In a fast-changing world, the capacity building becomes a mandatory focus area for every individual and organization.
The education sector has undergone tremendous changes in the recent past, and capacity building has become a vital process for better sustainability. In general, capacity building is considered a continuous process for developing and strengthening individuals' skills and abilities, thereby impacting the organization. As far as the Indian higher education system is concerned though it is the third largest system in the world, there remains a huge gap in terms of research contributions, and hence research capacity building becomes inevitable for every individual and the institution
Research capacity building has become a crucial point of discussion in the Indian higher education scenario. It is time to rethink and act with urgency to adopt approaches to Research that are more critical, relational, and reflective. A well-defined sequence of activities toward research capacity building that forms a part of the research excellence framework must be charted at the institution level. This will act as a road map to drive the complete research-oriented activities in higher education institutions. Moreover, research capacity-building has proved to help build inter and intra-institutional research collaborations. Capacity building activities, by and large, include the following: Periodical Training, Re-skilling and Upskilling, Continuous learning, Relevant development activities, knowledge enhancement, caching and teaching, as indicated in fig (1).
Integrating the research-oriented activities with the above-mentioned set of attributes would enhance the research productivity of the faculty members.
A transformative approach is required to be considered at the individual faculty level and also at the institutional level to achieve the overall research capacity-building objectives.
Hence the following are considered.
Research capacity-building at the individual faculty level
Technically, two strategies to increase faculties' research capacity can be distinguished (Levine et al., 2013): professionalising faculty into more research competencies or hiring new
faculties with more research competencies. Both strategies have been complex, as per various research studies. In western countries, research capacity building is more practised through the professional development of the concerned individual. It is believed that capacity building is not about recruiting the right people to the right research field but also enabling them to progress to sustain and develop the academic field.
The following attributes can be considered for faculty engagement in research and teaching, thereby exploring the integrated approach toward institutional capacity-building as a continuous activity:
- The initial activity could begin with promoting research for the attainment of new knowledge by faculty members as part of knowledge accumulation. It could be about analysing the new trends or discussing a few research outcomes in that area. This phase would create a thirst among the stakeholders for knowledge search and solutions, giving birth to new research avenues.
- Improving the Quality of Teaching through Research & Development
- Introduction of more problem-centred, experimental-centred, experiential-centred courses in the Curriculum to develop the Research Mindset & Research Thinking.
- Faculty members can organize/participate in research, conferences/symposiums/seminars/workshops etc. in the thrust areas or emerging areas
- Faculty members can participate in and conduct research symposiums
- Faculty Members can design & develop New Courses / New Programs as an outcome of the Research Work.
- Faculty members can write blogs on the area of interest or any contemporary topics
- Faculty members can create research-oriented cases and use them as a pedagogy for teaching
- Faculty members can take up collaborative research and do joint publications and projects
- Target high publications output
- Create an impact in society by addressing pertinent issues
- Use your research as a gateway to re-design the curriculum regarding the latest and industry requirements.
Research capacity-building at the institution level
Institutional research capacity building is equally important to succeed in the mission. Institutional support is very important to take forward all these activities to action. Encouragement and time are the two continuous support that every researcher in the organization solicits. When provided, these will help the researcher enhance their professional capacity and the opportunities for networking and better research collaboration.
The following attributes could be considered for institutional research capacity building but are not limited to.
- Proposing knowledge development tools and training appropriately
- Move towards expansive research culture
- Promotion and Appointment of Research Professor
- Enhancing Faculty Research Supervision Capacity
- Enhancing a supportive environment for Research and Research Training
- Cultivating and Attracting Researchers from within Existing Faculty
- Recruiting New Faculty from outside the institution with strong research background
- Encourage Faculty to apply for Call for Proposals for pilot projects
- Encouraging faculties to write blogs in their area of expertise on contemporary aspects
- Encouraging them with suitable incentives for quality publications
- Encouraging faculties to promote research culture among students
- Setting a health-research competitive environment
- Creating the opportunity to work with international researchers.
- Motivating faculties to use research-based cases in the classroom
An integrated transformative approach that includes institutional and personal development components will always work well. A networking and collaborative working model is desirable regarding knowledge sharing and dissemination. Research capacity-building activities help to enhance the quality of publications and teaching. It also creates much more research opportunities leading to overall development.