Research capacity development is one of the most critical challenges facing higher education institutions, including the University of Botswana (UB). Growing the number and quality of our researchers is a strategic issue for us if we are to achieve our vision of becoming a research intensive university by 2021. For many academics, most of their “office hours” is spent on teaching and teaching-related activities such as preparation for lectures, marking, administration and consultation with students. This leads to very little time being available for research; yet research is an important element of a successful academic career and certainly one that receives intense evaluation during hiring, performance assessments and for promotions. Therefore, developing research capacity can potentially help to enhance a greater sense of academic fulfilment as well as advancement in the academic’s career.
The research capacity development programme at UB is primarily targeted at early career researchers and graduate students; although any academic at any stage is welcomed to attend. The programme involves a series of workshop with internal and external facilitators on a range of topics that may assist the researcher with either the attainment of their graduate degree, to begin their career as an independent researcher or to increase research output and externally funded grants. Regardless of the reason, career planning, mentorships, funding and skills development are core elements of the programme.