Upholding RAN’s steady progress, it is gratifying to share that since Monday September 10 through Friday September 14, 2018, part of the RAN team including Dr. Roy William Mayega; RAN Deputy Chief of Party, Dr. Dorothy Okello; Director Innovation and Harriet Adong, Communications Manager are participating in the Long-Term Assistance and Services for Research (LASER-PULSE) Launch Workshop. This first ever engagement bringing together 20 partners working on the LASER-PULSE research grant was convened by Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana USA. LASER-PULSE initiative is supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The partners at the workshop are consortium members and these include; Purdue University, University of Notredame, Indiana University, Makerere University and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

During this engagement, the consortium members engaged in discussions about LASER governance (agreeing on an organizational chart, committee structure and lines of communication), aligning individual professional, institutional and program goals, drafting the LASER-PULSE vision, consortium standards, processes, data collection plans, analysis and prioritization. Partners also engaged in reviewing the Results Framework; overview, process, terms and assumptions, reviewed the work plan, discussed stakeholder identification, the capacity strengthening strategy and consortium capacity strengthening assets. To conclude the engagement, members engaged in Innovation Science-design (uplifting issues related to failing first and pivoting, Continuous Issue Analysis (CIA) application to problem identification for LASER, distilling the research agenda to select RFP questions, Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL) plan discussions, reviewing performance indicators and targets and finalization of consortium action planning while highlighting the next steps. It is a rich knowledge generation and sharing opportunity giving the RAN team yet another opportunity to network, engage but also share about and apply RAN’s unique processes, experiences and tools for the realization of the LASER-PULSE activities.

A few learnings from this engagement are listed below;

  1. Working together as Universities, development partners including CSOs, government and the private sector and donors, we can positively transform the communities in which we live and work leveraging from expertise, diverse disciplines, abilities and capacities.
  2. Partners are ready to engage in building the capacity of LMIC HEIs in executing applied research based on participatory problem identification process/approach.
  3. Partners will also engage in translating research findings into useful policies, products and practices.
  4. As partners, we will also deliberately reach out to women to participate in the LASER-PULSE activities.
  5. Make opportunities available for all so that rewards of the same quality accrue to both men and women.
  6. Find means to bridge the cultural discrepancies especially in relation to research and research findings translation.
  7. Explore using age to bring in some of the required gender flexibility.
  8. Success requires linkage to many factors.
  9. Innovation is an exercise of probability so we need to approach it with a lot of care, persistence and commitment.
  10. We need to set up research which can be easily adopted given that research outcomes change the path to solutions.

Read more about LASER-PULSE on https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2018/Q3/usaid-selects-purdue-led-center-to-research-worldwide-challenges.html.