Scientific Research Strategic Plan

Infographic SR Fields of Action

Preamble

Al-Quds University (AQU) is a pioneering educational and research institution, it now embraces 13,000 male and female students and includes fifteen academic colleges. AQU offers more than forty programs lead to a master’s degree and five PhD programs in Public Health, Information Technology, Education, Law, and Islamic Studies. The university is eminent in Palestine for its prominent role in producing and disseminating knowledge. By 2020, researchers at AQU managed to publish more than 1650 papers in different fields of natural and social sciences in and registered seven patents in the field of cancer detection and neuroscience according to the international database, Scopus. This led Al-Quds University to enter the top 1200 universities worldwide, 51-60 category at the Arab region and ranked first in the Research Impact Index (QS University ranking index: citations/paper) at a national level according to QS University Ranking system for year 2021. According to 2021 Scimago Institutions Rankings, AQU was ranked first nationally in the innovation category, first in pharmaceutical research and second in biomedical research. AQU research is contributing to the global knowledge and to solutions for local challenges faced by Palestinians. More than 65% of AQU research production is published in Q1 and Q2 journals indexed in Scopus database.

 

AQU has 489 Full-time Faculty, 130 of them are considered active researchers. Thirty-five of the 130 are women researchers who contribute to more than 45% of AQU scientific production according to data extracted from Scopus in years 202-2021. Students also became recently involved in research and contributed in 2020 by 15% of AQU scientific production. This was the result of the university vision in

creating a motivating environment for research among undergraduate students by restructuring research based learning courses and building students bodies that care for research, Student Research Clubs.

Research areas at Al-Quds university can be explored by learning about AQU research clusters here: https://research.alquds.edu/en/aqu-researchers-profiles-research-groups-network-2.html And our research infrastructure can be explored by learning about our research labs and centers here:  https://research.alquds.edu/en/research-labs-centers.html

Deanship of Scientific Research at Al-Quds University in coordination with Scientific Research Council and its specialized committees offers all support to AQU researchers. You can explore theses services here: https://research.alquds.edu/en/

Research at AQU follows the “Declaration of Helsinki” statement of ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects, including research on identifiable human material and data. This is checked by Al-Quds University Committee for Research Ethics.

 

This Thematic Action Plan draws the road map for AQU strategies, activities and policies needed to progress towards richer research experience that leads the university to a more key role in serving the local and global community.

 

Elham Kateeb, BDS MPH PhD
Scientific Research, Dean
Al-Quds University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Executive summary

In the past five years, AQU have steadily increased its production in research and innovation manifested in number of publications and patents registered in Scopus database. This enables AQU to achieve higher scores in university ranking nationally, regionally, and globally. However, the focus now needs to shist on the impact of this production by enhancing quality, international collaboration and opportunities of multidisciplinary research framed within the 2030 SDGs. An important strategy to support this shift is increasing the investment in the human capacity. Retaining current active researchers by ensuring that fair, flexible, and rewarding incentive systems are in place and committing to strategic academic appointments, at all career levels with special attention to research background of the new appointees are two strategies that enable AQU to strengthen its human capacity in research.

Expanding the Research Affiliate Program and Student Researchers Alumni Support could be an adjunct strategy to support building research networks and capacity. Launching internal funding calls that requires multidisciplinary approach to a wicked problem facing the Palestinian society and framed within the 17 SDGs can align the research focus at AQU with the global agenda and the local needs. Opening the door for more research visits abroad in particular research and establishing new graduate programs that involve co-supervision with international universities is also another strategy that can accelerate the process of enhancing our research production. In summary, AQU needs now to produce quality knowledge now that can use it for progressing innovation in the near future.

Fields of Action for the years 2021-2025

1. Strengthening research capacity at individual, organizational, and institutional levels.

Individual level:

  1. Provide training opportunities for AQU researchers on proper research conduct regarding design, analysis, ethics, writing and presenting:
  2. Increase the visibility of AQU researchers to facilitate identifying AQU researchers’ areas of expertise, as well as, finding internal experts and collaborators.
  3. Support interdisciplinary collaboration among AQU researchers, at national levels and international levels:

 

Organizational level: Ensure that the environment at AQU supports research conduct of the utmost standard:

  1. Create a database of successfully funded proposals that acts as a reference to successful applications and provides samples for future proposals.:
  2. Build research infrastructure in human and space across different disciplines:
  3. Ensure that teaching and research missions at AQU are effectively aligned through restructuring research teaching training courses and developing new research-based learning courses across all disciplines:
  4. Provide needed resourcing for sound effective management of research:
  5. Develop high quality access to data, information sources, and previous research, both paper and electronic, across all disciplines
  6. Recognize and support faculty research and scholarship by implementing processes to ensure that research and scholarship activities are appropriately weighed and rewarded

Institutional level:

  1. Increase revenue from grants and contracts by analyzing the administrative costs of sponsored programs and designate 3% of recovery revenue to reinvest in research-funding portfolio.
  2. Commit to strategic academic appointments, at all career levels with special attention to research background of the new appointees.
  3. Ensure mechanisms are in place to support the effective dissemination of research expertise and to maximize impact through engagement with Open Access and Open Science:
    1. Encourage researchers to publish in Indexed Open Access
    2. Cover the publication fees for publishing in Q1 and Q2 Open access
    3. Modify the promotion regulations to include more quality open accessing publishing
  4. Ensure that appropriate, well-defined, and intelligent metrics are employed to assess institutional performance in areas of research excellence and impact. Currently, we use Scopus database and QS ranking as benchmarks to measure our progress
  5. Ensure fair, flexible, and rewarding incentive systems are adopted by AQU to motivate researchers to apply for external and internal funding.
  6. Ensure career progression pathways for all research-active staff, with sufficient contract durations, which attract and retain high performing researchers.
2. Supporting the next generation of AQU research leaders.
  1. Promote student research as follows:
  2. Curricular: restructuring of ‘Research Methods’ course by including a research Capstone requirement for graduation.
  3. Curricular: development of research-based learning in all disciplines
  4. Curricular: supporting undergraduate research and publishing of manuscripts at the Bachelor level and promoting publishing as means to graduation with honors.
  5. Extracurricular: supporting the newly established Student Research Clubs to promote a research environment among students.
  6. Ensure AQU is perceived as a location to attract and retain the most talented researchers at all career stages from early career PhD students to national and international leading researchers.
  7. Provide encouragement and incentives for AQU researchers to spend a period abroad in international research centers of excellence through exchange or training programs.
  8. Improve the international profile of AQU as a center of excellence for researcher training through establishing high quality doctoral education programs.
  9. Leverage the scale and diversity of research activity by:
  10. Expose AQU researchers to multidisciplinary collaboration inside and outside the institution.
  11. Collaborate with industry in formulating new research questions and hypotheses.
  12. Develop new research designed to significantly and measurably advance fields of study.
  13. Support the professional development of research support and administration staff through providing training and career development opportunities.

3. Innovating in research to deliver economic, societal, cultural, educational, and entrepreneurial impact.
  1. Lead national efforts to build a discovery copyright and patent system to deliver excellence in knowledge transfer for AQU.
  2. Create incentives and sustain support to facilitate AQU staff engagement with dissemination and commercialization of research innovations to maximize their potential impact to the economy, culture, and society for the public good.
  3. Drive a culture of innovation throughout the University, defining relevant support initiatives, and ensuring coherence between all elements of innovation across the University. Which includes knowledge transfer and commercialization, education, entrepreneurship (economic and cultural), creative practice, community engagement, and consultancy.
  4. Partner, at all levels, with other Palestinian universities, government, and private sector to deliver excellence in research, commercialization, entrepreneurship, creative practice, community engagement, and knowledge transfer.
  5. Partner, at all levels, with international institutions to deliver excellence in research, commercialization, entrepreneurship, creative practice, community engagement and knowledge transfer.
  6. Increase capacity for start-up company formation and job creation by 1) embedding entrepreneurship as an integral part of undergraduate and postgraduate education and 2) increasing the level of engagement between university and industry to foster a better understanding of capabilities and co-creation opportunities.
  7. Develop incentives and support initiatives that enable our research community to proactively engage with government, professional organizations, and community engagement initiatives to deliver social, cultural, and policy-relevant impact.
  8. Develop AQU national and international network of industry stakeholders, professionals, business mentors, entrepreneurs, and advisors (particularly from our network) to add quality of advice and support available to AQU entrepreneurs.
  9. Improve AQU’s position as a provider of consultancy services based on research excellence in key areas.

Strategic research priorities

AQU Research Areas

Health and biomedical engineering

  1. Health workforce and Access to health care
  2. Patient safety and quality of health
  3. Molecular and pharmaceutical epidemiology
  4. Genetic engineering
  5. Biotechnological systems using biophysical techniques
  6. Genetics of cancer diagnosis and treatment
  7. Nutrition applications in public health
  8. Systemic diseases and oral health
  9. Diabetes epidemiology and complications management
  10. Mental health
  11. Laser and IR spectroscopy
  12. Molecular diagnosis of infectious disease
  13. Neurosciences and human behavior

Research Area Priorities in Jerusalem

Al-Quds University encourages researchers to plan and implement research projects in issues related to Jerusalem governorate, especially the area inside the Separating Wall.

The following list summarizes the research priorities in Jerusalem area, and it was based on a preliminary draft of the work of Jerusalem’s Sectors Development Strategic Plan. Health:

  1. Access to health care in Jerusalem
  2. Health care human resources development
  3. Quality of Health care in Jerusalem
  4. Financing Health care services in Jerusalem
  5. Mental Health
  6. Diabetes epidemiology and control
  7. Cancer epidemiology and treatment
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