Research Culture

Research Culture is an environment that fosters and enhances graduate student and faculty experience, creates symbiotic and amieable atmosphere to nurture pioneers, scientists and engineers for sustained research development and growth of an Institution.  As such, there is no standard formula for a good research culture.  Every institution has to realize their potential and build on strengths.  A focused and streamlined approach is required to establish novel practical initiatives to build research capacity and intellectual capital.  Developing research culture is a slow evolving process.  Definition of a good research culture is unclear and seems to be of different construct when viewed from the varying perspectives of academic staff, university management and graduate students.  Research, teaching and services are three essential components of an academic institution.  An environment that facilitates and increases productivity of individuals to attain strategic goals of an institution may be considered as a good research culture.

Different institutions have various notions of a research culture.  The ultimate goal is to attain and sustain high productivity in research conducted by an institution.  The following are common examples gathered from on-line search and journal articles.

  • Attract and retain quality candidates (PDF, research engineers, graduate students, etc.)
  • More PhD’s compared to MSc’s
  • Focus on quality rather than number of graduate students (which means offering higher incentives to attract good candidates)
  • Scholarships and funding to every graduate student so that they could focus on research rather than earning living for their families
  • More focus on collaborative research to develop a broader range of skills that will enhance graduate student marketability (Harman, 2004)
  • Research Indicators: Publications in peer reviewed and reputed journals; impact factor; presentation in conferences
  • Conduct research and provide education that could bridge the gap between the laboratory and the marketplace (Harman, 2004)
  • Increase industry-funded scholarships, top-up funding (Harman, 2004)
  • Establish faculty and student performance based awards (college awards) (preferably financial incentives)
  • Organize yearly research and facilities information session for students (mandatory attendance)
  • Faculty and student social gatherings and events
  • Strengthen/restructure weaker programs (Goodman, 2004)
  • Facilitating proposal development: Helping faculty to avoid common pitfalls (Porter, 2003)
  • Form a team of college internal reviewers who will give constructive criticism to applicants
  • Keep track of proposal success rate i.e. submissions vs. success rate (productivity)
  • Organize proposal development workshops or help sessions for junior faculty
For additional information read: Research culture: To Enhance University Experience for Sustained Research Growth