Expanding Interdisciplinary Relationships

RIPS has been quite successful in forging interdisciplinary relationships not only locally with peer units in the University of Ghana, but also with other universities across the world. This stemmed from the realization that there was paradigm shift from the 1970s where population research and training was primarily focused on the three key pillars of population change, namely, fertility, mortality and migration – to one that recognizes the contribution of other disciplines. RIPS-ISSER-University of Sussex and RIPS-Department of Soil Science-Penn State collaborations are two of many examples. In addition, RIPS has undertaken research that encompasses the study of religions, aging, educational processes, inequality, etc., and I have been instrumental in this agenda.

My experience with inter-disciplinary research dates back to 2000 when I studied for my doctoral degree at the Centre for Development Studies, University of Bonn, Germany, where I had the opportunity to work with scientists from different backgrounds. Having joint publications with scientists from various disciplinary backgrounds, and from different institutions further attests to this. My vision is to expand the interdisciplinary linkages with relevant local and international research institutions by engaging in research that links the population to natural resources, such as land use/cover, forest resources, agricultural resources, mineral and oil resources, etc. This has the potential to attract more funders, and expanding the scope of the research agenda at RIPS.

Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Peer-reviewed Publications

Another remarkable achievement of RIPS in recent times is the depth and quality of publications from RIPS—most notably of our postgraduate students—in high impact, peer-reviewed journals, and presentations at major international and local scientific meetings. I myself have published in high impact-factor journals and made presentations at major international and local scientific meetings. This is a far cry from what existed when I first joined the institute.

My vision is to chart a course that will further encourage faculty members to publish. Faculty members who fall short of publishing at least three articles in impact-factor peer-reviewed journals within two years would be identified for assistance. I am of the view that this will go a long way to boost the webometrics ranking of the University of Ghana, and set it well on the course of attaining world class status.

Expand and Propagate

Most of the achievements of RIPS outlined above have been done with a very skeletal staff strength (the current figure is 4 full-timers), and limited space. The challenges of having a small teaching staff for research development and supervision of a growing cadre of M. Phil and PhD students, particularly given the very heavy mentoring that is the signature of RIPS, is obvious. I am of the view that RIPS is at a point where it should embark on a massive expansion and propagation drive, and my vision is to undertake this through three key activities.