The Research and Knowledge Management Office (RaKMO) held its Annual Research Review Session on June 29, 2024, at the Syndicate Room, Main Campus, SMU. This year’s session included presentation on Analysis of the Annual Research Reviews of St. Mary’s University, a proposal defense and an award of the “Outstanding Researcher of the Year”.

Misganaw Solomon (PhD), Vice President for Research and International Relations, opened the session highlighting the importance of research and St. Mary’s University’s commitment to it and introducing the agenda. 

Matheas Shemeles (Ass. Prof), Director of RaKMO, delivered a comprehensive presentation on the Analysis of the Annual Research Reviews of St. Mary’s University from 2020 to 2023. He highlighted that the review plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality and relevance of the university’s research efforts. The report aimed to assess current practices, identify strengths and weaknesses, and find solutions for future improvement. During the period 2020 to 2023, twelve SMU academic staff actively engaged in research, Matheas reported. The budget allocated for the Annual Research Review has shown improvement over the years, he added.  

Despite the multi-faceted efforts, Matheas pointed out, SMU faces such challenges as a limited number of research initiatives, low publication rates, low staff engagement, and insufficient research funding. To address these challenges, different recommendations were made, including encouraging and supporting staff to secure research grants, recognizing research as a fundamental duty of instructors, building research capacity within the university, and increasing funding for research projects.

Following the presentation, a discussion session was held where participants aired their concerns and raised questions in areas where clarifications and improvements had been expected.  

Wondwosen Tamrat (PhD), President of SMU, commended the Research and Knowledge Management Office (RaKMO) for its diligent efforts in enhancing the research culture at SMU. He emphasized that research and publication should become a strong cultural practice at SMU. He pointed out that individual research outcomes should contribute to institutional development. In addition, he mentioned that RaKMO should establish stronger connections with faculties to create a vibrant research community toward the realization of strong research culture in the University. He also advised RaKMO to document and publishes the office’s research activities on annual basis. 

In the second part of the meeting, a proposal was presented by Ato Shiferaw Tadesse, who dwelt on “Intra-Africa Tourism” to get funding for his research. Participants engaged actively by posing questions and giving comment on his proposal. 

The end of the session was presenting “Outstanding Researcher of the Year Award” to a faculty who excelled in research and publication endeavor. The “Outstanding Researcher of the Year Award” aims to recognize researchers’ contributions and encourage staff to engage in research. This year, the award was given to Ato Assefa Belay from the Department of Economics, acknowledging his outstanding research efforts with a certificate and monetary prize. 

Additionally, Daniel Zewdie (Ass. Prof), Dejene Mamo (PhD) and Ato Manaye Adela were awarded certificates for their contributions to research and publication. The competition was open to all staff members who met the required criteria.

The Annual Research Review Session at SMU provides invaluable insights and a clear roadmap for enhancing research practices in the university.