RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

Research Department of the Institute of Public Affairs coordinates the research activities carried out at the University. The structural units of the department are: PhD programme in Social Sciences, English language electronic peer-reviewed journal – Politics and Democratization and Policy Evaluation Center. Department together with the cooperation with schools aims to facilitate and support the doctoral studies, to develop and improve of the research capacity of the faculty members as well to promote the participation of the students into research activities.

The Research Department of GIPA coordinates ongoing basic and applied research activities at the Institute. The Department provides support for preparing highly qualified scientific personnel in social sciences and related interdisciplinary fields, ensures engagement of students, academic personnel, school representatives and other interested individuals in research by supporting them in basic or applied research, creative and consulting activities. The Research Department, independently and in cooperation with schools, aims at strengthening   research capacity within the University, fostering international cooperation in research. The main priorities of the Department are as follows: to encourage research activities within the University by providing Internal University Grant Funding Programme for Small Studies through which the school representatives, based on the competition, are able to  submit scientific research projects and receive financial support for conducting research; financing travel grants, encouraging students and academic personnel to participate in scientific events, seminars and conferences; based on necessity, to cover expenses related to publication issues, mainly, to allocate funds  for organizing scientific events, seminars and conferences and to support membership of more professional associations in the future. According to the request of the Research Department of  GIPA, the budget allocated for the purpose of promoting the internationalization of scientific researches/scientific activities and improving the performance of faculty members in research in the budget of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA), is expected to increase significantly over the next few years, that once again confirms the fact that enhancement of research productivity is the priority of the future 7-year strategy of the University. In the Strategic Development Plan for the next 7 years the support for basic and applied research is considered as the main priority of the University. Support for publication in peer-reviewed journals, participation for the international scientific projects and conferences as well in capacity building and consulting projects is identified as the means for promoting GIPA’s research capacity.

Georgian Institute of Public Affairs manages support to research, development and creative activities through the following systems:

  • Internal University Grant Funding Programme for Small Studies under the Research Department of the University, within the framework of which the representatives of the University Schools are able to submit scientific research projects twice a year and based on the competition, request funding for the implementation of the research. The submitted projects are reviewed by the Scientific Council of the Department. For each submitted project, the amount requested from the Research Department of the University is 3,000.00-5,000.00 GEL. In exceptional cases, it is possible to increase the budget, taking into consideration the scope and significance of the project. The Council also reviews the projects submitted for co-financing. The project focus should correspond the basic academic and scientific directions of the University and one of the criteria to receive the grant is student participation and involvement, particularly PhD, as well as MA and BA students. Currently, 9 research projects were funded. The total budget for the first half of 2018 is 16725 GEL
  • Encouragement of the activities of the Policy Evaluation Center under the Research Department of the University - The function of the Center is to facilitate strengthening of applied research component in the direction of public policy, to prepare policy papers for the interested individuals and institutions, as well as to provide relevant recommendations. Consequently, the goal of the Center is to promote evidence-based policy making in the country, which is the guarantee for further social and economic development. The topics of upcoming research include: Public Administration Reforms, Priority Assessment, Budgeting, Assessment of Ways of Reform Implementation, Performance Evaluation, as well as Governance and Management Issues. Thus, the Center actively cooperates with the public sector, examines their needs and therefore, plans to conduct policy research/evaluation. In February 2018, the first cycle of training was conducted. The participants were given the deadline and in 3 months they had to present policy papers in respect of the selected topics. Currently, academic staff, in line with the students of BA and MA programs are working on the policy papers. The interim results were discussed with policy experts at the workshop. The final results will be uploaded on GIPA website and delivered to the relevant public agencies. Preparing the policy papers is financed from the budget of the Research Department and the grant is obtained through competition. GIPA academic personnel, invited lecturers and students can participate in a research contest announced by the Policy Evaluation Center. Moreover, funding of projects, in which students participate along with GIPA academic staff, are supported, as well.
  • Promoting participation in international conferences, seminars and mock trials - The Research Department of the University is actively engaged in the process of internationalization and assists university academic personnel and students by travel grants. 18 academic personnel were financed based on the applications submitted for granting during the reporting period, including one PhD student for participation in the international conference. The University budget annually provides travel grant for the students of the School of Law and Politics to participate in mock trials (Law and Politics School of GIPA participates in mock trials since 2014 - Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, while since 2016 joined Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court). The following activities were carried out by the University:
  • Conference organized with the active cooperation with the Eastern Europe and Caucasus University and Friedrich Ebert Schiftung Fund: "Georgia's European Integration Perspectives"; 2017
  • International Conference - Effective Governance: Promoting democratic values ​​and practices through educational activities was conducted on February 23-24, 2017 with financial support from the US Embassy in Tbilisi; Organizers: Troy University, Alabama, USA (Professor Terry Andersonis), GIPA Research Department (Professor Nino Dolidze) (conference report and program is attached)
  • International Conference on Entrepreneurship and Education, Organized by Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) and Maastricht Management School (MSM) (Holland), June 30, 2017
  • Conference "Basic Conditions for Increasing Innovative Potential" organized together with Eastern Europe and Caucasus University - Festival of Science and Innovation 2017
  • Student Scientific Conference "Law and Supremacy of Law" organized with Eastern Europe and Caucasus University - Festival of Science and Innovation 2017
  • Ensuring university book fund, electronic catalogues, archives, programmes and other supporting systems required for research - With the view to support research activities, the University offers the library to its students and academic personnel, supported by EBSCO and J-STOR, Cambridge Journal Online, BioOne Complete, E-Duke Journals Scholarly Collection, Edward Elgar Publishing Journals and Development Studies e-books, IMechE Journals, New England Journal of Medicine, Openedition Journals, Royal Society Journals Collection, SAGE Premier electronic catalogue system as well as the book fund in place. In accordance with the recommendation of the Research Department, the media archive supplied by the IPM Company, was purchased for Journalism and Media Management School. At the same time, the specific amount is allocated for renewing the University book fund annually.
  • Supporting organizational expenditures for conferences, seminars and workshops - The University is actively involved in organizing international conferences where representatives from academic personnel as well as students from PhD and Master Programmes participate. The University supports international conferences aiming at fostering research activities as well as internationalization. Two international conferences are significant from the conferences held during the reporting period, the organization of which was supported by GIPA budget as well as by international donors – “Effective governance: promoting democratic values ​​and practices through educational activities, with the US Embassy financial support, that was organized by Troy University (Alabama, USA) and GIPA Research Department (February 23-24, 2017, Tbilisi); International Conference on Entrepreneurship and Education, organized by the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) together with Maastricht Management School (MSM) (Holland, June 30, 2017, Tbilisi).
  • Promoting membership in professional networks and associations - By the initiative of the Research Department, the Public Administration Research Organizations Network (PARON) was established in June, 2017, which includes the membership of the following organizations: International Transparency - Georgia; Georgian Young Lawyers' Association; Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI); Public Administration School of Caucasus University and Tbilisi State University Institute of Administrative Sciences. GIPA is a member of several important professional associations based on the specifications of the field. Among them the membership of professional networks of NASPAA and NISPAcee should be emphasized. GIPA is the member of the European Network of Training Organizations (ENTO) for Local and Regional Authorities aiming at promoting democratic and effective governance by ensuring that the staff and elected representatives of local and regional authorities are well trained and qualified to carry out their responsibilities in a rapidly changing world (ento.org) . GIPA is the only institution in the post-Soviet area, which is a member of the Cost Action Movement (Femicide across Europe) established in 2013 as well as is one of the 27 European researchers studying this issue at the scientific level. Since 2015 the University is the member of European Journalism Training Association – EJTA that integrates 76 universities of 32 Countries in Europe (http://www.ejta.eu/list-members). The University support is provided by covering the annual membership fees for association with these systems, which will be increased in the future and affect enhancing of scientific research productivity indicators by joining various professional associations. GIPA is the only university in Georgia who is accredited by the Georgian Bar Association and has the right to issue compulsory annual credits to the lawyers through providing trainings.

Internationalization of research

The fact that the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs is actively involved in the internationalization process of research / development / creative activities, what is proved by some international projects, that are focused on promoting and developing international research:

  • Particularly, within the framework of the grant partnership programmes funded by the U.S. Department of State with American Universities, governed by the Public Relations Department of the US Embassy, the School of Journalism and Media Management has established active cooperation with the University of South Carolina, The School of Government with George Mason University, School of Law and Politics with the University of Troy in Alabama. Within the framework of these partnerships, the academic staff's business visits were considered in order to enhance capacity development; an English-language electronic scientific journal was developed, and a collection of public administration researches was published. Two representatives of GIPA have defended their PhD dissertations (Keshelashvili, A.(2014). Innovation among Georgian Journalism Educators: A Network Analysis Perspective. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/2996; Mikashavidze, M.(2014). Social Movements, Media, and Democratization in Georgia. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/2854).
  • In partnership with GIPA, University of Georgia (USA) conducts an intensive programme of university research in public administration aimed at improving the research skills of Georgian researchers, MA and PhD students as well as at getting closer to Western Standards. The representatives of GIPA as well as other universities are participating in the programme. One-month intensive course includes lectures in research methods, development of research project, conducting research and preparation of publication. The project is led by leading professors of the University of Georgia. The goal is to conduct the research by participants and publish in an international peer reviewed journal. During the entire year, programme participants are able to consult with the professor of the University of Georgia regarding the research related issues.
  • The School of Law and Politics actively participated in the TEMPUS project "Migration and Higher Education - Building Skills and Capacity" (517002 - UNIMIG); currently, continues cooperation on the Erasmus + Project "Promoting Migration Studies in Higher Education" (573554 - PROMIG) to strengthen research component.
  • Since 2015, the research project on Current Issues of Phycology based on the Theory of Attitude was conducted in the School of Social Sciences, within which the participants have prepared reports for the third and seventh Eurasian Multidisciplinary Forum; the project considers promoting the scientific work of the students by their active involvement.
  • In the framework of the School of Government, a research was conducted on Supporting Public Administration Reform within the Government Reform Fund Project in Georgia, with the financial support of the United Nations Development Programme, which provides evaluations based on the results of the research carried out on the empirical level of reforms implemented in the Georgian public sector.
  • From 2015, faculty members of School of Journalism and Mass Management participate in IREX research projects, Media Sustainability Index Georgia. The results of the survey can be found in the Research Department report as well as web-page - https://www.irex.org/resource/media-sustainability-index-msi.
  • “Short term courses in Results Based monitoring and evaluation for civil servants” – 2-year project was implemented by the school of government with the financial support of World Bank group. The project aimed at training of 120 public servants in M&E. The initial phase of the project aimed at training of GIPA faculty members in the modern approaches of M&E. During the project, the faculty members developed four case studies in the public policy area, that were incorporated in the Public policy and Public Administration curriculum. The case study book was published and is available in two languages, English and Georgian.

 

Student involvement in the research project

Students of different levels are often engaged in researches carried out in the University schools. For example, the students of Public Administration Programme were engaged in the study - "Training and Development of Public Officials in the Georgian Public Sector”; It should be noted that while evaluating projects in the process of selection of grant projects, special attention is paid to the involvement of students in projects and this criterion takes up to 20% of the overall assessment. This once again emphasizes the importance of students’ involvement in implementation of scientific projects supported by GIPA.

Since 2014, The CG MULTILAB @ GIPA Computer Graphics Development Laboratory was established on the basis of Journalism School, which conducts trainings and study programmes in the fields of 2D and 3D animation, moving graphs, various social and creative startup projects as well as the Art Factory of GIPA, known for operating in the field of creative industry development. Upon the study period, the programme assists students to create creative, social and commercial projects in cooperation with students’ initiative groups that serve as solving some problems. The working process is led by the lecturers with international experience.

    The PhD programme in Social Sciences was established in 2012. The programme was granted accreditation by the Decree # 752 of the Accreditation Council of Educational Programmes on December 11, 2012. The doctoral programme aims at conducting theoretical and practical research in Social Sciences, to improve quality of academic research, to create and inculcate new knowledge, to prepare highly qualified cadres for higher education institutions, to support their engagement in international academic society. This is how the university contributes in the development of the country. The goals of the program is in full compliance with university mission.

     

    Currently, the PhD Programme in Social Sciences has 21 active and 65 suspended students. Seven doctoral dissertations have been prepared to improve the quality of defended thesis and the effectiveness of the PhD studies, some preconditions for admission to the PhD Programme are considered, namely knowledge of English language on B2 level and interview. GIPA provides the opportunities for scientific counseling and professional support for PhD students. University remunerates the supervision honorarium, which increases the motivation and performance of working with students. The programme provides an internal evaluation system that allows evaluation of the academic personnel. Heads of the dissertation papers comprise from the academic as well as invited lecturers, who have PhD Degrees in relevant fields. The programme negotiates contract with the supervisor for each doctoral student

    GIPA has public, transparent and fair procedures for evaluation doctoral thesis and for defending procedures according specific of the field. During the work on the thesis, PhD student will initially prepare the prospectus, an extended draft of the doctoral dissertation, which is defended with the commission. By the decision of the Commission, based on polling process, the doctorate is entitled to continue working on the research. After the completion of the dissertation, the PhD student has to present the completed work. Based on the supervisor’s approval, the doctoral student gains the right to have two reviewers, who should present positive written consents to the program administration and the student is awarded the right to defense. Defending procedure is public and transparent and is attended by representatives of the Dissertation Board, as well as by invited guests and any interested parties. The evaluation of PhD thesis is regulated by the Evaluation System approved by Order No. 3 of January 5, 2007 of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia on the Rule of Calculation of Higher Education Programme Credits. The programme administration ensures to provide minutes of public defense of dissertation. There are separate forms of evaluation for the members of the dissertation board and the final grade on the average basis, is identified by the blind evaluation of each member. PhD diploma is issued by the Rector's Order.

    Upon completion of PhD program, the doctor is an expert in the field, who demonstrates an ability to independently plan, carry out and supervise teaching and research process in his/her field; to prepare and deliver courses in the relevant sub field of Social Sciences; ability to develop new research and analytical methods and approaches, which are oriented on the creation of new knowledge and are reflected in international reference publications; To cooperate with the representatives of neighboring fields in interdisciplinary research.

    The list of the Doctoral dissertations performed within the program are presented below:

    • Sharashenidze T. Doctoral Thesis: The Possible Influence of Ideologies and Geopolitical Concepts over Russian Behavior in International Politics. A Critical Appraisal of Russian/Soviet Foreign Policy from Napoleonic Wars to the End of the Cold War (before 2012)
    • Koberidze T. Doctoral Thesis: Impact of Civil Advocacy on Public Policy: Example of Georgia. Funded by the Rustaveli Scientific Foundation; was awarded with the academic degree of Doctor of Social Science (after 2012)
    • Ghonghadze N. Doctoral thesis: Corruption perceptions in the public sector and society of Georgia. 2015-2016. The research was implemented by GIPA School of Governance and within GMU - Partnership project, was awarded with the academic degree of Doctor of Social Sciences. (after 2012)
    • Dolidze N. Doctoral Thesis: Training and Development Models in Georgian Public Sector; The research was implemented by GIPA School of Governance and within GMU - Partnership project. (after 2012)
    • Abuashvili N. Doctoral Thesis: Micro and Macro Factors of Business Value Growth; (after 2012)
    • B. Doctoral Thesis: The Constitutional Dissemination and Electoral System Influence on the development of political parties in post-social Europe democracies (after 2012)
    • Svanishvili A. The importance and role of the territorial public self-government in the local self-governance system (after 2012)

    GIPA owns expertise in providing consultancy service to public and private organizations. Since its founding, GIPA's priority is to implement applied projects. In this regard, GIPA makes effort to integrate “Knowledge Triangle" of Higher Education, Science and Entrepreneurship and supports commercialization of the science. For this purpose, within the research department, Policy Evaluation Centre was established in 2017, which aims at enhancing research and evaluation component in various fields of public policy. The main direction is to coordinate preparation of policy papers and relevant recommendations for stakeholders and public as well as private institutions. The Center contributes to improving   good governance and public policy in the country, what is crucial in social and economic development of Georgia. The scope of research will cover issues of public administration reforms, priority assessment, budgeting, evaluation of reform outcomes, performance evaluation, governance and management. The Center will actively cooperate with the public sector, examine their needs and consequently plan further research/evaluation.

    Georgian Institute of Public Affairs has a system for evaluation and analysis of the quality of research/creative activities as well as productivity of scientific-research units (Research Department, PhD Programme in Social Sciences, an English-language online peer-reviewed journal – Politics and Democratization, Policy Evaluation Center) and academic/scientific personnel that is conducted in annual reporting form.

    At the end of each year, scientific-research units are required to gather information about the activities that supports fulfilment of research activities as well as to plan the next year's activities based on the gathered information. The schools provide annual reports of academic personnel productivity assessment, which incorporates the following components: participation in the conferences; publishing in peer-reviewed journals; participation in research projects (implemented, ongoing) with the short brief, while in case of completed projects, the summary of the project should be added; participation in consultation projects (implemented, ongoing), which involves consultations, training and other types of activities, including creative activities for/with public and private sector organizations; cooperation with international partners while describing cooperation forms and characteristics; engagement of the students into research project in the form of empirical and applied research and creative projects; information about initiated, submitted or rejected projects. This information is collected in the portfolios of academic personnel that is gathered according to the Schools of the University and is analyzed by the Research Department separately by Schools as well as by the University as the whole. The analyzed data is reflected in the annual report of the Department and is considered in case of extension of academic staff certification and contractual conditions.

    At the same time, the Research Department analyses the data about the students engaged in research projects, conferences, exchange programmes and other scientific activities.  In addition is analyzed information after evaluation of consulting activities carried out by students and academic staff, related to the access of the university library, including electronic bases and general satisfaction rates.

    On the basis of annually collected and analyzed information about the research activities, considering the quality management principles, the Research Department of the University identifies the action plan of improving scientific activities for the next year, which includes previous year’s challenges and activities for response.

    According to the needs, the Research Department identifies the plan for specific trainings, workshops and facilitators, which should contribute to the improvement of the performance of quality of scientific activities planned for the next year. Considering this approach, therefore, the budget allocated for supporting the research during the next year is corrected.

    Summary Report of the Research Department 2012-2018

    Within the framework of Internal University Grant Funding Programme for Small Studies under the Research Department of the University the representatives of the University Schools are able to submit scientific research projects twice a year and based on the competition, request funding for the implementation of the research. The submitted projects are reviewed by the Scientific Council of the Department. For each submitted project, the amount requested from the Research Department of the University is 3,000.00-5,000.00 GEL. In exceptional cases, it is possible to increase the budget, taking into consideration the scope and significance of the project. The Council also reviews the projects submitted for co-financing. The project focus should correspond the basic academic and scientific directions of the University and one of the criteria to receive the grant is student participation and involvement, particularly PhD, as well as MA and BA students. Currently, 9 research projects were funded. The total budget for the first half of 2018 is 16725 GEL.

    The list of the funded projects for the first half of 2018:

    • Giorgi Turkia - Entrepreneurial University prospects within Education Market of Georgia;
    • Ana Keshelashvili – Social Media Content Verification: Teaching and News Media Practice Study;
    • Manana Gabashvili – Towards the Experimental Study of Set and Stress

    English-language peer-reviewed scientific electronic journal - "Politics and Democratization" was launched in 2015 under the partnership between GIPA School of Law and Politics and the University of Troy (Alabama, USA). Editorial board consists of   GIPA and Troy University professors. Instructions on formatting, publication, citation and peer review are developed for interested individuals. Publications are accepted and declined based on double blind review. The first edition of the journal was published in 2016, and since then three editions have been published. The university maintains the periodicity of the publishing of the journal. For the future the journal has an ambition to be indexed in Scopus.

    The Journal of Politics and Democratization is a new, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal edited and produced through a partnership between Troy University (Troy, Alabama) and the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA, Tbilisi, Georgia). The primary geographic focus of the journal is Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus region, although submissions concerning other areas will also be considered.  Research that focuses on specific individual countries as well as those offering comparative or global analyses will be welcome. 

    The Journal of Politics and Democratization invites submissions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including, but not limited to: international relations, political science, public policy studies, economics, international law, and international studies. Papers may focus on issues such as the role of states, international organizations and agreements, trade, economics, and political movements.

    web-page Address: Journal of Politics and Democratization

    List of Publications:

    Year 2016, issue 1-1

    Year 2016, issue 1-2,

    Year 2017, issue 2-1

    Year, 2017, Issue 2-2

    Administration

    Nani Matcharashvili

    Nani Matcharashvili

    Head of Research Department / Head of Public Administration MA program / Head of MA program in environmental management and policy

    Mikheil Chachkhunashvili

    Mikheil Chachkhunashvili

    Advisor to Rector