NRF Ignites Conversations at the 2023 International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) Congress

NRF Ignites Conversations at the 2023 International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) Congress

On the 1st of June 2023, the National Research Foundation (NRF) hosted a panel discussion on “Approaches to Bridging the Industry Funding Gap for Social Science Research.” The session, which took place on the auspices of the 2023 International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS), was informed by the need to create a platform for stakeholders from both industry and academia to unpack opportunities and ideas towards the inclusion of industry partners in funding dedicated social sciences programmes. The panel session included presentations and discussions by representatives of the NRF, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (PPRA), and served as a platform for the organisations to share their experiences on mobilizing funds for industry-funded social science research.

The 2023 INORMS Conference hosted by the Southern African Research & Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) in partnership with the NRF and various other partners, was organised under the theme “Towards a Utopia in Research and Innovation Management”, and comprised of various workshops and congress sessions focusing on increased collaboration, engagement, and networking.

Dr Jose Jackson-Malete (Michigan State University), who chaired, opened up the session with a highlight on the need to explore innovative approaches and collaborations on the ways to close the funding gap between social science research and basic sciences so that partnerships between academia/industry and policy/funders can pave the way for overall transformative research.  Samantha Coert (HSRC) emphasized the role of private companies in supporting commercialization for scaling up ideas and services that emanate from social research. Koena Motloi (NRF), shared that better coordination is needed in the national system of science and innovation for increased funding and new partnerships that will help close the funding gap within the social science research space. The PPRA, represented by Dr Takalani Makananisa, reiterated the need for stronger linkages between social science research and public policymaking.

The session concluded the need for all areas of sciences to leverage the resource and support that is in the knowledge ecosystem for societal impact. Dr Nokuthula Mchunu (NRF) remarked on the need to move from equality to equitable partnerships, which calls for all parties to bring what they can and include co-creation, design and benefit-sharing by both academia, industry and society.

The NRF also participated in other sessions, including those focusing on “Prospects for transformative innovation policy in Africa”, “How can international funding agencies best support African research management?”, and chaired a keynote address titled “What are Universities for?”, which concluded that universities are at the heart of knowledge exchange and need to take advantage of this by promoting the increase of research to innovation and related support.

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