The Financial Express

Barriers to development of research

| Updated: October 24, 2017 20:28:35

Barriers to development of research
Research is a part and parcel of economic and technological development of a country in order to ensure better living standard for the people and sustainable development. Developing countries like Bangladesh lag behind in research due mainly to financial constraints, followed by lack of appropriate policy and political will. 
There is not enough research budget for researchers in government agencies, universities and private enterprises. Therefore, no one is in a position to conduct planned research; hence, attempts are made to collect fund from international organisations and donor governments. 
Ministry of Science and Technology provides small funds for research in Bangladesh but it is not open to all. Unfortunately, there is no research budget for undergraduate and postgraduate students. 
In the industrialised and developed countries, researchers get enough funds from both national and local governments as well as companies. Universities also provide their own research funds for teachers and students. So, they can plan and conduct their research projects without being snagged by dearth of funds.  
The next important barrier for research in Bangladesh is lack of well-equipped lab facilities. Engineering universities have some lab facilities but not enough compared to the need, and very limited number of students can study in such universities. The large majority of the students study in general universities but their lab facility is very poor. 
The Right to Information Act, 2009 allows people free and easy access to sources to collect required information and data from different agencies, including those in the public sector. But in practice, it has been found that accessing data and information of any organisation, institution, industry and company is almost impossible. As a result, researchers while working on a research project often have to rely on second-hand data which, for obvious reasons, are less reliable. 
A similar situation prevails in the medical institutions. Except some reported lab-based research works at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), most medical colleges in the country do not have the culture of conducting research. It is pity that had there been some research-based works in the medical colleges, our health care system would have been far improved than it is now. Experts and observers are of the opinion that getting funds for medical research is relatively much easy than in other fields from donor agencies. Donors also find it satisfying to give support to such research activities.
It is thus not wholly true that despite government's fund constraints, research works cannot progress. A good deal of research activities currently being undertaken in the agricultural sector are being financed by foreign aid. All that is required is the right focus so that with or without government funding the culture of research is on. 
The government should pay more attention to promotion  of research in order that it becomes integral to the functioning of educational, manufacturing and health care-related organisations.
 The writer is a student at IESD, Tongji University, Shanghai, China.

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