Establishing and managing strategic partnerships is key to ensuring sustainable impact from research relationships. Traditionally, once-off research projects supported by international funding agencies, government departments or civil society organisations are concluded and handed over, without meaningful engagement about research use and how an ongoing relationship (or lack of) impacts society over the longer term.
Our concerted efforts to ensure greater impact of our work requires a much more engaged scholarship that relies on strategic partnerships and communication between the HSRC and its stakeholders (including government and state bodies supporting transformative democracy, academic institutions, other science councils, corporate entities, civil society funders and the broader South African public). The changing role and meaning of the contemporary research profession calls for regenerative forms of engagement between the various role-players within and outside of the HSRC, in order to foster meaningful impact of research within society. The greater the degree of involvement of strategic stakeholders in the research enterprise, the greater the chances that new knowledge being generated will be used, that strategic partners will see and understand impact, that important research projects can be resourced over multi-year periods, and that sustained research can lead to impact in communities.
What we do
Strategic Partnerships facilitates and coordinates strategic partnerships, collaboration and networking to expand the profile of the HSRC. The unit provides ongoing support to research divisions, institute/centres and researchers through facilitating engagements with national and international partners. Key national, regional and international partners have been identified as critical to enhance the profile of the HSRC and to support the research priorities of programmes. On a national level, this includes government departments and universities that are key stakeholders of the HSRC.
We have developed strong links with the DST, NRF and other Science Councils to ensure that we work collaboratively and support key events and priorities of our respective institutions. In the upcoming years, efforts will be made to consolidate, strengthen and grow partnerships at this level, whilst simultaneously growing partnerships with civil society and other community groups to ensure greater use, uptake and engagement of our knowledge products that could facilitate research impact.
In terms of internationalising the work of the HSRC, the unit has developed and set up strong links with international embassies based in South Africa, international universities and research institutions. This is to ensure that the HSRC has an international presence. In addition, we have utilised MOUs with institutions in Africa to expand our footprint regionally. We prepare, compile and disseminate an e-newsletter, titled Partnership in Action, which summarises and showcases all HSRC partnership and collaborative activities.