What We Do
(i) Generating evidence to support policy and decision-making: Policies and decisions that support innovation and wealth creation must rest on a solid foundation backed by concrete evidence. To achieve their intended impacts, such policies must be implemented, monitored and their impacts evaluated. Lessons learnt from such monitoring and evaluations are critical in making adjustments and avoiding similar mistakes in future.
Our research programmes aim to generate credible, defensible and coherent policy research and analysis that can guide public policy and practice. The research design and methods are founded on strong theoretical foundations; informed by the existing problems; attuned to the local contexts and taps into the local/traditional knowledge and wisdom of the various actors to ensure that the recommendations are implementable. We keep to high standards of integrity, ethics and rigour, and our research is always open to public scrutiny. We are dedicated to improving the quality and significance of scientific research results in advancing knowledge, providing appropriate guidance policy and decision-making and achieving development impacts.
(ii) Strengthening skills and shaping attitudes: Innovation and wealth creation are anchored on the ability of actors to adapt to a continuously changing environment. In order to compete, young professionals, end users and decision-makers need to constantly learn new skills and update their knowledge bases. The emergence of new technologies, new methods, new processes, new policies and a changing business climate produces new challenges and opportunities that make capability building an ever present need. We collaborate with national and international partners (particularly R&D actors; universities and other training institutions) to conduct relevant, tailor-made training aimed at strengthening both individual and institutional capabilities.
At the same time, we recognize that strengthening skills alone is not enough. We also need to inculcate the culture of creative thinking, innovation and entrepreneurship amongst our young professionals and end-users. We seek to shape these attitudes and mind-sets through (i) attitude formation resulting from continuous exposure and interaction with successful innovators and entrepreneurs (ii) positive reinforcement including recognition and rewarding of excellence (iii) persuasive communication – reaching out to each segment with the right messages, right content and in the desirable formats.
(iii) Facilitating interactive learning, networking and dialogue: Interaction allows actors to learn new things, new ways of doing things and different ways of organizing to achieve better results. From these interactions emerge better ideas, formation of new partnerships and sharing of experiences. Our programmes focus on promoting dialogue and networking amongst different end-users and decision-makers. We facilitate and promote dialogue and networking in three broad categories: (i) Linking multiple scientific/professional domains e.g. connecting social and natural sciences; intra- and trans-disciplinary collaborative teams (ii) linking institutions/networks/consortia from different backgrounds and orientations e.g. non-profits, private sector, civil society, public policy etc (iii) linking young professionals, rural communities and decision-makers from across geographical regions e.g. from different African countries; north-south and south-south collaborations/networking.