UGC spending on research negligible

Kathmandu, January 7

University Grants Commission report for the academic year 2015-16 shows that it spent only 0.065 per cent of budget allocated to it by the government on Quality Improvement Programme, and Research Development and Innovation projects.

As per the report, UGC spent only

Rs 50 million of its total budget of Rs 8.47 billion on the programmes. Only 23 people were awarded PHD fellowships and research support funds. Similarly, 42 out of 120 MPhil students and 99 master’s students out of 14,630 graduates were awarded grants.

Similarly, only 50 faculties received research funds in the last academic year. Twelve faculties  from health sciences, three from engineering, one from agriculture and forestry, seven from humanities, six from education and two from management received grants ranging from Rs 75,000 to Rs 150,000.

According to a report by Research Director of UGC Deepak Kumar Khadka even the number of students applying for the fund has declined. Only 38 students applied for PhD fellowship, 79 for MPhil fellowship, 23 for MPhil thesis and 149 applied for master’s thesis.

Educationist Bidhya Nath Koirala said research money should be provided to colleges to promote research-based education. “Until and unless funds are not made easily available to colleges, they will not be properly utilised. This will eventually further degrade the quality of our education system,” said Koirala. Khadka, on the other hand, said lack of budget was the only reason for such low investment in research. Khadka said UGC had to spend more than 95 per cent of its budget on salaries and construction of infrastructure at Tribhuvan University, its constituent colleges and community colleges.

Khadka also said that UGC was planning to request the government to increase its budget by up to 3 per cent for the upcoming academic year. He said it was seeking up to 15 per cent budget increase over the next 15 years.

UGC is also planning to provide funds for Faculty Research and Research Infrastructures under different title from the next academic year. The funds will be provided under major grant, small grant, start-up grant for new PhD faculty and Emeritus Professor Research Grant under Faculty Research categories.  Similarly, funds for research infrastructure shall be provided for research laboratory, research library, repository, anti-plagiarism system, university research, among other things.