Academic journal article International Journal of Management

Why Academics Fail to Utilize Academic-Funded Research Opportunities? an Empirical Study

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

Why Academics Fail to Utilize Academic-Funded Research Opportunities? an Empirical Study

Article excerpt

The study investigates why faculty members abstain from participating in university-funded research projects at Kuwait University. The study was conducted with a sample of 112 faculty members from four colleges in the university, using a questionnaire to find out what impedes or restricts participation in university-funded research opportunities. These restrictions or impediments were analyzed in terms of four dimensions; nature of academic research, characteristics of faculty, funding and facilities, and research administration processes. The study concluded that the main obstacles hindering university - funded research are insufficient incentives and facilities and excessive procedures. Recommendations for enhancing the status of research at Kuwait University are suggested from the findings


Research conducted by faculty members in higher education Institutions is considered a major mechanism to promote socio-economic and technological development. Some developed countries spend up to 3% of die GDP on scientific research. It has been argued that such research is a clear indicator of development in any country (Siam 1999, Abu Romman 2000). Nationally significant as it may be, academic research is also crucial for the strength and reputation of any university.

The research conducted by its faculty members has a direct impact on the status and categorization of universities around the world. As far as the Individual faculty member is concerned, academic research is the major determinant of personal and professional success. In addition to it being necessary to satisfy their roles of teaching and research adequately; faculty members must conduct scientific research to meet productivity, retention and promotion criteria, as well as gain peer recognition. Many scholars and observers agree that research practices in the Arab world, in general, are less than satisfactory (Al Na'emy and Al-Rawi, 1999). Typical factors behind this phenomenon, which have been frequently quoted in the relevant literature include; the belief that faculty members live in ivory towers, weak relationship between universities and the industry, and more importantly financial stringency and lack of resources.

Taking the latter factor into consideration (i.e funding difficulties), the issue of academic research at Kuwait University is worth investigating. Available data suggest that faculty members may be abstaining from actively participating in university-funded research.

The total number of academic staff in Kuwait University reached 1138 by the end of the year 2005. The average number of research projects that were funded annually by the University during the period (1995-2004) amounted to 69.8. This means that, at most, one faculty member out of 16 had been undertaking university - sponsored research projects. Moreover, the Budget allocated for research in the financial year 2005/6 amounted to 2.2 million Kuwaiti Dinars, which represents only about 1,5% of the total University Budget for the year. Judging from past experience, it is doubtful whether this amount will be fully utilized or not, despite the fact that post-doctoral research in their respective specializations is important for faculty members in their endeavors to promote personal and career interests. They thus have a strong motivation want to publish their research findings as articles in refereed local and international journals and periodicals, and should therefore, in normal circumstances, seek funding from the university. Only strong impediments and other 'sound reasons' could lead to the apparent reluctance of faculty members to try to secure such finding for their research and publications.

The main goal of this study is to investigate reasons that discourage faculty members at Kuwait University from undertaking university-funded research projects.

More specifically the study will address the following issues:

* The difficulties encountered by faculty members in their professional and especially their research-related progress. …

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