Research that takes a pro-active role in bridging science and practice holds promise to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. While passing on best practices outside of academia, inspiration can be drawn from pressing global challenges. Using Swiss research institutions that maintain partnerships with low- and middle-income countries as a case study, the purpose of this study was to identify synergies between research and services for development (R&S4D).
We mapped Swiss research institutions that host both types of activities and identified the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) linked to their hybrid models. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with representatives from the identified institutions, and data were analysed using the Framework Method. Strengths of combining R&S4D were observed on four levels: (i) individual (i.e., high employability outside academia); (ii) project (i.e., higher quality and practical relevance); (iii) entity (i.e., flexibility regarding funders, resources, and partners); and (iv) sustainable development (i.e., more impactful work).
The main weaknesses were named as a decrease in the scientific quality of research projects specifically and inefficiency/lack of feasibility of implementation services. A lack of career paths and positions for individuals who wish to pursue academic research alongside services was identified as a threat. The Universities of Applied Sciences account for the largest share of hybrid positions in Switzerland; increasing their currently limited funding for research and international activities represents an opportunity. Our reserch adds a unique viewpoint to the discussion on the role of academia in supporting society to move towards sustainable development. It does so by exploring whether and how the concept of multisectoriality can work as an integral part of academia at the individual and the institutional level.
Authors: Dr Jasmina Saric, Dr Fabian Käser, Dr Jon-Andri Lys, Prof. Dr Jürg Utzinger, Prof. Dr Thomas Breu
Standard identifier: DOI: 10.3390/su13179626
Source: Saric, J.; Käser, F.; Lys, J.-A.; Utzinger, J.; Breu, T. Synergising Research and Service Activities at Swiss Research Institutions to Accelerate Sustainable Development. Sustainability 2021, 13, 9626. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179626
The role of Research and Implementation Organizations (RIO) for sustainable development.
Research and implementation organizations play an important role in bridging research and practice for sustainable development. During this session, we discuss characteristics of such organizations and how they contribute to sustainable development. Swiss TPH and KFPE host this session at the Science Summit of the UN General Assembly 77.
Currently, world leaders are convening at the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York. In parallel, the Science Summit is being held, with the central theme being the role and contribution of science in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Jasmina Saric reflects on the emergence, role and future of organisations that combine research and implementation for sustainable development. New findings on this topic will be presented at the Science Summit in a session convened by Swiss TPH.
Based on insight generated from Swiss academic and research entities, this Policy Brief aims to highlight the importance of bringing R&S4D closer, at research entities in Switzerland and elsewhere, and how to go about doing it.