The University of Strathclyde Business School UAE has launched a new series of academic talks, UAE Research Evenings at Strathclyde, to support and promote knowledge exchange between academic and business communities in the UAE and contribute to the development of the UAE's knowledge economy.
The inaugural event took place on November 2 at HCT Dubai Men's College and featured Dr James C Ryan, Associate Professor of Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour in the College of Business and Economics at the United Arab Emirates University, who presented a paper on the challenges of business and social research in the UAE.
Hosted by Dr Katerina Nicolopoulou, Senior Lecturer, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and resident academic at Strathclyde Business School UAE, the event was attended by an invited audience of academics, practitioners and students, and public sector representatives with an interest in evidence-based research that has implications for informed practice.
Dr Nicolopoulou opened the evening with her vision for the series as a platform for showcasing thought leadership through the dissemination of research which has relevance for the UAE. "The focus of UAE Research Evenings at Strathclyde is on what is unique in the UAE that can be showcased for its potential to inform policy, practice, and theoretical development, both locally and internationally."
Commenting on the UAE mandate to increase pathways to a knowledge-based economy, Dr Nicolopoulou noted that the higher education sector is developing increasing responses to requirements for innovation and the local production and exchange of knowledge. With that in mind, she said, the series also aims to promote knowledge exchange and foster new connections and networks between the academic and business communities in the UAE.
Dr Nicolopoulou then invited eminent UAE academic, Dr James Ryan, to give the inaugural guest lecture of the series.
Dr Ryan began by setting out the current research landscape of the region. Sharing data that showed the Middle East to be contributing proportionally less to new knowledge generation than other parts of the world, he also noted that the UAE has introduced policies to correct this imbalance and promote a more robust national research agenda. Highlighting the vital importance of research to the social and economic development of the UAE, Dr Ryan said that significant challenges still remain in the promotion and production of high quality research in the social sciences, including business. Drawing on his own extensive experience of conducting research in the UAE, he illustrated the challenges of new knowledge creation with critical incidents and observations from his own research. His discussion focused on identifiable barriers to high quality research at both the micro and macro levels, within and outwith the UAE, and provided a series of specific recommendations on how such barriers could be overcome.
Speaking after the presentation Dr Nicolopoulou said, "I am absolutely delighted that Dr Ryan was our inaugural guest speaker. His presentation was bold and insightful and generated much lively audience discussion. Moreover, it has successfully set the tone for the series by focusing on the research process and challenges, as well as the opportunities of conducting research in the UAE."
Dr Ryan commented, "It was a privilege to open this research seminar series. Activities such as this are an excellent forum for critical discourse on the intellectual landscape of the UAE and I am sure it will foster fruitful collaborative activities between higher education institutions here."
Strathclyde Business School UAE aims to host three research evenings per year with plans to grow the initiative by introducing peer-directed learning circles in emerging topics of interest within the field of management science in order to contribute to the conversation in research areas that matter to the UAE.