ORID Staff Retreat to Akosombo

Staff at the Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID) held a two-day retreat at the Volta Hotel in Akosombo, from 23rd to 25th February 2024. The purpose of the trip was to review the past year, evaluate ORID’s operations, and to develop action plans for 2024. Staff who attended the retreat included Research Development Officers, Administrative/Accounting Officers, the Deputy Registrar, Assistant Registrar, Senior Accountant, and the Pro Vice Chancellor - Research, Innovation and Development.

In September 2023 the decentralized grants management system introduced at the University of Ghana brought about functional changes to ORID’s operations. The new system initiated the decentralization of grants management to colleges. Research Development Officers were subsequently assigned to each college to provide research support services to faculty and students. Having put in place the necessary structures to commence the process, the retreat afforded staff the opportunity to evaluate the status of implementation and highlight gaps or flashpoints to improve delivery.

Professor Felix A. Asante, Pro VC-RID initiated discussions with an overview of events at ORID in the past year. He spoke about ongoing plans to restructure other aspects of the research function to include innovation in line with global trends. Recruitment of additional staff, he said, was ongoing to replace staff who had resigned or taken extended leave. He congratulated staff who had recently been promoted and encouraged all to continuously improve their capabilities, make good use of time and take advantage of the training opportunities facilitated by ORID.

Interactive discussions on effective service delivery, from seeking funding sources, supporting proposal delivery, managing the grant/project cycle, to bottlenecks with ethical clearance, among others, highlighted a need for continuous engagement with all parties to ensure that due diligence and compliance processes are maintained at all levels. Key among these was the requirement for the management of grants from specific donors such as the European Union, National Institutes of Health, Wellcome Trust and IDRC to remain within ORID’s domain. In addition, thresholds for grants that can be signed and administered at college level were to be upheld. Despite the implementation of the decentralized system, it was noted that the volume of grants channeled through ORID at the discretion of PI’s, continued to be high.

College RDO’s provided an overview of their interactions with faculty, highlighting constructive interventions and some challenges encountered thus far. Although RDOs were yet to be allocated offices within colleges, research support to faculty was ongoing.

After the intellectual work was completed, staff were treated to a highlife infused boat ride on the Volta Lake before returning to Accra. The trip was a well-deserved opportunity to reinvigorate ‘team ORID’ for the year ahead.