Get access

Policy utilisation of research results in Cameroon


  • Charly Gabriel Mbock,

  • Marie-Laure Ngo-Mpeck,

  • Dorothée Kom,

  • Joseph-Marie Zambo Belinga

  • Professor Charly Gabriel Mbock is an anthropologist. A Director of Research, he has published several internationally reputed books and articles. Having been the Representative of Cameroon, Vice-Chair for Africa and Rapporteur of the Intergovernmental Council of the UNESCO MOST programme, Professor Mbock is currently an elected Council member of its Scientific Committee.

  • Marie-Laure Ngo-Mpeck is a researcher at the World Agroforestry Centre, where she works at the regional bureau for humid tropical Africa. The author of half-a-dozen scientific articles in specialised journals, she is completing a doctoral thesis on the domestication of medicinal plants and local fruit trees at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon.

  • Dorothée Kom is a researcher at the Cameroon Ministry of Scientific and Technical Research.

  • Joseph-Marie Zambo Belinga is a lecturer in political science at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon.


Using knowledge by taking account of the results of scientific research is a preoccupation of the scientific community on which this article proposes to shed light by considering the case of Cameroon. Within the theoretical framework of actionism, the study is based on a questionnaire survey administered to a sample of 200 researchers, decision-makers, and research-commissioning bodies, complemented by interviews. The data cover commissioning, evaluation and utilisation practices over the period 1990–2001. The results show considerable differences in judgement between researchers, decision-makers, and commissioning bodies with regard to existing practices and desirable usage. The differences reflect the lack of connection between properly academic concerns and policy prospects, as well as a research funding structure in Cameroon that separates problem definition from solution implementation. Given inadequate utilisation of scientific research data in public policy, the article proposes renewed institutional forms that might encourage academicism to take account of the practical requirements of social engineering.