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Research Areas and Guidelines

Organization of Research and Technology Transfer at AAU

The recent reorganization of Addis Ababa University has revised both its structural set-up and its governance system. Research has been integrated with technology transfer and upgraded in the organizational structure to be visible at the highest level in parallel with the teaching-learning process. The following constitute the major organizational bodies as regards management and decision making in research and technology transfer.

The AAU Senate

The Senate of Addis Ababa University is the highest body responsible for assessing and monitoring its academic and research programs to ascertain that they operate in accordance with the AAU Senate Legislation and the law of the land. The Senate approves research policies, academic and research programs, and other activities of the University. The structure that takes AAU to preeminence as a research university is already in place as the following description shows.

The Management Committee

There is a University Management Committee whose primary administrative function is to recommend new policies and review existing principles, policies, and regulations of university-wide significance. The Committee may also serve as an advisory body to the AAU President on a wide range of issues pertaining to the formulation of policy and broader objectives. The President may seek advice on matters pertaining to the long-range planning for faculty development, design of academic programs; creation of research programs; strategic planning of financial and other resources as well as student affairs and personnel policies.

The Research Council

The Research Council is one of the standing Councils of the Senate. It is formed by the Senate itself to formulate research policies, their implementation guides and monitor their realization. This committee is also responsible for overseeing the operations of the AAU Research and Technology Transfer Office.

Administrative Constituents

The Office of Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer (VPRTT) makes sure that AAU operates in line with the regulations and guidelines of the central federal government regarding research activities in the country. In addition, the Office is entrusted with the responsibility to assess current policies and their implementation, and recommend new policies according to the provisions in the University Senate Legislation (2007). The VPRTT is assisted by the Research Director and three associate research officers responsible for coordinating thematic, small grants and collaborative research activities in the humanities and social sciences, basic sciences and professional studies. Each Research Unit reports to the Office of the VPRRTT and the latter to the President on matters related to the compliance of the University with relevant policies and regulations at the federal level.

Research Unit

A research unit is the primary unit that is a responsible functional AAU unit of any size that initiates, coordinates and undertakes research (disciplinary, multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary and/or thematic) processes to completion and gives feedback on new research ideas initiatives and subsequent research process improvements by involving students, faculty members, end-users and stakeholders. RUs seize to exist as research activities come to completion and new ones sprout with new thematic researches.

Research units are organized at academic departments, division, college or University-wide where research ideas are generated and developed into research concepts, proposals and projects, and the actual translation of research ideas into experimentation take place. Ideas generated, concepts developed and proposals approved are documented in the databank of the research units. Findings and knowledge emanating from the research undertakings are disseminated through appropriate channels or patented or incubated for transfer of technology. The research units undertake continuous follow-up of the disseminated research outcomes with the purpose of improving its future research activities.

Research Guidelines

The research and technology transfer policy of AAU is supported and concretized by important guidelines to assist the research community in their execution of research. In this connection, various relevant guidelines have been developed and are being used in the management of the different research activities of the University. These include relevant guidelines for proposal preparation, research undertaking and dissemination and technology transfer and commercialization, including the basic ethical principles involved with human subjects, in the use of animals in research, institutional issues and standards and other issues relating to intellectual property rights (IPR).

Research Proposal Preparation Guidelines

Guidelines for thematic research proposal write-up

PART I: The priority area or goal

  1. Title: What is the goal or the national priority area towards which the whole exercise should focus on and contribute solutions in the forms of new knowledge and usable technology production? This is first expressed in the formulation of a thematic research title that takes the whole research group into a three- to five-year protracted action (max. 2 lines).
  2. Executive summary: This is an overview of the intentions of the project, the actions that lead to the desired outcomes (max. 2 pages).
  3. Objectives: The title must be supported with major and specific objectives to which the planned action will contribute and aims to achieve. Specific objectives can be set as well in connection to or emanating from the major ones. In other words, these objectives (major and specific) must be achievable with reasonable certainty by the action that will be taken during the life of the project (three to five years) (max. one page).
  4. Relevance and the state of knowledge (background): Provide a general presentation and analysis of the problem(s) and their interrelation at all levels with sufficient, relevant and updated literature review to justify the specific objectives that will contribute to the resolution of the problems by the action to be taken in the envisaged years (max. 5 pages).
  5. Description of the action and its effectiveness: This section describes the action to be taken, their effectiveness, and the relevance of the participating partners, collaborators and other stakeholders. Attempt to indicate the contribution of each in the actions to be taken and the effectiveness of each in achieving the desired objectives and finally the ultimate goal of the proposal (max. 2 pages).
  6. Sustainability: Provide an initial risk analysis and eventual contingency plans for the same. At the minimum, list the risks for each proposed action and suggest possible mitigation measures (max. 2 pages).
  7. Outcomes: Describe the major achievable milestones or deliverables that the proposal is designed to accomplish. These can be described in the knowledge that can be created (possible number and types of publications: journal articles, conference papers, modules, public lectures, etc.) and usable technologies that could be achieved during and after the completion of the project years (max. 1 page).
  8. Beneficiaries: Describe the short and long-term beneficiaries of the action to be taken (max. 1 page).
  9. Summary of the research components (from Part II, below): Provide a brief description of the various components of the proposed thematic research with special focus as to how each component fits together in the jigsaw and contribute to the achievement of the major objectives and the deliverables thereof (max. 2 pages).
  10. Methodology: Provide an overview of the general methodology to indicate the actions of the research components fit together. Such a description can give an overview of the general plan of action, whose various components should be described in detail in the sub-research proposals (max. 3 pages).
  11. Ethical clearance: Wherever human and animal subjects are used in the action, ethical clearance should be obtained from the appropriate office. The proposal must describe the risks involved, the levels of damages to which the research subjects are exposed and the assurance of mitigations (max. 2 pages).
  12. Quality assurance mechanisms: This can be expressed in seminar presentations, annual reports, transparency, bi-annual meetings with stakeholders, end-users and donors, etc. Furthermore, assurance should be ensured by statistical verification of the data and the level of partners’ interaction using the Internet (max. 1 page).
  13. General breakdown of the costs and costs by phases of each year: Show the total cost of the proposed project with a breakdown by research components as pieces of the jigsaw and the costs per phase for each year so that the annual fund requirements can be known (max. 3 pages).
  14. Logical framework analysis: This condenses the proposal and helps in analyzing the existing situation (the priority area) that is being dealt with, establish a logical hierarchy of the means by which the desired objectives could be met, identify the potential risks involved in the endeavor to achieve the objectives, establish how outputs (results) and outcomes (new knowledge and usable technologies) can be monitored and evaluated, and even monitor actions during implementation of outcomes, where possible (max. 2 pages).
  15. References: All materials used in the compilation of the proposal should be referenced (max. 3 pages).
  16. Declaration of applicants (investigators): The investigators need to take the responsibility of executing the research as described in the methodology, abide by ethical clearance regulations, if applicable; commit to regular monitoring of activities and financial conduct by the Office of the Vice president for Research and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies represented by the Office of the Chief Academic Officer for Research, make available publications or any product of the research to the same office and build on the development of research culture at Addis Ababa University (max. 1 page).

Research components

  1. Title of sub thematic research (STR): This title emerges from the main TR title and should reflect and be part of the action and outcomes of the exercise (max. 2 lines).
  2. Investigators: List the principal investigator and others with their addresses (emails, telephone and postal numbers, names of institutions, specializations) (max. 1 page).
  3. Collaborating or partner institutions and their roles in the STR (max. 1 page).
  4. STR summary: Condensed presentations of the intentions, objectives, actions and outcomes of the STR (max. 1 page).
  5. Objectives: The STR should have its specific objectives that support the major objectives of the TR. Objectives of STRs need to add up to the major objectives of the TR; they are expected to be distinctly different from those of other STR of the TR (max. 1 page).
  6. Relevance and the state of knowledge (background): Similar to guidelines given in I.4, above, but should be specific to the particular STR (max. 3 pages).
  7. Description of the action and its effectiveness: Similar to guidelines given in I.5, above, but should be specific to the particular STR (max. 2 pages).
  8. Methodology: Details of the methods of the STR should be described. These methods emanating from the TR methodology should reconcile with those mentioned in the other STR of the main TR for cost-effectiveness by reducing redundancies, such as financial costs, trips, duplication of efforts (different investigators doing the same thing), consumables, etc. (max. 4 pages).
  9. Sustainability: Provide an initial risk analysis and eventual contingency plans for the same. At the minimum, list the risks for each proposed action and suggest possible mitigation measures (max. 1 pages).
  10. Outcomes: Describe the major achievable milestones or deliverables that the STR proposal is designed to accomplish. These can be described in the knowledge that can be created (possible number and types of publications: journal articles, conference papers, modules, public lectures, etc.) and usable technologies that could be created during and after the completion of the project years (max. 1 page).
  11. Beneficiaries: Describe the short and long-term beneficiaries of the action to be taken in the STR (max. 1 page).
  12. Ethical clearance: The need for specific ethical clearance of the STR should be clearly stated showing the possible risks on human or animal subjects and the responsibility of mitigation of the damages (max. 2 pages).
  13. Quality assurance mechanisms: These should be specific to the STR but should reconcile with the other STR of the main TR (max. 1 page).
  14. General breakdown of the costs and costs by phases of each year: Costs of the STR should avoid redundant costs of other STRs in the TR. The same total cost of the STR should also be presented in phases per year (max. 4 pages).
  15. Logical framework analysis: Condense the objectives, methods, risks, mitigations, outputs, outcomes, etc. for monitoring progress of the action (max. 2 pages).
  16. References (max. 2 pages).

Annex: Summaries of CVs of investigators and partners should be attached, each condensed to one page only.