About the project

The project will constitute an integral part of the activities of the research group on the Caucasus and Central Asia at the University of Birmingham, which was formed in July 2008.

Project title: Innovative Teaching and Research through Academic Partnership

This group unites over twenty academics and PhD students from the Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES) and other departments across the University of Birmingham. CREES has a strong record of supervising PhD students devoted to the region. Its members have been involved in teaching of new MSc modules on Central Asia: History, Society and Contemporary Politics and Caucasus: History, Culture and Contemporary Politics. CREES has a strong record of supervising PhD students devoted to the region.

Project Objectives

  • Exchange of  Academic and Teaching Literature;
  • Development of a new MSc Programme in Economics of post-Communist Societies and MA and Undergraduate modules at the Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU).
  • Development of a new MA Programme on Central Asia and the Caucasus at the University of Birmingham.
  • Exchange of Lecturers, Researchers, PG and UG students.
  • Organisation of 2 Workshops (1 on Teaching Methodology and 2 on Areas of Joint Research in Education, Economics, Culture and Society, Ethnic Relations, Religious and Language Policies).
  • Joint Publications, Based on the Project’s Findings.
  • Engagement with Policy-Makers and Other Non-Academic Users.
  • Development of Collaborative Links with Other Universities with Expertise in the proposed field.

The project will draw on existing productive collaboration between the team leaders and between the two Universities. In particular, the UoB is a participant in the International scholarship programme "Bolashak", which was established by President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan in 1993. At present the UoB hosts over 40 Kazakh students within this programme. The proposed project will ensure an academic and student exchange between the two Universities. It will facilitate the teaching of the Kazakh language at the University of Birmingham, as well as the training of Kazakh and English languages instructors form both countries. 

The project therefore will enhance the language-based area studies in the UK. It will benefit from the membership of CREES in the Centre for East European Language-Based Area Studies (CEELBAS) consortium. It is significant that in the recent Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) proposals for language-based area studies the Caucasus and Central Asia were identified as regions where UK expertise is weak.

The Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU), which was founded in 2001, envisages this project as an opportunity to further adjust its scientific and academic activities to the current trends in the Western and specifically British institutions of higher education. At present the KBTU offers a BSc programme in Economics at the International School of Economics, jointly organised with the London School of Economics (LSE), UK. 10 post graduate students of the KBTU study on the MA and PhD programmes at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, UK. The proposed project aims at developing a new MSc programme in Economics at the KBTU.   

This project is designed as a programme and consists of a number of sub-projects which aim at the:

  • Development of MSc programme on Economics in post-Communist Societies and MA modules on Development and Emerging Inequalities in post-Soviet Eurasia and on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Religion in post-Communist World at the KBTU.
  • Development of MA programme on the Caucasus and Central Asia at the University of Birmingham;
  • Exchange of academics and students between the two Universities.
  • Creation of innovative teaching and research methodology at both Universities.
  • Joint research in education, economics society, politics and culture (state- and nation-building, ethnicity, religion) of Kazakhstan.
  • Teaching of the Kazakh language as part of the new MA programme on the Caucasus and Central Asia at the University of Birmingham.
  • Training of Kazakh and English language instructors from both Universities.
  • Development of multi-faceted collaborative links between British academics working on Central Asia and their Kazakh counterparts.
  • Engagement with policy-makers and other non-academic users.

The project will enhance the language-based area studies in the UK. It will benefit from the membership of the Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies of the University of Birmingham in the Centre for East European Language-Based Area Studies (CEELBAS) consortium, UK.

The project will create a forum for discussion between academics and practitioners working on Kazakhstan and wider Central Asia, through organisation of further national and international seminars and workshop series devoted to the region. It will provide high quality scholarly expertise to HMG and the FCO. It will enhance the international profile of UK research on the region and will contribute to a better understanding of the region by the British public through the media.

Its results will be reported in the form of four, or five articles in refereed journals, relevant presentations at a number of international and national conferences, analytic reports for relevant NGOs, media presentations and public lectures to various cultural and political institutions and regular briefings of policy-makers and other non-academic user-groups.