ERG SES G 08, Education and Research
While many countries in the world have been trying to improve university research capacity in the effort to strengthen their innovation systems and to stimulate economic growth (World Bank, 2002), policy makers still lack a systematic research-informed understanding of what research capacity is and how different aspects of it can be improved. The existing inquiry into university research capacity is scattered, is largely based on evaluation of practical experience of donor agencies rather than on scholarly research, and frequently fails to differentiate between individual, organizational, and national levels.
Some themes that have emerged in global inquiry related to university research capacity building include: (1) research on features of world-class research institutions in the global North (Salmi, 2009; Deem et al., 2008; Alden & Lin, 2004) and case studies of the attempts to create ones in the global South (Deem et al., 2008; Diang-fu Chang et al., 2009; Niland, 2000); (2) studies on characteristics of successful researchers in Western universities to inform institutional professional development and evaluation practices (Bland & Schmitz, 1986); (3) reports on individual- (Lillis, 2010; Canagarajah, 2002) and organizational-level (Sawyerr, 2004) challenges/barriers to successful research activity in developing countries; (4) research on the role and perils of international collaboration in research capacity accumulation (Barett et al., 2011; Crossley, 2006; Royal Society, 2011); (5) studies of the role of diasporas and brain drain in the weakening and accumulation of research capacity in less developed countries (Dodani and LaPorte, 2005; Ioannidis, 2004; Levy, 2003); (6) studies on the importance and extent of university-industry linkages (Leydesdorff & Etzkowitz, 1996); (7) research on donor approaches to capacity building (Jones et al., 2007; Harris, 2004). Whereas international research on university research capacity is scattered, research on the topic with a special focus on Kazakhstan is literarily non-existent. We know of only two recent studies in English on the topic (Radosevic, & Myrzakhmet, 2009; Kembayev, 2001).
This study aims to contribute to understanding of what constitutes individual-level research capacity and how it can be increased. Western experts frequently utilize deficiency model of individual research capacity and assume that non-Western researchers possess zero or very minimal knowledge and skills in conducting research. They also fail to recognize that skills and knowledge necessary for successful involvement in research might vary from one research environment to another. There is a lack of comprehensive understanding of opportunities and challenges in conducting research in transitional contexts and of tested strategies which have proved to be helpful for non-Western researchers.
Although limited in numbers, successful researchers do exist in non-Western countries. Their success can be objectively measured by the number of publications and citations in recognized international research journals. This qualitative study intends to explore the experiences of successful scholars in Kazakhstan. The study will answer the following research questions: (1) Which knowledge, skills, and resources are necessary in Kazakhstan to be a successful researcher? (2) What are some opportunities and challenges in conducting research in Kazakhstan from the point of view of successful researchers? (3) Which strategies have proved most effective in overcoming the challenges and in raising individual research capacities of successful researchers?
Alden, J., and G. Lin. (2004). Benchmarking the Characteristics of a World-Class University. Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, London. Barett, A.M.; Crossley, M., Dachi, H.A. (2011). International collaboration and research capacity building: learning from the EdQual experience. Comparative Education, 47(1), 25-43. Bland, C.J., and Schmitz, C.C. (1986). Characteristics of the successful researcher and implications for faculty development. Journal of Medical Education, Vol 61(1), Jan, 22-31. Canagarajah, A.S. (2002). A geopolitics of academic writing. Pittsburg, PA. Crossley, M.(2006). Capacity strengthening and evaluation within international research collaboration. A consultation paper for the DFID funded ‘Implementing Quality Education in Low Income Countries’ Research Programme Consortium. Deem, R., K. H. Mok, and L. Lucas. (2008). Transforming Higher Education in Whose Image? Exploring the Concept of the ‘World-Class’ University in Europe and Asia. Higher Education Policy 21 (1): 83–97. Diang-fu Chang, Cheng-ta Wu, Ching, S.J., Chia-wei Tang (2009). An evaluation of the dynamics of the plan to develop first-class universities and top level research centers in Taiwan. Dodani, S., and LaPorte, R.E. (2005). Brain-drain from developing countries: how can brain-drain be converted into wisdom gain? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 98(11): 487–491. Harris, E. (2004). Building scientific capacity in developing countries. EMBO Reports, 5(1), 7-12. Ioannidis, J.P. (2004). Global estimates of high-level brain drain and deficit. FASEB, 18, 936–9. Jones, N., Bailey, M., Lyytikainen, M. (2007). Research capacity strengthening in Africa. Trends, gaps, and opportunities. London, SE: Overseas Development Institute. Kembaev, B.A, Aitmambetov, R.M., Ordabaeva, S.I. (2001). The Dynamic of S&T Potential of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 1991–2000. Kazgos: INTI, p. 30 Levy, L.F. (2003). The first world’s role in the third world brain drain. BMJ, 327, 170. Leydesdorff, L., Etzkowitz, H. (1996). Emergence of a Triple Helix of university–industry–government relations. Science and Public Policy 23, 279–286. Lillis, T., Magyar, A., Robinson-Patt, A. (2010). An international journal’s attempts to address inequalities in academic publishing. Compare, 40(6), 781-800. Niland, J. (2000). The Challenge of Building World Class Universities in the Asian Region, http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=997 Radosevic, S., & Myrzakhmet, M. (2009). Promoting innovation through technoparks in an emerging economy.Technovation, 29(10), 645-656 Royal Society. (2011). Knowledge, networks, and nations. March 2011, p. 61 Salmi, J. (2009). The challenge of establishing world class universities. The World Bank, Washington, DC.Sawyerr, A. (2007). African universities and the challenge of research capacity development. JHEA/RESA, 2(1), 211-240. World Bank. (2002). Constructing Knowledge Societies, Washington, DC: World Bank
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