Promoting evidence-based dialogue that contributes to better public policies requires a supportive environment. In the case of barriers specific to university contributions to public policy research, KSI is supporting its university partners, not only to explore the barriers, but to seek ways to address them.
A focus group discussion on “The University Barriers to Research” took place at the KSI offices on 15 December 2014, led by KSI’s four university based research partners: AIDS Research Center (Universitas Atma Jaya), Center for Health and Policy Management (Universitas Gajah Mada), Center for the Study of Islam and Society (Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta), and Center for Political Study (Universitas Indonesia). KSI program representatives and Dr Yanuar Nugroho facilitated the focus group discussion.
Partners highlighted some common challenges such as weak publication records, weak human resources (both quality and quantity), unclear and limited career paths for researchers, limited research funding, and lack of incentives for researchers. At the same time, these partners also identified opportunities to cultivate university-based research activities. The promise of the new government to increase research funding; the established networks of local and international researchers; and the expanding demand for policy research, were all perceived as contributing factors to overcome those challenges.
“This discussion enables us to conclude that supports to strengthen individual and organisational capacities at university-based research institutes and universities must be complemented with structural changes in the national system. Without targeting strategic ‘reform’ efforts within the system that will accelerate research excellence and competitiveness, the barriers will remain despite external supports,” said Budiati Prasetiamartati, Program Manager in KSI.
This FGD contributed to a continuing dialogue among KSI university partners on overcoming the barriers. An outline of a diagnostic study on university barriers to research is expected to be part of the next discussion.
For more information, please contact: Budiati Prasetiamartati at firstname.lastname@example.org.