One of the major output of the Protestant Institutive of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) is “to foster research that prove meaningful and useful for the society through participation in discovery, creation, transmission, preservation and enhancement of knowledge and stimulating the intellectual participation of students and staff in social, economic, cultural and scientific development”. In order to achieve aforementioned research mandate, PIASS through its Research Policy will enable staff and students to make full use of its resources to create a “research culture” consistent with National development.
Rationale for PIASS Research Policy
PIASS defines research as one of its core business and an essential part of its mission. Hence PIASS must make an effort to encourage staff and students to create knowledge through research and to critically appraise, preserve and transmit the knowledge and values that promote transformational change of present and future generations. PIASS must therefore put in place a vibrant research policy to guide its community members to fully participate in the research venture. Accordingly, the need for a lively PIASS Research Policy arises from weaknesses of many Higher Leaning Institutions (HLIs) in the region with respect to Research and Innovative Thinking: a certain tendency to compile data, repeat statements, resort to plagiarism and produce papers rather than develop innovative and genuine research that proves useful and relevant to societies. Beside that the scarce financial resources for conducting research makes it difficult for many staff members to participate in research. This generate a necessity of putting in place mechanisms that allow equitable access to such resources and a research policy that would guide staff not only to be able to compete favorably for funds but also to publish meaningful research papers.
Purpose of research policy
The present policy provides key guiding principles to PIASS in the field of Research. The policy attempts to establish a research standards and culture by ensuring a significant annual allocation of funds to PIASS research budget, motivating researchers at PIASS to do an innovative research and to seek additional external funding, making efforts to attract substantial external funds from donors to PIASS and providing an enabling environment for joint research with both national and international HLIs as well as other agencies having research or innovation within their responsibility.
Objectives of Research at PIASS are consistent with the PIASS’ Vision and Mission. These include:
Creating, deepening and transferring knowledge that is relevant and useful for Rwandan society.
Addressing today’s and tomorrow’ challenges, and moving towards a society characterised by pluralism, globalisation and modernity.
Emphasising on ethical dimension of knowledge production transfer and use in terms of responsibility, equity and justice, solidarity and sustainability.
Aforementioned objectives should be achieved through the following strategies:
structural and organizational framework
human capacity building and training in research
establishing financial mechanism
Dissemination of information and knowledge transfer: organizing workshops/seminars and conferences, publication...
Application of PIASS Research Policy
The Policy applies to all members of staff and undergraduate students who are involved in research on or off the branches/campuses of PIASS. In addition, any person not affiliated with PIASS who wish to conduct research with PIASS students and/or staffs is bound by the same Research policy. Each member of PIASS community is responsible for the implementation of this Policy in relation to academic work with which she or he is associated and to avoid any activity which might be considered to be in violation of this Policy.
For the purpose of this document, Research is seen primarily as an in depth analysis of facts, factors and drivers, with a focus on experiences, practices as well as strategies and operational tools that can support change management beyond prejudices and conventional wisdom. Hence, critical and innovative thinking is expected to help Rwandese society to understand and take the size of the challenges, to address them without resorting to ineffective solution as well as to avail of approaches and tools enabling them to manage necessary changes. Knowledge is expected to provide orientation towards constructive ideas for improvements. Orientation on solution and results is a marker of such a research.