B. Research Students: MSc students.
    TP 1C. Supervisors.
    TP 1D. Entrepreneurs from the university.
  • TP2 Education
    TP 2A. Lecturers.
  • TP3 Research services
    TP 3A. Laboratory Technicians.
    TP 3B. IT technicians.
    TP 3C. Librarians.
  • TP4 Research management
    TP 4A. Department management.
    TP 4B. University Top management; VC, DVC research, innovation and enterprising, DVC administration, DVC academic, Finance manager, Bursary.
    TP 4C. Top management Administration; Accountant, Procurement officer, Public relations and communication.
  • TP5 External Research services
    TP 5A. Agreed Suppliers.

Ambitions

Professional Ambitions among the researchers have been found to be:

  1. Individual career goals.
  2. Perform high quality research.
  3. Disseminate scientific findings.
  4. Implement scientific findings.
  5. Enable talents of Africa.

1. Individual career goals

  • Do scientific career. Be promoted.
  • Become a professor.
  • Become an authority in a subject.
  • Establish a research group and become a team leader.
  • Become journal editor.

2. Perform high quality research, in order to:

Generate knowledge.

  • Become experts, for example in water treatment.
  • Develop products and services.
  • Generate innovations.

Address the needs of the people

  • Solving problems of the population. Save Africa from suffering from a lot of problems, save Africans.
  • Develop new products and services for the community, for example: minimal amount of minerals required in rice, varieties of cotton, develop phyto-medicine, implement cooperative processes.
  • Characterise the local situation for example: identify appropriate local material (clay etc.), sharing of land.
  • Sensitise the local community on development, for example: analyse the mind-set of the community, promote use of developed products.
  • To know what research that needs to be done to save Africa.
  • To develop our communities by using research results, gather all local research to benefit basic development in the communities.
  • Introduce anthropology in health-care, promote health-care by medicinal plants.

Address the needs of the country

  • To know the needs of the country and address it through research, for example;
    address the lowering level of groundwater, to know the quality of water and able to make advanced measurements of water quality and with the most advanced pieces of equipment, identify and address pollution from industries, to use results from research to improve agricultural and process engineering.

Address the needs of the government

  • Support politicians to develop national policies to promote community development, lobbying politicians
  • Support policymakers.
  • Involve universities and research teams in the elaboration and realisation of development policies.

Address the needs of the private sector.

  • At the university level.
  • At the institutional level.

3. Disseminate scientific findings

To other researchers

  • Publish scientific papers.
  • Present results at conferences.

To the public

  • Produce books and distribute to the public.
  • Offer workshops to the public.
  • Translate findings into local language.
  • Increase community awareness about development.

To the government

  • Share scientific findings with the policy makers.
  • For example: regulated sharing of land, enabled free movement of people in Africa.
  • Through University website.

To the private sector

  • Through University website.

4. Implement scientific findings and services while making profit

Offer chemical, physical and biological analytical services

  • Chemical, physical and biological analyses.
  • Accredited chemical analyses.
  • Training on analytical equipment.

Take on consultancy assignments

  • Address the needs of the rural and urban civil society, for example: food security, economic resilience for cotton, manage livestock, access to safe drinking water, improved water treatment, fuel production and appropriate habitat based on local raw material.
  • Address the needs of the government.
  • Address the needs the private sector.

Develop for-profit businesses

  • Sell products and services developed through research.
  • Develop patents of novel ideas for example on pesticide formulation.

5. Enable talents of Africa

All youths, also those lacking tuition fees.

  • Enable the talents of the youths of the country. Develop the university to be able to capture the genius of all the youths, because only a few get this opportunity, many more would contribute if provided the opportunities.

Female students and researchers.

  • Offer opportunities targeting women to do scientific research.

African researchers in other continents

  • Promote African researchers at other continents.

TP2. Technicians

  • Fulfilling laboratory responsibilities.
  • Teach about theoretical and practical aspects of chemistry.
  • Analytical chemistry.

Outcome Challenges

The outcome challenges have been developed in relation to testimonies shared during the workshops.

TP1 – Researchers

Outcome challenges for the researchers (TP1) have been presented as:

  1. Lack of motivation to do research.
  2. Lack of funds.
  3. Lack of time management.
  4. Lack of collaboration & networking.
  5. Lack of theoretical research capacity.
  6. Lack of practical research capacity.
  7. Lack of capacity to address the needs of the rural and urban civil society.
  8. Lack of capacity to disseminate scientific findings.
  9. Lack of capacity to implement scientific findings. 
  10. Lack of capacity to develop a business around implementation of sientific findings.
  11. Lack of capacity todevelop and share plolicy briefs.

Individual career goals

Lack of motivation to do research

Lack of motivation due to lack of dissemination and implementation of sientific findings.
“To be motivated then I have to add something to the scientific community.”
“Motivation depends on the real goal. I need to have clear and reachable goals.”

Lack of motivation due to weak leadership.
“Some needs to be motivated by others.”
“Good leadership can provide motivation, but we lack motivating leaders.”
“The leader have to give the motivations by their presence in meetings.”
“Police, soldiers, and leadership are related to provide motivation.”

Lack of motivation due to limited financial support.
Sometimes during the workshops, the word “motivation” atually refers to money.
“Too low salary.”
“The private institutions offers higher salary.”
“If we don’t get something when we do something, then we we will start to do nothing. The focus may be on achieving money rather than on quality values. Some people tend to love money too much.”
“We should actually think that we make an investment in ourselves even if we do not get well paid, but we do not thnk like that”.

Lack of interest in and passion for research itself.
“We cannot oblige someone to be motivated.”
“If there is motivation or here is lack of motivation, will be seen as soon as difficulties appear.”
“If members do not have motivation they can be chased away from the team. We don’t force anybody to be a member of a research team.”

Time management

“I lack enough workhours to spend on research.”
“I have to spend a lot of time on administrative issues.”

 

Perform high quality research

Collaboration & networking

“It is difficult to develop multidisciplinary teams.”
“There are no opportunity to attend conferences.”

Performing theoretical research

“I lack skills in data management.”

Performing practical research

“We do not have access to functioning equipment, such as AAS, HPLC, GCMS, ICPMS, FTIR, UV, LCMS, capillary electrophoresis and NMR.”
“I lack knowledge about which equipment I need to perform my research.”
“I do not have enough workhours to spend in the laboratory.”
“I am not allowed to choose the supplier that i find is best.”

Addressing the needs of the rural civil society

“I lack information about local needs.”
“I do not know how to get commitment at the community level.”
“I lack social know-how; how to introduce new methods to the community, how to change the communities’ mind-set.”
“I lack communication skill and experience from development at the community level”.
“I lack knowledge about local technical conditions, technical know-how and the type of equipment at the community level.”
“We suffer from weak internet connection at the community level.”

 

Disseminate scientific findings

“I lack skills in how to publish my findings.

 

Implementing scientific findings

Share scientific findings with the government
“The communication between the academic sector and policy makers is weak.”
“I lack opportunities to practice linking scientific results to policy making.”
“I lack knowledge about policy-briefs.”

Developing Businesses

“I do not know how to implement innovations.”
“I do not know about patenting.”
“I do not know about how to start a business.”

 

Enable talents of Africa

“Talents may not have access to tuition fees.”
“Talents may not have access to powerful internet.”
“Social economic challenges hindering women from doing scientific career.”


TP2 Technician

” We lack enough staff.”
” We lack adequate salary.”
” We lack laboratory space.”
” We lack servicing tools and manuals.”
” We lack funds to do service and maintenance real-time.”
” We lack communication with reliable suppliers.”

Activities

The Activites have been developed as a rsult of testimonies shared during the workshops.

TP1. Researchers

Individual career goals

Plan

“I will ensure individual time management.”
“I will ensure enough time to do research through own well-disciplined time management.”
“I shall ensure time to attend the meetings.”
“I will ensure an individual long-term planning with measurable mile-stones.”

Apply for reserch grants

“I will seek knowledge to know how to apply for research grants and how to invest them well, so that my career is promoted and not destroyed.”
” I will send grant application to donors supporting research and scientific meetings.”
” I will identify appropriate grant giving institutions.”
” I will seek funding from the government.”
“I will send grant application to the government.”
” We shall arrange a Grant Club where we support each other with seeking research funding; set times, venue and appoint a coordinator.”

Publish

” I will seek knowledge to know how to publish.”
” We shall arrange a Publishing Club where we support each other to publish; set times, venue and appoint coordinator.”

Manage the English language. Manage an English Club; weekly, set time, venue. With English teacher. Coordinator appointed. Homework: learn three new words per day.

Change attitude related to lack of motivation due to limited financial support

“We shall change attitude from focusing on money to focusing on research output.”
“We should be motivated from that we make the investment in ourselves.”
“Team work can also motivate.”

 

Perform high quality research

Motivation

“We shall believe in ourselves.”
“The prolonged provision of aid became a problem since it discouraged creativity, innovation and creative thinking as the researchers focus on the money rather than the impact of the research.”

Deliver

“We shall develop novel ideas.”
“We shall develop products and services.”
“We shall develop patents.”
“We shall do more research even with the available inadequate pieces of equipment.”

Collaboration & networking

“I shall seek opportunities to do things together.”
“I shall capture opportunities for collaboration.”
“We shall share knowledge and experiences with each other.”
“We shall create knowledge sharing platforms.”
“I shall ensure time to attend meetings.”
“I shall have a positive attitude to all contributions by others.”
“I shall  help other people to become more motivation.”
“I shall address team building.”
“I shall build research teams.”
“I shall network among research teams.”
“We shall increase the direct research collaboration through identifying authors as new potential collaborators.
“In order to have reliable and functional research teams it is necessary that objectives of the projects that the team shall work on  are well defined.”
“We shall arrange with collaborative platform between researchers, students and technicians.”
“We shall partner with departments of the same discipline worldwide.”
“We shall build a network of all African scientists.”
“We shall establish pan African networks with regular meetings in domains without. “
“We shall build networks of all African scientists in order to do basic and applied research together.”

State-of-the-art knowledge

“We shall seek knowledge and ensure to be up-dated about the state-of-the art.”

Practical research

“We shall ensure that we have access to a quality laboratory with functioning advanced equipment and well educated technicians.”
“We shall identify quality pieces of equipment that are suitable for African conditions.”
“We shall create a good atmosphere and a collaborative platform between researchers, students and technicians.”
“We shall develop a proper business situation around laboratories.”
“We shall convince the authorities through policy-briefs and Round table sessions to equip the laboratories at academic institutions.”

Address the needs of the civil society

“I shall analyse the mind-set of the community.”
“I shall benefit from and collaborate around local knowledge when developing products and services.”
“We shall develop products and services appropriate to and useful for the local civil society, for example to use local material as pigment and traditional medicine to overcome health problems in Africa.”
“I shall sensitise the local community on development.”
“I shall promote the usage of developed products.”

Collaborate with policymakers

“I shall support policy development.”
“I shall support politicians to develop national policies in order to promote community development.”
“We shall lobby among the politicians.”

Collaborate with the private sector

“We shall address the needs of the private sector.”

Disseminate scientific findings

Scientific meetings

“We shall increase the amount of disseminated results through workshops and conferences.”

Publish

“We shall publish more.”

Share with the government

“We shall inform about scientific findings through policy briefs.”
“We shall inform about products and services through Round Table discussions.”
“We shall prove ourselves useful to the government in order to motivate them to invest more in scientific research.”

 

Implement scientific findings

“We shall work in research areas with practical applications.”
“We shall reach out more to the society.”
“We shall have more knowledge of the areas of research required by the society”
“We shall have knowledge about the problemof the society before starting the research work.”
“We shall focus on impactful research for the society.”
“We shall discuss with industries to identify  gaps and then research on on topics relevant for the industry.”
“We shall work in collaboration with research beneficiariesin order to come up with impactful research topis”.
“We shall communicate and compare with others in order to ensure interdisciplinary collaboration that will promote implementation.”
“We shall implement results directly after publication.”
“We shall establish local research institutions, besides the universities and the governmental institutions, to promote implementation.”
“We shall adopt competency based training.”

 

Sustainable economy

“We shall analyse how money raised can generate further income.”
“We shall avoid to be depending fully on aid.”

Develop businesses

“We shall improve our service delivery.”
“We shall take responsability for generating the necessary start-up capital while doing boot-strapping.”

 

Enable talents

“We shall ensure tuition fees for all ambitious students.”
“We shall ensure gender equity regarding scientific careers.”
” We shall empower women by ensuring women researcher role-models.”
“We shall promote African researchers at other continents.”

TP2 Technician

Quality laboratory with functioning advanced equipment.

“We shall select the most relevant and appropriate equipment, accessories and consumables.”
“We shall identify the technicians and technologists that needs to be in charge of the new pieces of equipment.”
“We shall identify research topics and researchers that can be supported with new pieces of equipment available.”
“We shall develop the required physical infrastructure.”
“We shall evelop the operational and financial plans for the laboratory.”
“We shall ensure that we have procedures in place where we can i ) perform an honest tender to identify reliable suppliers and secure high quality after-sales services, ii) negotiate prices,  ii) placing orders and pay, iii) ensure professional transporttion and installation, iv) trainings on operation, analytical methods and maintenance, and v) ensure professional after-sales contact with the suppliers.”

Knowledge

“We shall promote educated for technicians.”
“We shall  train other technicians. “
“We shall ensure that technicians have the capacity to operate all pieces of equipment.”
“We shall ensure sharing of knowledge and capacities among all relevant stakeholders.”

 

Collaboration and networking

“We shall ensure a good atmosphere and a collaborative platform between researchers, students and technicians.”
“We shall ensure arrange an association of chemists in the country.”
“We shall ensure arrange strong collaborating with other laboratories.”

Milestones

The Milesones have been developed as a result of discussions during the workshops.

Access to internet

Education and research activities came to a standstill during the lockdown caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. The pandemic has pushed most educational activities and communication to rely on the internet.  The internet provides the crucial link for communication amongst people. The need for social distancing in this pandemic era has enhanced online based activities. Reliable internet connectivity is essential for successful benefit from online based activities/communication. Internet connectivity has always been a challenge for group members. While the university provides internet, connectivity is intermittent and when working the internet is slow. It goes without saying that reliable internet is essential in this new normal where most activities are now internet based.  The research group members will benefit from good internet with constant connectivity, this will enable the members to carry out literature reviews effectively and carry out zoom meetings to discuss various issues pertaining to research in the group. Reliable internet will also enable the group to effectively participate in virtual conferences.

Internet connection options shall be made available both at the usniversity / department level and at home.

University

The connectivity shall cover the whole campus.
Expected Cost:
Modem: Euro 100.
Connectivity per year (100 GB): Euro 1000.

Home

Researchers also need to be able to connect to internet from home.
Expected cost
Euro 40 per person and month (50GB).
Assume 10 members fo a research team: Euro 5000 per year.

Access to laboratory

The activities were also affected by the Covid 19 pandemic with laboratory work halted.

Justification

Although scientific researchers and innovators in Sub-Saharan Africa present amazing solutions to national and international challenges, their ideas are often unrecognised and unsupported.  Consequently, findings tend not to be implemented, and businesses not to be started. As a result, the society lack access to products, services and employment opportunities that would have strengthened the society. This also reduces the tax income to the government and thus creates a lack of advanced education, social security and resourceful institutions. Moreover, international negotiations and international trade tend to be unbalanced and some countries tend remain behind on the international competitive development arena. The number of extremely poor people are increasing every year.

Human Rights and Science (HR&S) claims that the efficiency of implementation of locally developed solutions is strengthened through international equal partnership collaboration. We argue for truth, trust, harmony, equity, resilience, mutual knowledge sharing, sustainable economy, institutional capacity and cross-cultural understanding. We have developed six unique tools and strategies (TAct, ROPE, TRUST, CROSS, RISE & TestE) while targeting scientific research, innovations and social enterprising. With ten years of experience, with operations in twelve Sub-Saharan African countries, and with evidence of outcome and impact, we can state that our model is successful.

Method

As mentioned the evaluation planning of the Research management programmes follow the Real-time Outcome Planning & Evaluation (ROPE) strategy. A new ROPE programme starts with setting a goal and to develop indicators to measure results. Then we develop an implementation plan, we secure finances, staff, and infrastructure, then we ensure knowledge sharing, the accounting procedures and the cross-cultural understanding. Then we make an activity plan and assign to people and institutions; who will do what, how and when. Now we implement, and after we measure the results and analyse. Thereafter we complement with what did not go well until we reach the goal we set up in the beginning. HR&S offers to coach through the procedures.

We only work in areas identified by our local partners, and besides programme design and implementation coaching, HR&S contributes with expert advice on the scope of the programme, international state-of-the art knowledge, facilitation of accounting and auditing, cross-cultural understanding, monitoring and evaluation as well as start-up loans. The ROPE practical strategy is useful for the implementation of development programme management, scientific research management, laboratory management. The ROPE strategy is likewise useful for scaling small activities to profitable social enterprises.

Acknowledgement

The Research management support programme has been developed by Assoc. Prof. Cecilia ÖMAN.

She is grateful for the support provided by friends, colleagues and partners all over the world.

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