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FNC wants greater emphasis on research at UAE universities

UAE universities

FNC members will call for a bigger budget for research and a reduction in teaching time for university professors.

A report prepared by the council’s education committee found that in 2012, the UAE set aside only 0.2 per cent of its economy for research.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research allocated 0.15 per cent to research that year, the report showed.

The committee said that as a result, federal universities showed a lack of interest in supporting research. UAE and Zayed universities spent no more than 1 per cent of their budgets on it.

It found that a 5 per cent reduction in the ministry’s budget had a knock-on effect that lowered the National Authority for Scientific Research’s budget from Dh4 million in 2008 to Dh2.9m in 2012.

FNC members have called for the research authority to be independent from the Ministry of Higher Education, and for a fund for academic research to be set up, through which private companies and organisations could also contribute.

It also requested every ministry dedicate 5 per cent of their budgets to the authority to pay experts and advisers.

Members said university professors needed to spend less time teaching and more time researching. It suggested each professor teach only two courses a semester.

FNC members said the problem of research funding dated back several years.

The research authority requested Dh100m in 2008 for research but it was not granted, despite detailed budgets for projects.

A ministry spokesman responded that providing such funds came under the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance.

The report will be discussed at a meeting of the council later this year. (The National)

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