Cameron visit yields Kazakh deal on researchers

A deal to bring together early-career researchers from the UK and Kazakhstan to explore potential joint projects has been struck as part of the prime minister’s visit to the central Asian state.

July 2, 2013

David Cameron has been on a trade mission to the autocratic country, and was accompanied by Martin Davidson, the chief executive of the British Council.

The council’s Researcher Links Programme will bring together 60 early-career scholars each year to share experience.

In a deal worth £750,000 the British Council will also train 250 teachers and educational managers, including Kazakh university staff, at a number of institutions.

Simon Williams, the council’s director in Kazakhstan, said the country “has set out an ambitious and extremely well-funded education development programme from 2011 to 2020”.

“This includes explicit targets for the increased internationalisation of the education system, which can only be achieved through international partnership and collaboration,” he said in a statement.

UK universities have built a few links with Kazakhstan, but not without controversy. In April 2012, Churchill College, Cambridge, withdrew a proposed scholarship named after the Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, partly because it was nervous of being associated with the ruler, who has led Kazakhstan since 1991.

University College London is a partner of Nazarbayev University (itself named after the president), based in the capital Astana, and helps run foundation programmes.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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