Professor Joseph Kofi Teye, the Director of the Centre for Migration Studies (CMS), University of Ghana-Legon, has urged African Universities to engage in multidisciplinary research instead working in silos.
He said: “Instead of researchers working in silos -where the geographer is doing his research and the Sociologist is doing his research, they now need to come together because when you look at most of the research problems, you need the geographer, the sociologist, the psychologist to make the necessary impact.
Professor Teye, speaking at a roundtable discussion on Research in Africa as part of this year’s College of Humanity activities-College level celebration of the Day of Scientific Renaissance of African (DSRA) in Accra.
He said multidisciplinary research was in line with Global Research Agenda because the large-scale funds involved all the disciplines from diverse backgrounds working together to address the issues.
Prof Teye also reiterated the need for that collaboration to go beyond the universities to working with the media to disseminate research findings.
“We have fine tuning findings and articles lying on our shelves…who is reading those articles…but when we work with the media, people will get to see what we published and it is only then that the research impact will be maximised,” he added.
He said currently said African universities were doing a lot in policy drafting and called for more policy engagement activities to support and sustain research and development.
DSRA is set aside by the Africa Union to celebrate and display African Scientists’ contributions to the Continent’s development.
The theme for this year is “Celebrating Scientific Renaissance of Africa: Holistic Approach to the Contribution of Science to National Development.”
The local theme for a Month long celebration is “Celebrating the contributions of the Ghanaian Scientists in its National Development “.
Professor Justice Nyigmah Bawole, the Dean of the University of Ghana Business School, also urged Universities to engage industries by inviting their Chief Executive Officers to serve on University” Boards to build and sustain relationships and trust.
He said Africa Universities were not receiving industries because of prominent level of teaching of African Universities, which then make little time available for staff to engage industries on a more progressive basis.
“It been found that industries are suspicious of Africa Universities and their researchers on one hand, because they think that innovations and research that African industries are engaged in they do not think universities have what it takes to contribute more and if you cannot contribute then it the case that you are not even interested in exposing your research to them, especially when it has to do with R&D.
“So Africa industries are typically not excited on engaging universities, editor suggest that even if they do, they do so on sporadic one time engagement if they have problem and think there is the need that can support them solve the problem, otherwise they stay away a lot more,” he said.
He, therefore, called for conversations with industries, eliminating bureaucracies associated with signing Memoranda of Understanding with industries, and open up for industries to come in for sustained relationship and national development.
Dr Gladys Nyarko Ansah, a Senior Lecturer, Department if English, advocated for impactful research to influence others to do better.
“We have to embrace modernism, for example, the social media to disseminate research findings and publications, and also collaborate with the School of Performing Art to put their research finding into the public domain,” she said.
Prof. Raymond Akongburo Atuguba, the Dean of University of Ghana School of Law, emphasised on the need to examine things limiting research in policy making.
He said analysing who were the influencers, identifying them, and packaging research findings in a more friendly manner to draw the attention of policy makers was key to making an impact with research and development.
Professor George Owusu, Dean, School of Social Sciences, also added his voice to the need for Africa Universities researchers to be more focused and innovative to enhance their work.
Prof Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Professor, Institute of African Studies, said it was about time African researchers cited their own researchers in their work alongside with the renowned European researchers.
That, she said, would give exposure to the African researchers for people to see their work and appreciate their efforts.
“We have a lot of renowned African researchers across the globe with in depth research and publications, yet we continue to cite others, most of whom are dead and gone, living our own,” she added.
There was an exhibition of Scholarly Works earlier by Schools, Instructions, Centres of the University, and Artistic Performances by Ghana Dance Ensemble.
The month-long celebration will be climaxed with the University’s big lecture on June 30.