In February 2020, INGSA-Africa announced the winners of their 2019 Project Concept Competition.
Shortly after, the world was forced to pivot entirely to the threat of COVID-19 and regrettably, these essays were not celebrated in the way we would have liked
So even though the local and global context has now changed so much, we wanted to release the winning Project Concepts from 2019 and hope that you find them insightful despite the delay in their publication.
Investigating the Capacity of Researchers to Disseminate Scientific Advice to Government on Environmental Policymaking in Nigeria: A Case Study of the University of Lagos, Nigeria
Temitope Olawunmi Sogbanmu, PhD
Ecotoxicology and Conservation Unit, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria
Sustainable environmental management especially within the global discourse on sustainable development goals (SDGs) requires the inputs and collaboration of all stakeholders. The stakeholders include international governmental and non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic and research institutions, national, state and local environmental regulatory agencies, ministries, departments and agencies/parastatals tasked with the mandate of providing and implementing relevant policies, among others. At the national level, policymakers in government institutions are saddled with the responsibility of formulating relevant policies which would support the achievement of the SDGs. In Nigeria, the lack of capacity to utilise research evidence to inform decision making by policymakers (evidence users) is a major challenge (Gonzalez-Block and Mills, 2003; Uneke et al., 2013). On the other hand, researchers (evidence producers) often do not engage policymakers in their research agenda and have little or no experience in providing science advice (Uneke et al., 2017). This project builds up on a study conducted at the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Abuja, Nigeria over a period of six (6) weeks from July to August, 2019 and commissioned by the African Academy of Sciences (The AAS). The study investigated the capacity of policymakers at the organisation, its departments and agencies to utilise scientific evidence for policymaking. The outcomes which were disseminated at a public seminar identified the need to evaluate the capacity of researchers at academic institutions in Nigeria to disseminate science advice to government in order to achieve evidence-informed decision making by government. Consequently, the aim of this project is to investigate the capacity of researchers at the University of Lagos, Nigeria engaged in environmental science research to provide science advice to government in order to promote the utilization of scientific evidence for evidence-informed decision making by government.
The project objectives are to;
- To obtain information on the knowledge and needs of evidence producers (researchers) to synthesise and disseminate scientific evidence to government on environmental management in Nigeria
- To curate information on the drivers of research agendas by evidence producers (researchers) and their experience of engagement or involvement in environmental policymakers.
The method to be utilised to achieve the above objectives would be through the administration of surveys (using google forms or SurveyMonkey) and focus group interviews (Peirson et al., 2012; Glava et al., 2019) to researchers at relevant departments and faculties at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. The information about relevant researchers and their respective departments/faculties would be collated from the University Research and Innovation Office. The project duration is envisaged six (6) months in 2020 if funded.
The project outputs would be data of the state of knowledge and experience on science advice to government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on environmental policies and management. Also, a manuscript and particularly policy brief are envisaged in order to recommend possible implementation strategies to promote capacity building and interest in providing science advice to government by researchers.
The major outcome envisaged for this project is the establishment of a forum to bridge the gap between researchers and policymakers on environmental management in Nigeria. This will facilitate interaction, capacity building and knowledge exchange. The proposal (submitted to the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) for funding) for establishing the forum has been tentatively accepted to proceed to the next stage of review before the project implementation envisaged for 2020.
Glava, M. Zeleznikar, S. Velthof, G., Boekhold, S., Langaas, S. and Pintar, M. (2019). How to enhance the role of science in European Union policy making and implementation: The case of agricultural impacts on drinking water quality. Water 11: 492.
Gonzalez-Block, M.A. and Mills, A. (2003). Assessing capacity for health policy and systems research in low and middle income countries. Health Research Policy and Systems 1(1): 1.
Peirson, L. Cilska, D. Dobbins, M. and Mowat, D. (2012). Building capacity for evidence informed decision making in public health: a case study of organization change. BMC Public Health 12: 137.
Uneke, C.J., Ezeoha, A.E., Ndukwe, C.D., Oyibo, P.G., Onwe, F. and Ogbonna, A. (2013). Assessment of organizational capacity for evidence-based health systems operations in Nigeria. Social Work in Public Health 28(2): 97-108.
Uneke, C.J., Sombie, I., Keita, N., Lokossou, V., Johnson, E. and Ongolo-Zogo (2017). An assessment of policymakers’ engagement initiatives to promote evidence informed health policy making in Nigeria. Pan African Medical Journal 27: 57.
Shogbola, O. (2019). The AAS science policy fellowship by Temitope Sogbanmu PhD. https://scienceandtech.gov.ng/2019/08/03/the-aas-science-policy-fellowship/.
Retrieved, November 30, 2019.