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Final Progress Review Workshop with the Institute of Gross National Happiness Studies, Bhutan

On November 7-8 2016, GDN held a Final Progress Review Workshop with the Institute of Gross National Happiness Studies, (iGNHaS) Bhutan, a grantee of the GDN “Building Research Capacities in Least - Developed Countries” pilot program. The workshop was held on the sidelines of the 14th Annual South Asian Network of Economic Research Institutes (SANEI) Conference, in Kathmandu, Nepal, where GDN and the team also presented the preliminary findings of an on-going internal evaluation. 
 
GDN has been working closely with iGNHaS over the past two years to strengthen the research culture at the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), as part of its initiative to support demand-driven efforts to strengthen research training in least developed countries. The workshop reviewed the methodology and framework used by iGNHaS in its internal evaluation, identifying potential indicators at four different levels: systematic, institutional, organizational and individual. 

During the workshop, participants discussed the impact of the program since its inception, noting its key achievements in assisting and fostering the: 

  • Development of research leadership through visits to the research centers of excellence
  • Development of research centers through developing strategies and setting targets
  • Capacity development of faculty through research workshops and trainings
  • Creation of incentives for higher research engagement among faculty members, who have gained increased access to better quality resources through the program
  • Increase in student research engagement through training 
  • Education of research consumers through publications, seminars and TV programs  

The workshop also provided an opportunity to identify and discuss existing and potential future gaps in the implementation of the program, noting a need for: 

  • Further capacity development of experienced mentors and lecturers
  • Visits to reserach centers of excellence for college leadership and directors of research and industrial linkages
  • Research management and promotion training for research center coordinators
  • Research grant writing
  • Research proposal writing for international projects for faculties
  • Research data analysis training
  • Training on research software
  • Higher degree research supervision training  

As a way forward, the team developed a roadmap to overcome challenges concerning institutional outreach and resource mobilization for research in Bhutan, identifying strategic partnerships between actors within and outside RUB and Bhutan to pursue research strengthening at RUB.