RESEARCH CAPACITY BUILDING OF ACADEMICS – A CONCERN FOR UNIVERSITIES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Academy of Public Administration under the Republic of Kazakhstan (KAZAKHSTAN)
Global economic progress brings higher education institutions (HEI) to be more competitive in producing research results. These results may become new knowledge in the knowledge of economy. Thus, the idea of this paper is to view research as a means to improve a competitive situation of a HEI. The objective of this paper is to identify understandings of academics from HEIs in Kazakhstan about research capacity building. Theoretical framework of this paper is based on the review of scholarly literature that shows a number of distinct categories of research capacity building. This paper will use the following categories as a theoretical framework for the study: 1) structure – this category concerns how academics see the priorities and goals in doing research and what expectations about research productivity the university has, 2) leadership of research – this category concerns whether there is a process which leads academics into research, how the expectations of the university are expressed with respect to research, how academics are encouraged to engage into research, how academics’ innovative ideas are supported and promoted further development, 3) administrative support for research – this category concerns how research is directed and monitored, what administrative processes enable projects to be formed and managed, 4) funding of research – this category concerns what internal sources are available, how they are allocated, what external sources there are and how the academic staff access these sources, 5) the career structure of researchers – this category concerns how a person becomes a university-based researcher, what qualifies someone for this role, how career progression works, 6) organizational support for research – this category concerns what structures and processes at HEI level and at department level help build a research culture, how leadership of research works within the organization. The research design of this paper is to find out how the Kazakhstani academics do research in their research environment. For that a set of questions is prepared to hold an interview. From the interview replies it is tried to construct a theoretical analysis of research capacity building in that HEI. Ten members of three institutions were selected to provide interviews. This is a main source of the paper that would provide data for the analysis. These three institutions were chosen because while all of them were concerned with the education process they have different research outputs. The methodology was directed at finding how the academics understand the importance of research and the priorities of the research program and the structure in which the research is carried out. That is, categories were identified to provide a framework for interview questions. The logical structure of the study is based on the theoretical framework of research capacity building as is understood in the scholarly articles in the literature. The idea of finding out the academics’ understanding about research capacity building in HEIs is that to compare with the findings of the interview held among the Cambridge University’s academics’ understanding. This comparison should provide a clear vision about the research capacity building environment that might provide recommendations to Kazakhstani or other higher education institutions from developing countries on what to consider in building its/their research capacity.