Building Research Capacity in Bolivian Universities

Sida Evaluation
Erik W. Thulstrup , Manuel Ramiro Muñoz , Jean-Jacques Decoster
An evaluation of the relatively new research cooperation between Sida-SAREC and Bolivia has been performed. The main partners in Bolivia are the two largest universities in the country with a total of almost 150,000 students. They are in the process of changing from teaching universities to research universities; this change will improve their potential for providing development contributions, both directly to the many poor in the country, but also through the creation of economic progress, based on the huge talent mass available in the country. The change is not easy, especially the large university bureaucracies are stumbling blocks, although one of the two universities are making clear progress. The main activity under the program is research training; close to 60 PhD students have already completed or are in the process of obtaining their degree, performed in a sandwich mode, with study periods in Bolivia and abroad. The degrees are awarded at universities in Sweden, mostly Lund University, or at South American universities. The team concludes that the goals of the cooperation are generally reached in an efficient fashion, although bureaucratic obstacles at one university and a shortage of satisfactory jobs for the new PhDs remain severe obstacles.

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