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Research: KSA 5

(KSA 5) Business Development , Marketing and  Communications

This KSA provides strategic direction to the international cooperation, business development, communication, marketing and branding goals of the WRC. Additionally, it supports the management of research projects, enhances innovation and provides the tools and processes for protecting technological developments. It also links the WRC’s financial processes with technical fund management, while providing the necessary dissemination function to relevant stakeholders of research outputs and impact, and strategically positions the WRC within the local and international water sectors through its marketing and branding initiatives.

The strategic focus for KSA 5 in this planning cycle is to proactively coordinate the WRC’s business development, marketing and communications functions with an emphasis on research uptake and knowledge dissemination. It will also aim to expand the research-on-research portfolio, and strengthen the social science portfolio of the WRC.

The KSA 5 vision for the five-year planning cycle can be summarised as the following:

*  To coordinate and steer the development of the WRC’s strategy using proactive planning processes that are fully integrated into the WRC;

*   To contribute toward the development and coordinated implementation of the strategic direction of the WRC;

*   To coordinate research uptake and knowledge dissemination processes;

* To drive communication of the WRC’s impact and brand with an appropriately skilled team.

 The main functions within KSA 5 include the following:

     1.       Knowledge Dissemination and Uptake

a.       Communications Works Engine

(1)     Media and Press engagement

(2)     Water Wheel

(3)     Win-SA

(4)     Water SA

(5)     New dissemination platforms

(6)     Knowledge extension

(7)     Web development and maintenance

b.       Marketing

c.        Events & Exhibitions

d.       Digital Records Management

(1)     Archival development

(2)     Post-printing workflow (quality control, publications

 2.       Business Development

a.       Resource mobilisation

b.       Impact expansion

c.        The WRC footprint (IP, technology brokerage and development)

d.       Partnership development and stakeholder engagement

e.       International cooperation


3.       Business Systems Management

a.       FMS management

b.       FMS compliance support

c.        Content management

d.       Relationship management


4.       Research Coordination Support

a.    Strengthen the WRC social research portfolio

b.   Coordinate the WRC's foresight programme

c.   Provide research coordination support to the WRC’s strategic planning process


The scope of this KSA includes:

 *   Facilitating, and where appropriate, formalising new partnerships

*   Supporting the continuous improvement of the political profile of the WRC by enhancing the credibility and relevance of the WRC through strategic positioning and strengthening stakeholder relations

* Leading the up-scaling and demonstration and commercialisation of water technologies in partnership with the research KSAs and strategic external partners

*   Managing the intellectual property and innovation processes within the WRC

*  Coordinating the marketing and communication activities of the WRC including the media engagement, parliamentary liaison, strategic communication and marketing

*  Providing the instruments to track, measure and report on the impact of the WRC in research and human capital development

* Coordinating local and international dialogues and other stakeholder events/activities led by the WRC

* Supporting knowledge creation by providing appropriate business process management, research management tools and logistic support

*   Sharing and disseminating knowledge


 Video Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18WiCvkCiaU




To improve knowledge uptake with the aim to increase implementation

This strategic objective will comprise of the development and implementation of the WRC’s Communication Strategy, in order to enhance sector involvement in the WRC research process; strengthen awareness of the mandate and role of the WRC in the South African water sector; establish working relationships with industry, decision makers and key stakeholders; strengthen relationships through formal memoranda of understanding; provide knowledge in a format that is fit-for-use; deliver multimedia presentations to inform various target groups about the WRC and its accomplishments to mention a few.


To position the WRC as a premier knowledge resource for all water-related issues, locally and internationally in order to enhance effective uptake of research

To ensure that the WRC remains at the forefront of knowledge creation, dissemination and uptake, this implies the coordination of strategic local, continental and international partnerships, and the facilitation of dialogues which render the WRC a significant international player and a recognised asset to South Africa. It also implies the increase in the credibility and relevance of the WRC locally and globally through the sharing and dissemination of relevant knowledge in the water sector and within the WRC and the development of knowledge-sharing mechanisms/instruments to support the objectives of the WRC in terms of uptake of research.


To effectively manage the WRC research cycle for more efficient knowledge management

This strategic objective ensures that the WRC promotes the effective transfer of information and technology through up-scaling and demonstration as well as the coordination of the research funding cycle and the provision of effective tools, systems and procedures to support the core business of the WRC. Using the words of the DST’s 10 year innovation plan, it serves as an enabler to address the ‘innovation chasm’ between research results and socio-economic outcomes. It also includes the management of intellectual property. Given that this is a relatively new strategic objective for the WRC, the focus in the next financial year will be on mobilising the sector and strategic partners to become involved in this initiative. This will include securing co-funding and assessing the feasibility of a water technology convergence centre.

To provide strategic research advice related to the water sector, R&D capacity, knowledge flow and ultimate impact

Provide strategic research advice related to the water sector, R&D capacity, knowledge flow and ultimate impact.

Overview and description of thrusts and programmes


Scope: This Thrust aims to enhance the ‘public’s’ understanding and appreciation of the WRC (brand, what we do).

Programme 1:



Scope: The focus of this programme is to build and maintain relationships with various stakeholders. This includes:

*   Drives the WRC’s marketing and brand management strategies

*   Establishing working relationships with industry, decision makers and key stakeholders

 *   Delivering multimedia presentations to inform various target groups about the WRC and its accomplishments

*   Media monitoring of WRC impact

Programme 2:

Events and exhibitions


Scope: This programme coordinates institutional events and also provides to KSA-specific events. It includes:

  •  Exhibiting at high-profile, water-centred conferences nationally and, if necessary, internationally

  •  Knowledge sharing (internal)

  • Organising knowledge-sharing events such as internal open days, guest lectures and regular research managers' meet

  • Supporting the research community through WRC 101 courses

  • Improving the relationship and interaction with the   research community (during and beyond the project)

  • Promoting the WRC at carefully selected opportunities

  • Contributing to and/or advertising in selected media or periodicals to coincide with events of special significance for water, e.g. Water Week

  •    Engaging with the youth through science festivals, games and competitions to serve the dual purpose of positioning the WRC and stimulating interest in water-centred science, engineering and technology


Programme 3:

Media engagement


This programme focuses on the WRC’s engagement with the media for enhanced public awareness of WRC-funded research.

*   Preparing media briefings, media conferences and networking events in order to create and sustain an awareness and appreciation among the media of the WRC’s position of leadership within the water sector

*   Drafting press releases, articles and opinion pieces on topic water issues



Scope: This Thrust aims to enhance knowledge dissemination both internally and externally through various WRC products. Additionally, it aims:

*   To conserve and expand the WRC knowledge base

*   To enhance the ‘public’s’ understanding of water science based on their interests and desires.

Programme 1:

Communication Works Engine


Scope: This programme is the knowledge generation and dissemination hub of the WRC. It aims to package water-centred knowledge for different users. It manages the production of WRC-funded research reports, technology transfer reports, The Water Wheel, Water SA, WIN-SA, brochures and briefs. It includes the following functions:

*  Develop and maintain innovative ways to share and disseminate WRC products, e.g. brochures, technical, policy and ministerial briefs, Knowledge Review, media briefings.

*   Produce and publish the Water Wheel

*   Produce and publish special publications such as books and learning material

*   Manage the production and publication of Water SA

Programme 2:


Scope: This programme involves the active process of communicating research results to potential users and interested and affected parties through the following measures:

* By targeting, tailoring and packaging messages for particular target audiences;

*   Through participation in strategic linkages and exchange events;

*   By developing knowledge user networks.

Programme 3:

Digital records management


Scope: This programme aims to provide an effective printing and distribution service; and to develop mechanisms for effective knowledge sharing, information storage, indexing and transfer. It includes the following functions:

*   Manage the quality-control process of WRC technical and technology transfer final reports

*   Manage the process of layout and printing of the WRC reports and other publications

*   Manage the effective distribution of research reports

*   Manage effective report distribution facilities (manual and electronic)



Scope: Recognising the growing demand for the WRC’s services in South Africa and the limited resources (human, financial and infrastructure) available, the WRC undertook to develop a strategic business development strategy, which is coordinated under this Thrust. The main purpose of the strategy will be to seek effective ways to improve the impact of the WRC initiatives and expand the resource pool using existing capabilities as leverage. Emphasis will be placed on strengthening collaborative partnerships (local and international) and positioning the WRC as a key player in all water research related activities.

Programme 1:

Resource mobilisation


Scope: The main purpose of this programme is to leverage funding (joint funding opportunities, free funding opportunities (consultancy). This will be achieved through:

* The facilitation of joint research projects/workshops/conferences

* Strategic engagement with key stakeholders(outreach, and participation in the whole innovation value chain)

Programme 2:

Impact expansion


Scope: This programme focuses on establishing strategic partnerships, profiling the WRC; and intelligence gathering to support and influence policy.

Programme 3:

IP and commercialisation management


Scope: This programme focuses on the WRC footprint i.e. intellectual property management, technology brokerage and development. It also ensures that the WRC promotes the effective transfer of information and technology through up-scaling and demonstration. In the words of the Department of Science and Technology’s 10-year innovation plan, it serves as an enabler to address the “innovation chasm” between research results and socioeconomic outcomes.

Programme 4:

Partnership development


Scope: The aim of this programme is to enhance the credibility and relevance of the WRC locally and globally; and to coordinate strategic local, continental and international partnerships and facilitate dialogues which position the WRC as a significant international player and a recognised asset to South Africa. To achieve these desired objectives, the WRC will explore the following modalities:

* Strategic resource partnering with key stakeholders, including            Structured engagements: MoU’s with equivalent entities               (local and international)

*  Strategic resource partnering with key stakeholders, including                Formal membership in strategic organisations

*  Strategic resource partnering with key stakeholders, including business (DWA, DEA, DAFF, DST, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, philanthropic institutions, etc.)

*   Support institutional collaborations (university-to-university)

*   Support expert-to-expert collaborations

*   Interest group engagement (professional bodies, etc.)

*   Exploit niche areas (e.g. acid mine drainage, etc.)

Programme 4:

International cooperation


This programme supports the implementation of the WRC’s International Strategy. Acknowledging the potential benefits of international partnerships to South Africa and the African continent, the WRC aims to raise its international profile so that these benefits are more effectively realised. The development of the WRC International Strategy is the first step in raising the WRC’s international profile, and in highlighting our already pivotal role in key African initiatives such as the TIGER Initiative and the Sanitation Research Fund for Africa (SRFA).

The WRC has developed its international strategy in response to the increasing globalisation of research. The WRC presently undertakes a range of international activities including support of international collaboration, participation in research forums, conferences, and liaison with various international institutions. This international strategy will guide the WRC in developing more strategic partnerships both nationally and internationally, and responding to international trends in research policy and research support.

*   Strategically developing, promoting and steering South Africa’s water research and development (R&D) agenda through bilateral and multilateral cooperation instruments and organisations

*   Sharing and exchanging information, ideas, best practices and technologies with international partner institutions



Scope: This programme focuses on our way of working, i.e., business process management, portfolio management, web development and content management. In therefore aims to coordinate the research funding cycle and provide effective tools, systems and procedures to support the core business of the WRC. It supports the management of research projects, and links financial processes with technical fund management.

Programme 1:

FMS management


Scope:  This programme focuses on the following key functions:

*    Coordinate the annual funding cycle


* Preparing media briefings, media conferences and networking Increasing the user-friendliness of the WRC Fund Management System (FMS) for both external and internal users

* Advance the linkage between financial and technical management of research projects

* Provide support to the research KSAs with regard to proposal cycle and project management on FMS

*    Develop the FMS as a management information tool

Programme 2:

FMS compliance support

Scope: This programme provides support to the Compliance unit in terms of quarterly and annual reporting derived from the FMS.

Programme 3:

Content management

Scope: This programme oversees the WRC’s content management objectives and ensures compliance to existing legislation in this regard.

Programme 4:

Relationship management

Scope: This programme provides the logistics required for the flow of research-related information into and out of the WRC. Additionally, it is the support point for all external and internal FMS queries.



Scope: The primary aim of this Thrust is to provide strategic research advice related to the water sector, R&D capacity, knowledge flow and ultimate impact. The WRC is mandated to lead and co-ordinate water research in South Africa. It is also tasked to promote effective knowledge transfer and enhance knowledge and capacity in the sector. It is therefore important that the WRC understands all of the elements driving the water knowledge cycle in South Africa.

Programme 1:

Social research                                 


Scope:  There is a growing recognition among South African water researchers, as there is worldwide, of the need to deal with social problems in the water sector through robust social science theories and methodologies, to bring these skills into multi-disciplinary water research teams and to define a strategic social research agenda. This programme explores the potential of social science research in the water sector, by supporting research that develops/applies social research methodologies to understanding complex water challenges. It also promotes the integration of these skills into inter-, multi- or transdisciplinary research projects in the South Africa water sector, and in the WRC. It relies heavily on a consultative approach through workshops and interviews.

Programme 2:

Water foresight


Scope: This programme focuses on researching various elements, drivers and trends affecting the dynamics of the water-centred knowledge cycle, from issues related to research capacity and overall funding of research by the sector to the effectiveness of research and its impact on policy and technology used by the sector. This functional area may also provide advice regarding sector needs and global trends, i.e., foresight and scenario studies. Examples of research/studies to be carried out under the leadership of this functional area are:

*   Assessment of the scope and extent of water research done in South Africa

*    Analysis of research capacity, demographics, current and future needs

*  Impact of research, including methodology for impact assessments

*    Long-term scenario building

* Assessing knowledge uptake and dissemination and establishing new effective mechanisms

Programme 3:

Research coordination support to the WRC’s strategic planning process      

Scope:  This programme provides support to strategic planning process of the WRC, including but not limited to, the consolidation of the WRC Corporate Plan and Annual Report.





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