Iraqi research supported by University of Nottingham in UK and Malaysia

Iraqi research supported by University of Nottingham in UK and Malaysia

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The University of Nottingham is set to work with Iraqi academics in Iraq, Malaysia and the UK to develop and modernise approaches to research and doctoral supervision in their home country — particularly in Kurdistan.

The project ‘Developing capacity for doctoral research supervision and training amongst universities in the Iraqi Kurdistan region’ aims to provide opportunities for Iraqi academics — particularly women — to network with and shadow academic researchers on the University’s Malaysia and UK campuses.

The project has received £90,000 funding from the DelPHE-Iraq programme, a British Council initiative supporting partnerships between higher education institutions in Iraq and those in other countries.

The University of Nottingham has been working with a number of public universities, particularly in the Kurdish region of Iraq, since 2006. These relationships enhanced research expertise and developed research capacity. The new project will further these relationships, providing opportunities for a consortium of seven Kurdish universities, led by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraq.

The programme includes collaborative workshops and professional development in Iraq; professional development programmes for Iraqi doctoral supervisors at The University of Nottingham’s Malaysia campus in April 2011; support networks using video-conferencing and e-learning technologies; and a two-week research leadership and management delegation visit to The University of Nottingham in the UK in November 2011. There is a target of 40 per cent participation by female academics.

Dr Jane Wellens, Head of Researcher Development in The University of Nottingham Graduate School, is leading the project in the UK. She said: “This project is important in the Iraqi context. It supports the great interest present in Iraqi institutions in undertaking joint research with overseas institutions.

“This is likely to be achieved in the immediate future through joint PhD programmes and co-supervision. However, only 28 per cent of Iraqi academics hold a doctorate, and many will be unfamiliar with supervision. By developing academics’ skills and understanding, this project will increase their familiarity with international research processes, allowing them to collaborate and engage with overseas universities.”

The project will also support academics and institutions in delivering locally-led programmes, cascading the training through Kurdish partner universities, allowing them to increase their independence and develop internal capacity.

“This grant comes at an excellent time,” said Professor Dlawer Ala’Aldeen the Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research. “The project fits in with our efforts to reform the system of higher education and scientific research in Kurdistan.”

The University of Nottingham is home to the largest number of Iraqi PhD students in the UK.

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