The Research and Grant Institute of Ghana (REGIG) successfully organized the 2nd National 3-Minutes Thesis Competition as part of the 2nd National Research Communication (NaReC) program. The NaReC program was designed to equip the research community in Ghana with the requisite skills and competencies to effectively communicate research findings to the general public and other stakeholders in a simple, non-technical language to support informed decision making and behavioral changes.
The 2nd NaReC program is a two-part event comprising training in research communication and public engagement as well as 3-minutes thesis competition. The training program was facilitated by Dr. Samuel Adjorlolo (Executive Director of REGIG) and Dr. Daniel Lawer Egbenya (Head of Knowledge and Technology Transfer of REGIG).
In his presentation, Dr. Adjorlolo re-emphasized the view that communication is a vital part of everyday life and for researchers, it should provide a chance for the public to be informed about research findings. He noted that researchers over the years are mainly concerned about the publication of their research activities in journals and other outlets that are largely inaccessible to the general public and other stakeholders. This creates a gap between researchers and the public who may not be privileged to have access to the public. To bridge this gap, Dr. Adjorlolo advocated for researchers to be trained in research communication to facilitate engagement with the public and stakeholders. The five W’s (who, what, where, why, and when) of journalism for science communication could be adopted by researchers to simplify and present their research findings in a clear manner to non-scientific audience, he added.
Relatedly, Dr. Egbenya emphasized the importance of Public Engagement, which involves a bidirectional relationship and communication between researchers and the public. He advanced the view that Public Engagement is an empowerment strategy for all stakeholders in the research chain to learn collaboratively to develop their respective human agencies and to catapult scientific enquiries to the standard that serves the best interest of all. In this model, researchers must be flexible, open-minded, tolerant and willing to be challenged by “layman’s” understanding and scrutiny of research, he added.
The 3-minutes thesis competition offered the participants the opportunity to present their research work in a simple and plain language under 3-minutes. This was intended to support the participants to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the training session on research/science communication and public engagement.
Following fantastic and excellent presentations, three judges, drawn from varied academic and professional backgrounds, rated three participants as winners of the 2nd National 3-Minutes Thesis Competition. They were Caroline Dinam Badzi (Winner; University of Ghana), Ing. Joseph Yankyera Kusi (First Runner-up; University of Energy and Natural Resources) and Silas Sibon Sebire (Second Runner-up; Lancaster University-Ghana). They were awarded research-support grant of 1000, 600 and 400, respectively.
The participants expressed satisfaction in the program and were grateful to REGIG for the opportunity to be trained and compete in research communication.