Impact of funded research projects on university quality :a system dynamics approach
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Whereas there are diverse university funding sources including: funding/research grants from government, research contracts from private sector and research councils, tuition fees from students, and internally generated funds through short courses and consultancies, it is widely acknowledged that universities worldwide are facing growing difficulties in financing their activities. It is further claimed that in the times of financial constraints in universities, teaching is favourably emphasised, rendering research and development deficient. This paper explores the impact of funded research projects on perceived quality of university using systems thinking and system dynamics simulation modelling. A conceptual system dynamics model based on current literature and supported by research practice in the Ugandan universities is used to demonstrate the effects of research funding on: new research resources, staff development, quality of graduate outcomes, and demand for graduate training. The authors envisage that the model developed may provide the basis of testing various acknowledged theories on the problem of funding university research projects.