Research is an important aspect of the Birzeit community, as it is at the core of academic growth, empowering competition and serving the Palestinian community in particular and the Arab society in general, and contributing to universal knowledge production. Research is a main duty in the work of the academic staff members. Graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to take part in research activities and write research proposals. The Scientific Research Committee evaluates the research projects funded by the university.
Birzeit University seeks to support all types of scientific research, taking into consideration the aspiration of the university in committing to the ethics of the scientific research.
Guidelines for Funded Research
Article (1): These guidelines are defined as the scientific research support guidelines at Birzeit University for the year 2010, valid from the date of ratification.
Article (2): Scientific research is defined as any scientific effort that aims to expand human knowledge that is of interest to the university and broader community. Birzeit University encourages scientific research, facilitates it, and supports it financially and morally in accordance with these guidelines.
Article (3): The university’s Scientific Research Committee is formed by the President of the University, in consultation with the Vice President for Academic Affairs, as follows
- The committee is comprised of a chairperson and four to six faculty members or researchers selected by the president per the recommendation of the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
- The committee shall be formed for a period of one year, subject to renewal, while taking into account substituting no more than half of the members annually. The selection of members is based on research experience and discipline diversity.
- The committee has the right to invite one or more individuals with scientific research expertise from within the university or from other institutions to consult with on certain issues when needed; however, those invitees do not have the right to vote.
- The committee supervises research supported by the university, but not research projects or studies funded by third parties. The committee, however, shall be informed of such research efforts.
Article (4): The scientific research committee assumes the following tasks and powers
- To draft the scientific research support policy at the university and set its priorities.
- To conceive channels of cooperation and coordination with other stakeholders in scientific research, both within the university and outside.
- To review scientific research proposals, which are presented by the faculty members, researchers, and others for adoption and to make recommendations with respect to funding, in light of the available budget for scientific research.
- To discuss the annual budget for scientific research.
- To discuss the annual report prepared by the chairperson of the committee before it is submitted to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, who presents it to the University Council.
- To follow-up on research projects and recommend their continuation or cessation.
- To offer recommendations to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, after seeking the opinion of the department’s chair and dean, regarding whether to appoint the faculty member as a full-time or part-time researcher.
- To organize seminars and workshops to promote the culture of scientific research, and to celebrate research achievements of Birzeit University professors, researchers, and students.
- Any other matters related to scientific research.
Article (5): Powers and responsibilities of the Committee’s chairperson include
- Enactment of the scientific research support policy and providing encouragement for research support at the university.
- Preparation of the annual draft budget for scientific research (supported by the university).
- Seeking funding for scientific research from sources within and outside the university.
- Following-up on research projects in the university and other joint projects with outside parties.
- Submission of periodic reports on the status of scientific research in the university to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Article (6): Support for scientific research procedures
- Applications should be made through the scientific research committee form.
- Applicants are to submit a copy of the form to the committee and another electronic copy to the department chair.
- The department chair reviews and evaluates the research project, makes a recommendation, and assigns the number of hours allocated for research efforts.
- The department chair presents the research project application to the dean of the relevant faculty, along with the necessary recommendations, and keeps a copy of the form.
- The dean presents the application to the chairperson of the Scientific Research Committee along with his/her recommendations and keeps a copy of the form.
- In the case that there is more than one researcher from the same department that has applied to the department chair and dean of the faculty, the application should include the recommendations of the relevant departments and faculties.
- The committee should discuss all the applications and draw up appropriate recommendations, particularly estimating the effort required to conduct the research and the type and amount of support needed. The committee focuses on the extent that the research is compatible with the work plan and ethics of scientific research, particularly in the event that the research deals with humans, animals or the environment. The committee may ask experts from within or outside the university to assess the research project applications.
- The committee shall give priority to the compatibility of the research and the work plan in relation to the ethics of scientific research, especially in research projects that deal with specific subjects, such as humans, animals and the environment, and shall forward the relevant research for review by the Central Research Ethics Committee at the university.
- The researcher/s shall submit reports to the chairperson of the Scientific Research Committee twice a year; the first one submitted six months after commencing research, with copies sent to the department chair and dean. The report should include a presentation of what has been accomplished, publications, if any, and a statement of expenses.
- Upon the completion of research, and in a period not longer than six months, the researcher/s submit to the chairperson of the Scientific Research Committee a soft and hard copy of the research report (including what has been published) with a summary if it is in a different language. A copy of the report is also sent to the department chair and dean.
- Researchers are entitled to publish their research in the way they find suitable, provided that they mention the university’s support for their research, in compliance with the guidelines in force in that respect.
- The Scientific Research Committee shall consider the scientific research projects after completion (based on the final report submitted by the researcher). The acceptance of its publication is a positive evaluation of the research.
Support is put on hold or revoked by a decision of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, upon the recommendation of the Scientific Research Committee, in the following cases:
- The research is not conducted as per the stages set out in the research proposal, without a justification accepted by the Scientific Research Committee.
- The conviction of the Committee that the researcher has failed to conduct research adequately.
- Evidence on disbursement of funds in areas not outlined in the research proposal, or without the necessary approval.
- The researcher leaving his or her position of employment at the university.
Non-compliance of the researcher in submitting periodic reports on the progress of the research project.
- The university may support research submitted by university staff, and in this case, the application is submitted to the relevant administrative unit director, who refers it to the chairperson of the Scientific Research Committee for consideration.
- The financial support disbursement must take place according to the university’s financial system and within budget allocations, to be supervised by the department chair or officer in charge.
- Support may be granted, upon the recommendation of the Scientific Research Committee, to a research project in which the university partners with another institution or more, or to support a joint research by a faculty or staff member at the university with an individual or institution from outside the university, provided that this institution has previously partnered with the university.
- The university may allocate part of its research budget as funds to researchers, provided that this is not in excess of three credit hours in value, added to the workload of researchers teaching or considered as overtime. The total workload should not exceed 15 credit hours, including the research load.
- The university president may assign a researcher or more to carry out a specific scientific study, based on a recommendation from the Scientific Research Committee. The president establishes the conditions of support in each case as he/she sees fit, upon the recommendation of the Scientific Research Committee.
- Postgraduate students may request funding for scientific research, which is done by the supervisor of the research, who is directly responsible for the content of the research and its compliance to the guidelines. In this case, the supervisor may not request a workload reduction if the research is limited to the student's research. If the research involves more than one thesis or other research activities, a workload reduction may be requested in which it does not exceed three hours of the additional workload in the entire research project.
- If the researcher does not adhere to completing a previous research or has not committed to submitting a final report, he or she may not request funding for a new research project. Furthermore, the researcher may request funding for a research project if he/she has previously received funding for two research projects and has not resulted in a scientific publication or achievement.
- The researcher may request funding for another research project before concluding an on-going research, if it achieves a scientific publication or if a further research project by the researcher has been published and set achievements.
- The researcher must adhere to the approved budget and disbursement procedures. No amendments to the budget items or the allocations of researchers working in the research project may be made without the written permission of the Scientific Research Committee.