Optimising research uptake: The success conditions for research uptake toward NGOs
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The notion of research uptake is an emerging term that refers to the dynamic process through which scientific knowledge is transmitted to plausible users of that knowledge. It is considered to be a solution to the phenomenon of the science-practice divide that has been observed in the field of conservation. Considering the high decline in coral reefs, applying successful research uptake could be: (1) an advantageous way to increase the success of conservation and restoration efforts and (2) an attempt to sensitise governments, local communities and civil society over the importance and urgency on the conservation of coral reefs globally. Preliminary study on the topic identified that NGOs appear to play critical roles both in the conservation of coral reefs but also on the transmission of scientific knowledge. The central question posed for this research is: What are the conditions for optimal uptake of scientific knowledge by NGOs in the specific context of coral reef management?”. This question was answered through the lens of relevant NGOs’ experiences with the process of research uptake. Twenty-five interviews were conducted with NGOs that are active in almost all coral reef locations globally. To explore their experiences, the framework provided by the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom government was used. The data gathered through the interviews were transcribed, coded, and further delineated during the research. The findings of this research suggest that the conditions for optimised research uptake should be addressed in two different categories: (1) conditions related to the process of research uptake and (2) conditions not related to the process of research uptake. Concerning the process-related category, four main propositions are made. Firstly, the use of clear agreements between the collaborators. Secondly, the pre-existence of internal academia capacity building on research uptake. Thirdly, the customisation of communication needs based on each individual case and lastly, the establishment of a simple, low resource usage monitoring framework. At the same time, significant importance is suggested to be given to conditions not related to the process directly. Firstly, it is suggested to adopt a same-level approach between academia and NGOs, at the core of which will be respect and mutual acknowledgement. Secondly, it is proposed as necessary to customise the research uptake approach based on the different types of roles and collaborations that align with the needs and objectives they entail. Thirdly, it is essential for academia to understand the multiple benefits that capacity building toward NGOs can have for both parties and to act in accordance with that. Finally, this process should be approached in a long-term partnership mindset rather than a one-time exchange. Those conditions, as well as other significant findings and interesting points of discussion are further delineated in the present report.