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Regular version of the site

University research capacity in Post-Soviet Countries

Project outline:

The project examines the ways in which national policies and practices related to university-based research have evolved from the common starting point in former Soviet countries over the course of the last three decades. Of all domains constituting higher education, research is the most internationalised one, and research capacity is often seen as one of the central factors that affect university’s reputation among students and academics, as well as among the wider public locally, nationally, regionally, and globally. It also largely determines university’s standing in global rankings. At present, the only institutions of higher education from post-Soviet Eurasia that appear in the top positions in global rankings are Russian universities. 

This project starts by mapping out institutional policies and practices pertaining to research and the environment that supports research, and the ways in which these are linked to research governance and funding models at universities in post-Soviet countries. We examine how HEIs balance their education, research, and public engagement missions; how and in what ways this balance has been determined by national and institutional policies; how political realities have driven policies pertaining to research in each country and how these policies have constrained/supported research capacity development at universities; how research capacity has been framed at national and institutional levels; how and in what ways internationalization of higher education has contributed to the research capacity at universities; and finally, how the conditions of coloniality (Soviet and Western) shaped the hierarchies of knowledge/geopolitics of knowledge production and research capacity development trajectories at HEIs. The ultimate question the project addresses is to what extent have universities in former Soviet countries internalised their research mission and developed the capacity to carry out this mission in a sustainable way.

Intended outputs of the project:

  • Edited volume of country cases
  • Articles in peer-review journals using cross-country analysis


Isak Froumin

Head of the HSE Institute of Education

Maia Chankseliani

Associate Professor, University of Oxford

Project manager



Dr Sona Balasanyan

Yerevan State University, CRRC


Abbas Abbasov

Columbia University

Arzu Jafarli

United Nations Development Programme


Dr Triin Roosalu

Tallinn University


Dr Shalva Tabatadze

East European University


Olga Mun

University of Oxford

Gulzhanat Gafu

JSC Centre for International Programs



Dr Duishonkul Shamatov

Nazarbaev University

Dr Rouslan Jalil

International Ala-Too University in Bishkek


Liene Ozoliņa

London School of Economics


Prof. Rimantas Zelvys

Vilnius University


Dr Anne Campbell

Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Cristina Gherasimov


Igor Fedyukin

Associate Professor

Клягин Александр Владимирович

Leading Expert


Emma Sabzalieva

University of Toronto


Mokhidil Mamasolieva

University of Leeds

Dr Kobil Ruziev

University of the West of England, Bristol, England


Nadiia Kachynska

University of Toronto


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