Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) Benchmarking Report 2014

Summaries and analysis from the DRUSSA benchmarking survey and Leadership and Benchmarking Conference held June 2014


This report provides an analysis of the trends identified through quantitative and qualitative responses to the second benchmarking survey of DRUSSA member institutions, in combination with outcomes and actions identified at the DRUSSA Leadership and Benchmarking Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, from 12-14 March 2014.

The report identifies areas of change in the management, processes, and practices related to the strengthening of research uptake management since 2012. It draws links between the data acquired through the survey and findings from the conference, as well as highlighting examples of challenges and good practice. It also considers some of the approaches put forward by the external experts who facilitated discussions at the conference, and suggests ways in which the DRUSSA programme can assist in the operationalisation of research uptake.

This report is organised into seven main sections:

Section 1, Benchmarking by region, is an overview of regional change in participating universities between 2012 and 2014. The report thereafter focuses on the thematic areas of research uptake management as outlined in the survey sections.

Section 2, Research uptake strategy, looks at key areas of university management, structures, and functions relating to the communication and uptake of research. It is more focused on top-level support for research uptake than the previous survey, which sought to get a broader overview of how research uptake was organised at each university.

Section 3, Research uptake processes, looks at how university processes work to communicate research results, including how results are prepared and assessed for the intended end users of the research. This section has shifted focus towards assessing the impact of research on end users, as opposed to issues of intellectual property and commercialisation.

Section 4, Stakeholder engagement, aims to determine university procedures in engaging external stakeholders, looking more closely at the relationships universities seek to develop with key stakeholders in order to drive research results into policy and practice.

Section 5, Communicating research, addresses university processes applied in communicating research to the wider public (rather than specific stakeholders) in order to raise the profile of the university.

Section 6 considers the level of Impact that the DRUSSA programme is perceived by participants to have had on various areas of research uptake.

Section 7 is a summary of the Research uptake plans that have been collected from the DRUSSA member universities so far. The information collected in the first survey has been used to form the baseline for university development over the programme using ‘process benchmarking’, whereby universities set their own ‘benchmarks’ or areas to be developed. These benchmarks – synthesised into statements of good practice during the first benchmarking exercise – have been further refined by the participating universities and have begun to be incorporated into their research uptake plans.

Section 8 presents the key overall Conclusions.

A link to the 39-page summary is also appended.


Falk, E.; Harber, T.; Roberts, L. DRUSSA Benchmarking Report 2014. Summaries and analysis from the 2014 DRUSSA benchmarking survey and Leadership and Benchmarking Conference June 2014. DRUSSA (2014) 62 pp. + 5 pp. (Appendix) pp.

Published 1 January 2014