Research is an integral part of the University contributing greatly to innovations, new knowledge, visibility and brand recognition. Great universities are known for their research output. At the University of Nairobi, research output is one of the key parameters towards promotion of academic staff members. We should beyond promotions; more research is likely to lead to higher ranking of School of Business and the University in General.
Subject to the School Board approval, we hereby present the draft on the modalities of setting up the School of Business Research Center (BRC).
Objectives of BRC at School Level
- Serve as a focal point for academic research. Graduate and undergraduate students will serve as volunteers; they will act as research assistants to academic staff in their chosen fields of research.The center will serve as a clearing house for business research ideas from students, faculty and other stakeholders.
- Serve as a center for collaborative research among faculty and non faculty staff both in Kenya and outside the country. Faculty say in a Japanese University interested in collaborating with Kenyans would work through this center. This center would be handy because of the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge.
- Serve as the link in corporate research: Kenyan and non Kenyan firms would work on collaborative research in marketing, insurance, strategy, finance, operations etc. We suggest this could be a source of income for university/business school. Faculty and students would work on real life problems affecting business in Kenya and beyond. This would be two way; BRC can solicit for work from corporations or bid for consultancies, researches. Through marketing, the corporations can come to us. This center would play a big role in the emerging oil sector and a entry point for multinational corporations looking for foothold in East African Region
- The center would serve as a link with incubators both within UoN and outside to commercialize any research that has potential to succeed. Appropriate intellectual property agreements would be signed with collaborators in any research; university already has that framework
- Incentivize research
Human being reacts to incentives. In this regard, we should give incentives to great researchers. The only current incentive is promotion through research and the financial gains that goes with that.We suggest the following incentives
- DEAN’S Distinguished research Award. It will be based on publications in journals. To enhance quality of publications, SoB should classify journals into three or four tiers depending on their reputation and global ranking. If we get 4 tiers, then ranking for the award should be weighted with tier I getting 50 %, tier II 25 % and tier III and IV each getting 12.5 %. The award can go with a modest financial reward, say 100k for top, 75k for runners up and 50k for second runners up. This award will ensure that even full professors remain in the game. An independent school committee will do the ranking of journals in different tiers using preset criteria.
- We could also give a token for any paper published in Tier I and II to incentivize high quality publication.
- Publish a Research Journal
Nairobi Journal of Management will be the official journal through which BRC output will be published. Departments are free to publish their own journals
All the conferences in the school should be organized through the center to pool resources and reduce the costs. This will ensure continuity even when there are no conferences.
National /Regional Level Objectives
- Tracking county and national business conditions
- Providing high-quality county and national business climate forecasts
- Conducting research for clients at both regional/county/ national/ international levels
- Maintaining a data base of business variables and a number of models that can be used to assess business impacts, forecast the consequences of long-term trends and evaluate changes in policy
- Serving as a resource for television, radio, and print media on business issues
- Publishing and disseminating monthly, quarterly, and annual reports that are data driven
- Link to high schools
- The BRC will provides and interprets the business information needed by the business, government and non-profit organizations, as well as users of such information throughout the nation and beyond
Board of directors should be sources from alumni, private, public and NF sectors. We suggest maximum 9 representatives. That should include, dean, chairmen of dept. and the rest outsiders.
The administrator and analyst and liaison officer will be recruited competitively. Associates will be non-university researchers. Students will volunteers but if there are large projects can be paid.
The VC in consultation with the deanSOB will appoint the Director.
Office space for the key officials, and working space for volunteers and associates. Computers and other peripherals. We suggest at three offices and working space for volunteers/associates.
Donations to the center both financial or in kind e.g. Facilities, paying for subscription to reputable journals, paying for research assistants, sponsoring conferences, workshops etc. are welcome. Seed money from University will start the center, but the center is expected to be self-sustaining within three years.