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Africa Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (AKTP)

Organization

British Council

Organization Type

Other (please note below)

Organization Type (other)

United Kingdom Registered Charity

Country

Nigeria

Sector

Science and Technology

Describe the KM initiative

The British Council initiated the concept of knowledge transfer from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) into Industries in Nigeria via Africa Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (AKTP) in 2007. AKTP is built on a very successful UK Model which is aimed at supporting partnerships between the private sector in Sub-Saharan Africa and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Africa and the UK to support specific projects with a view to improving products and services through the better use of scientific knowledge, technology and skills. The AKTP in Nigeria spans the ICT, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Engineering and Alternative Energy disciplines. Listed below are some of the main benefits of the project: • Improving the relevance of higher education curriculum development to the needs of private and public sector employers • Improving opportunities for joint research into products and services development • Better opportunities for students to bridge the gap between academia and the world of work • Opportunities to deploy the training skills of the higher education sector to the continuing professional development needs of the private and public sectors. AKTP's Modus operandi: This partnership is established between a company and an academic institution (“Knowledge Base”), which facilitates the transfer of knowledge, technology and skills (which the company partner currently has no access to) Each partnership employs a recent graduate (called an “Associate”) who works in the company on a project of strategic importance to the business with supervision by a Knowledge Base supervisor from the partner Higher Education Institution/University.

Describe the approaches utilized to measure / assess this KM initiative

The following are used to monitor and evaluate the progress of each AKTP: 1. Local Management Committee (LMC) Every 3 months, a meeting is organised to discuss and monitor the progress of each AKTP project. The LMC involves the following members: • AKTP Advisor (Impartial member of the group) • Company and Knowledge-based supervisors • Knowledge Based Leader • Co-ordinator (takes minutes and sends out information prior to the LMC) • A Chair-person During the LMC the Chairperson, the Supervisors and the Associate submit reports/presentations on the progress of the projects, budgets are discussed and approved. The Associate's report must include: • An Executive Summary (which includes information on what has happened in the previous 3 months, and the plan for the next 3 months), • A Partnerships Outcomes Log (a more detailed version of the exec summary), • A Gantt Chart (to show progress and any areas that may be behind schedule) 2. Tangible and Intangible benefits log: During the LMC, the Adviser records the benefits that have accrued to the company, university and the Associate in line with set objectives and expectations. Benefits that exceed expectations are also captured. The log was adapted from an existing template used by the KTP in the United Kingdom 3. Score card: Every quarter a scorecard of communications and interactions with stakeholders in the public and private sector, partners and the general public is compiled. The audience is classified according to the level of their involvement in their work place/community i.e Leaders, influencers etc., the nature of interactions i.e. direct or indirect, conferences/seminars, exhibitions, face-to- face meetings, online, radio, televison broadcasts etc. This document is in a standard format used by all British Council project officers in Nigeria. 4. Bi weekly and monthly progress reports (for each AKTP project) prepared by the Adviser. This document captures all actvities undertaken by the Adviser during the period, including meetings, LMCs attended, sponsorship/funding intiatives etc. This document was developed by the adviser to suit the reporting requirements of the British Council. 5. Huddle Workspace: Huddle is an online workspace that allows all Advisers and Programme Managers in the Sub-Saharan region to exchange ideas, share best practice, post up documents etc. It also serves as a resorce base for AKTP.

What was the purpose or motivation for assessing this KM initiative?

The main reason for these assessments in AKTP is to ensure that each project is delivering its objectives according to the project plan and also to ensure that the grant given to the University (by the British Council) is put to proper use. Another key factor is to assess the reach and impact of the project on the community etc.

What were the most important lessons learned about the assessment process?

It has become apparent that sometimes expectations of the knowledge transfer process will not be met and some others may be exceeded. Again, there are some benefits that may not have been anticipated at the project's inception that could come to bear. The benefits log has proved to be a useful tool for chronicling the tangible and intangible benefits of the project and mapping out the progression at different stages of the project. The Chairperson's report gives the company's business/commercial perspective of the project. It also showcases the level of commitment that the management gives to the project. The LMC provides an arena where all partners can seek clarifications on their roles/involvement in the project. It also provides an avenue through which concerns may be voiced and discussed.\ The monthly and bi-monthly reports help to monitor the progress of the knowledge transer over the a 2 week and 4 week period. The downside of these reports is that the information can be repetitive and sometimes there hasn't been a significant change in a two week period that requires capturing in a report. The following sets out some of the challenges of the assessment process: • A persisting issue relates to the partners (company and academic) seeming unwillingness to prepare and tender the requisite written reports at the quarterly Local Management Committee (LMC) which slows down the process of gathering data and assessing the over all progress of the project. - Sometimes, the location of the project makes it more difficult to assess: some of these projects are located in places with poor road networls and equally poor technology backed support so information relay and physical visits are arduous & time consuming.

What would you do differently next time?

- I would carry out a thorough assessment of the companies' and universities' business processes/human capacity in order to deter corporate governance/administrative lapses which could affect the process of data gathering and project assessments etc.

What advice would you give to others based on your experience?

In a project like AKTP, I would advise that the project is monitored closely. All documentation should be duly submitted and filed when due so that it serves as a good reference point for project assessments or dispute resolution. I would also advise that each partner is made to understand its obligations in the project. All agreements, such as MOUs, should be set out in unambiguous terms.

What do you think are the main unanswered questions or challenges related to this field of work?

From my experience, I consider one of the major challenges of such an endeavour to be the lack of appreciation for the need to collect and collate data (which is evidenced by the attitude to reporting by some of the AKTP participants). This obviously makes the assessment exercise more tedious. How does one stimulate interest and involvement?
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