Participants with the Speakers at the workshop

DRIC and University of Western Ontario Hold Multi-Disciplinary Research Workshop

Stating the purpose of the workshop, the Director of DRIC, Prof. Frederick Ato Armah, explained that it was is to build capacities of faculty members and postgraduates students on Grantsmanship and Multi-Disciplinary Research Collaboration. He, therefore, urged participants to cooperate and contribute their quota to the success of the programme. The main speaker, who is an alumnus of UCC and a Canadian Research Chair in Health Geography at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, Prof. Isaac Luginaah, noted that it was always important to know the main purpose of a research proposal as a researcher. This, he explained that “It is to show that the problem you propose to investigate is significant enough to warrant the investigation; the method you plan to use is suitable and feasible; the results are likely to prove fruitful and will make an original significant contribution.” Speaking on the steps to identifying relevant agencies to secure funding, Prof. Luginaah advised that it was always good to contact peers, mentors in an institution or elsewhere; attend relevant conferences and search the web. He also highlighted on the need to meeting the preferences of funding agencies such as “innovation and significance; responsiveness to programme; care in writing proposal and capability to accomplish objectives.” Prof. Luginaah added that among the strategies for success in grant writing included reading instructions and following them obsessively because a proposal was an instrument of persuasion. According to him, “an effective proposal should have a good idea or compelling project; address a significant problem; a clear description of the research activities and a good fit with funding agency’s priorities.” The Speaker cautioned that in terms of methodology, the feasibility of the study should be proved. He advised that research proposals were always ranked in intellectual merit, capability, feasibility and broader impact, and therefore, the vision of proposals should be crafted to match funding priorities. Stressing on budget and cost-effectiveness, he said, “Be realistic about your budget and estimate costs as accurately as possible.” Prof. Luginaah also spoke on the need for career development and academic progression and indicated that there were challenges associated with them and some of these could be: time-intensive, teaching loads, funding problems and increased administrative responsibilities. Speaking on the strategies for success in publishing peer-reviewed journal articles, he noted, “It must be understood that science involves negotiation and persuasion, and all scientific work is subject to change as new knowledge emerges, hence we cannot be subsumed in what we have always known.” Prof. Luginaah mentioned that the characteristics of successful academic researchers would largely depend on the balance of personal preparation, characteristics, focus and effort; assistance and support from others; the local environment; mentors and tending to communicate with others and network. However, he added that “To succeed involves hard work and a little bit of aggression.” Addressing unsuccessful publishing problems, he stated that some researchers have failed based on lack of effort, illegitimate work demand and procrastination. He also advised that to work in multi-disciplinary teams, each project team should consist of a minimum, natural scientists, social scientists and humanities, and stakeholders. The Speaker appealed to researchers that, "Respect, working on time, asking for help and being truthful during budgeting, are the essential keys to working in multi-disciplinary teams." Prof. Frederick Ato Armah commended Prof. Isaac Luginaah for his motivational and thought-provoking presentation which has been an eye-opening and enlightenment. He urged the participants to pay heed to whatever information, guidance and directions that have been given, so as to master the right procedure for securing grants; writing research proposals as interdisciplinary-/multi-disciplinary teams. He was hopeful that the workshop would go a long way to stimulate researchers to work hard to find solutions to challenges and issues confronting humanity, development, society, and the environment. The Assistant Registrar, DRIC, Mr. Alfred Ghartey, Junior Assistant Registrar, Mr. Matthew Quaidoo, CoDE, Research Fellows, lecturers and postgraduate students were present at the programme.