Karen Bruns is the Chief Operations Officer at Research Africa in Cape Town, South Africa. Research Africa is a seven year old multimedia publishing company and a subsidiary of the London-based company Research (www.researchresearch.com/africa). Research Africa publishes an online research funding opportunities database, licensed to subscribing research institutes, universities and thinktanks across Africa, and independent, analytical research funding news, which provides inside information of the financial flows of research investment into and in Africa to its subscribers.
In addition, the company provides communication services to key research-driven development projects, such as the Network for Coordination and Advancement of Sub-Saharan Africa-EU Science and Technology Cooperation (CAAST-Net) which is effecting improved EU-Africa relations in the area of science and technology under the FP7-INCO programme of the EU, in one instance, and the ACP-funded RIMI4AC project, which is creating African networks and associations of research and innovation managers, is another.
A lawyer by training with a Masters degree in International Trade Law and Joint Ventures from the University of Edinburgh, Karen has worked in a number of marketing and project management roles in the publishing and related industries. Beginning her career in anti-apartheid publishing in the late 1980s with David Philip Publishers and then with Ravan Press, Karen went on to initiate, lead and build up two marketing departments over a twelve year period, initially for Juta Law & Professional Publishers and later for the HSRC Press, the open access dissemination arm of the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa.
It was in 1997 that she began to explore the ideas of the return to the commons and open access publishing as strategic within the knowledge economy, and she developed significant expertise in this area. Part of the senior management team at the HSRC Press (www.hsrcpress.ac.za) since its inception in 2002, Karen was privileged to be one of the pioneers tasked with exploring new avenues for academic publishing on the African continent. She raised the profile of the research of the Human Sciences Research Council and other South African social scientists through the active promotion through various retail channels, online marketing, social media and an “issue-based” marketing strategy.
The former head of the Academic Publishing sector of the Publishers’ Association of South Africa (PASA) and part of the management committee of this professional association from 2004-2009, Karen is now approaching the issues of African research impact from the supply side and is focussed on broad issues of research collaboration, management and research funding. Since 2010, Karen has been tasked with the overall management of the Research Africa business, reporting to the shareholders – Research Ltd (UK), the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) (UK) and the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA).
Karen also serves as the Treasurer of the AVA Gallery, a non-profit visual arts association in the Western Cape, and has been part of that management committee since 2009.
Contact details for Karen Bruns:
karen_bruns on Skype