In CANERIEH consortium there are 7 universities of medicine studies in participating CA countries which deals with environment and occupational health. 4 are in Kazakhstan, 2 in Kyrgyzstan and 1 in Tajikistan with more than 100 teaching research staff. There are 2 separate research institutes in Kazakhstan, 1 in Kyrgyzstan and 1 in Tajikistan related to Environmental Health (EH). EH includes expertise in medicine, epidemiology, environmental health, ecology, risk assessment, toxicology, occupational hygiene, etc.
By hard times in economy, universities experienced negative changes in research and education. Young scientists lost their interest on scientific work and qualified research and teaching staff decreased. Conducted research projects served mostly scientific purpose and they were not applicable in wider health practice. Connections between universities and separate research institutions became more and more rare. Thus, the problem arises for real need in Central Asian countries to develop and modernize higher education with the standards of Bologna by producing research capacity in the field of Environmental Health in this region.
European universities are real cornerstones for building knowledge-based societies. To Central Asian countries, it’s a good example, how to do high standard worldwide research. Cooperating with European partners in multiple ways and adapting knowledge to country based needs has a good base for developing EH in CA.
Since Central Asian countries signed the Bologna Declaration, universities started to build 3 level degree programs. Standards for bachelor and master degree are now developed. But there are no PhD programs in the field of Environmental Health in all Central Asian countries.
The previous TEMPUS project “Development of public health services in Kyrgyzstan” is turned into sustainable and fruitful partnership between UK and Kyrgyz academia. Despite of that, there is still a problem with low-level international collaboration in higher education and research field. One reason of this is the lack of training and practice in English and it’s difficult for local universities to follow international achievements.
At the same time, higher education institutions put a lot of effort on their doctoral programs. Research is often more highly put in forward than education and PhD programs are often closely integrated into research projects. They are very important for society, were completed 3rd cycle studies take guiding roles for society and future research. Therefore, regional higher education institutions are needed for supporting human capital building in education, research and innovation in the field of EH. In the line with international achievements, experience and models, knowledge is developed in Central Asian countries.
Project’s wider aims are:
- to support capacity building of higher education institutions for education, research and innovation;
- to enhance the quality and relevance of higher education and networking among higher education and research institutions across Central Asian region in the area of Environmental Health;
- to improve their capacity for sustainable international cooperation.
The specific objectives are:
- Training of trainers in education, research and innovation (ERI) in EH. With help of European partners the teaching and research staff and graduate students will pass training in order to: learn English language; – improve general research skills; master innovative research methods in EH; master innovative teaching skills.
- Establishment of Centers for Education, Research and Innovation in Environmental Health (CERIEH). These Centers will deliver PhD programs, research method courses; serve as source of academic expertise in EH for professionals, enterprises and local communities. Upon development of human and material resources, CANERIEH start innovative research on the base of agreements and partnership with enterprises, local agencies & other social partners.
- Development of PhD programs in EH tailored to regional needs. 4-year programmes with core and elective courses will be developed and accredited. At least 2 PhD students will be recruited and 10 trainees enrolled for research courses at each Centre.
- Provision of quality assurance system for CERIEHs, PhD programs and research methods courses.
- Establishment of web-based Central Asian network and Forum for ERI in EH for researchers, teachers & public health professionals. This will support transnational development of EH research, education & services. The CANERIEH will have nation-, and region-wide impact because it will enhance the quality and relevance of HE in Central Asia in the field of EH, and increase their convergence with EU developments; will support networks of universities & research institutions. Using the Forum and CANERIEH, national academia will be able to access to international innovation potentials, to benefit from the latest discoveries & developments, to overcome the present and future global challenges. Local communities will be able to call on the academic expertise.