On November 7-8 2016, GDN held a Final Progress Review Workshop with the Institute of Gross National Happiness Studies, (iGNHaS) Bhutan, a grantee of the GDN “Building Research Capacities in Least - Developed Countries” pilot program. The workshop was held on the sidelines of the 14th Annual SANEI Conference, in Kathmandu, Nepal, where GDN and the team also presented the preliminary findings of an on-going internal evaluation.
GDN has been working closely with iGNHaS over the past two years to strengthen the research culture at the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), as part of its initiative to support demand-driven efforts to strengthen research training in least developed countries. The workshop reviewed the methodology and framework used by iGNHaS in its internal evaluation, identifying potential indicators at four different levels: systematic, institutional, organizational and individual.
During the workshop, participants discussed the impact of the program since its inception, noting its key achievements in assisting and fostering the:
Development of research leadership through visits to the research centers of excellence
Development of research centers through developing strategies and setting targets
Capacity development of faculty through research workshops and trainings
Creation of incentives for higher research engagement among faculty members, who have gained increased access to better quality resources through the program
Increase in student research engagement through training
Education of research consumers through publications, seminars and TV programs
The workshop also provided an opportunity to identify and discuss existing and potential future gaps in the implementation of the program, noting a need for:
Further capacity development of experienced mentors and lecturers
Visits to RCE for college leadership and DRILs
Research Management and promotion training for RC Coordinators
Research Grant Writing
Research Proposal writing for international projects for faculties
Research data analysis training
Training on research software
Higher Degree Research Supervision training
As a way forward, the team developed a roadmap to overcome challenges concerning institutional outreach and resource mobilization for research in Bhutan, identifying strategic partnerships between actors within and outside RUB and Bhutan to pursue research strengthening at RUB.
From January 23-25 2016, GDN held a Mid-Term Review Workshop with the teams of its "Building Research Capacities in Least Developed Countries" pilot program funded by IDRC.
The three teams from Bhutan, Ethiopia and Cambodia -Vietnam from GDN’s Building Research Capacity in Least Developed Countries program met for the first time together in Hanoi, VIetnam, where they worked for three days with GDN, their mentors, selected partners and international experts, to discuss their progress and the future of institutional capacity building in LDCs.
The objective of the workshop was three-fold: (i) to share experiences and knowledge across the teams; (ii) to kick-start an informed reflection on the impact of the program, at the institutional and individual level, and on how to measure it; and (iii) to provide training on project management to the teams, to strengthen areas identified by teams themselves, the GDN team and the mentors.
The grantee teams -- from Haramaya University, Ethiopia, the Institute of Gross National Happiness Studies, Bhutan, and the team of the "Journées de Tam Dao" Summer School from the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences and Royal University of Law and Economics of Cambodia -- discussed critically the progress of their individual projects against objectives of the program, persisting challenges and future prospects. The discussion included the teams' Scientific and Technical Advisors, external international experts, and policy makers from Vietnam and the GDN Program Unit.
The workshop brought to light the centrality of strengthening competencies in change management, resource mobilization, impact assessment, network building and institutional outreach (internal and external) for the successful implementation of research capacity building pilots in Least Developed Countries. The discussion also suggested that relatively small and self-contained pilots offer a precious opportunity to effectively implement new approaches to research capacity building in higher education systems, but that strategic institutional outreach is instrumental leverage these examples to impact the broader research culture, at both the institutional and systemic levels.
The interactions between the teams and experts and policy makers from the higher education sector in Vietnam suggested that academic institutions have to diversify their strategies to influence national efforts to reform the higher education systems, including through better media outreach, capacity building and research outreach at the level of relevant ministries, and broader institutional alliances, including with the private sector.
For the final 10 months of the program, in addition to activities already planned, the teams agreed to engage in the formulation of proposals for the institutionalization, in full or in part, of their pilots within their national higher education systems in which they operate.
With the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), this program will build, in innovative and structured ways, the institutional capacity of research actors in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to become catalysts of research, and research training efforts, in their region, including through stronger outreach.
Under the Building Research Capacity in Least Developed Countries program, GDN organized face-to-face meetings with the partner teams from the Institute for Gross National Happiness Studies (IGNHaS), Bhutan and Centre Africain d’études Supérieures en Gestion (CESAG), Senegal.
Meeting with IGNHaS, Bhutan
The meeting with IGNHaS (held on 27 February 2015 at the GDN office in New Delhi, India), was also attended by the nine Deans of Research and Industrial Linkages at the Royal University of Bhutan. It focused on the development of a strategy for the establishment of research centres within the University's colleges.
For further information contact Francesco Obino, Program Manager