News & events


06 June 2024

Towards coordinated and impactful Engaged Research projects within the NSI

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

The Impact Centre recently hosted a stimulating hybrid Theory of Change (TOC) workshop aimed at Mainstreaming Engaged Research in the National System of Innovation (NSI). The event featured interactive sessions and practical activities. Participants from the Impact Centre, DCES, PHSB, EEE, CeSTII—as well as external stakeholders such as the National Research Foundation (NRF) and Pan African Collective for Evidence (PACE)—collaborated to develop TOCs at both project and system levels. We examined different models, discussed expected impacts, and finalised strategies during three productive days from 22 to 24 May 2024.

Drawing from breakaway discussions and experiences, we ensured our strategies were designed to make our objectives specific, measurable, and directly tied to real-world outcomes.

Some colleagues expressed concerns about the alignment between our objectives and the plans to achieve desired outcomes. For example, there were discussions about the challenges of integrating stakeholder feedback effectively and the need for better coordination in our approach to increase awareness and participation. By addressing these concerns, we aimed to create a more cohesive and effective approach. The TOC framework helped us chart a clear path from activities to results. By laying out our assumptions, we simplified the project’s objectives for future proposals and stakeholders. This clarity ensures everyone understands how our efforts will lead to meaningful changes. The workshop not only enhanced our strategies but also strengthened our commitment to driving positive change through engaged research. Participants left with a deeper understanding of how to integrate practical experience with engaged research methodologies.

In-person: Lorenza Fluks (IC), Michael Ellis (NRF), Konosoang Sobane (IC), Heidi van Rooyen (IC), Diana Carolina Sanchez (IC), Candice Groenewald (HSC), Edmore Maringa (IC), Paul Plantinga (IC), Il-haam Petersen (CeSTII).

Online: Sara Naicker (IC), Michael Gastrow (IC), Promise Nduku (PACE), Shirin Motala (IED), Yoliswa Sikhosana (IC), Nonkululeko Dlamini (IC), Marilyn Couch (IC), Nazeema Isaacs (IC), Darian Smith (IC), Tanya Mdlalose (IC), Kim Trollip (IC).

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)