DRUSSA WORKSHOP OPENS IN JINJA FROM 16TH-20TH MARCH 2015DRUSSA is a three year scheme, funded by DFID that aims to provide direct support to 24 selected universities from Eastern, Western and Southern Africa as they work together to improve research uptake capacity. It consists of a partnership between the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and institutions.

The overall focus of this benchmarking workshop, according to DRUSSA's programme manager Karrine Sanders, is to identify key factors of success, and changes that have taken place, facilitating government-lead learning and collaboration as institutions continue to work to implement changes they have prioritised. Over 35 senior representatives from ministries of Energy,Education, Agriculture and National council for science and technology from across the region attended, mainly high level managers and research managers.

Speaking at the opening of the training for civil servants in evidence based policy making at the Civil Service College in Jinja, Dr. Ssewanyana noted that there is need to allocate more funds to research and effectively coordinate research findings and that the workshop was abeginning of internal capacity building by civil servants to continue training staff.

Participants at the workshop agreed that government can play a big role in helping address development challenges if they focus on producing evidence based research that can inform policy and development.

The main challenges are related to getting staff on board with the idea of producing research that can be applied, and making it visible to those who can do the applying, such as development practitioners and policymakers. Funding, the skills and time staff need to work on the ideas and a lack of collaboration were also seen as hurdles. Karrine Sanders noted.
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