Applied Science Private UniversityCreating a research culture with impact at its core

Creating a research culture with impact at its core

At the Applied Science Private University in Jordan, a recent cultural shift has given renewed impetus to research at the institution, with the changes already having tangible results

University research is sometimes dismissed as a self-indulgent pursuit that may win plaudits among fellow academics but has little real-world impact. Such an assessment is unfair – and ignores the many benefits that research brings to local and global populations.

At the Applied Science Private University (ASU) in Jordan, the importance of impact is always front of mind when research is being undertaken. “The nature of our research is always focused on meeting national priorities,” says Iman Albasheti, president of ASU. “We turn research into impact. To do this, we make sure our research is well funded and there is good documentation of accurate data.”

As Albasheti explains, while financial gain is rarely the main motivation for academic research, remuneration plays an important role in maintaining enthusiasm for academic work. At the same time, Albasheti has made raising the status of research one of her main aims.

“When Albasheti took up her position at ASU, she made research culture the dominant culture at our institution,” says Mohammad Al-Najjar, ASU’s dean of scientific research and graduate studies. “Previously, some faculty faced problems publishing their work so one of the first things we did was increase the support for these scholars, helping them translate their research where necessary and find suitable journals to publish in. This has created a healthy competitive environment where academics are pushing to get their research published.”

“Before, research was based on individual impetus,” Albasheti says. “We generalised success by disseminating outcomes to wherever it was needed more. We have also directed remuneration to increase the international impact of the university. Our researchers now collaborate more frequently with their international peers.”

Ensuring that approach remains a key focus of the research at ASU is not always easy but the university aims to educate its academics so they are aware of the important role their research can play. As such, it’s important to remember that research can deliver results beyond a particular project. High-quality research may not only help improve a university’s ranking, but it can also inspire fellow academics, creating a positive feedback loop.

“We have research priorities that we share with our academics, with any faculty member serving those priorities receiving funding from ASU,” Al-Najjar says. One such example of research progress concerns the creation of the medication management review. “This is a service that looks at a patient’s entire history, reviewing their medication, symptoms and any related documentation,” Albasheti says. “This will provide a whole new service for pharmacists in the country, decreasing unemployment in the sector, improving patient lives and reducing hospital numbers.”

Looking to the future, ASU will continue to align research and impact, sharing its unique culture with other institutions, both in the Arabian Gulf and further afield. “I recently attended the QS MAPLE 2022 higher education summit where I shared my idea of creating a research group focusing on education post-Covid-19,” Albasheti says. “As a result, our culture of research at ASU will spread across the world, leading to more research publications for the university and improving outcomes for students and academics affected by the pandemic.”

Find out more about ASU.

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