Introduction to the policy

The Regional Maritime University defines research as the systematic and critical search for knowledge; the process of formulating and seeking (in an academically integrated manner) empirical answers to relevant questions in the natural, physical or social world.  Research includes the studious discovery and examination of facts and accepted theories/laws and their application in policy and practice.  For the RMU, the context of such an endeavour is the domain of maritime policy, practice and pedagogy for the purpose of advancing human knowledge in the maritime industry.  The output of research at RMU therefore, is intended to be the descriptive, explanatory, predictive, evaluative and speculative analyses of relevant maritime-related topics.

The RMU policy serves, among other things, as an indication of the University’s commitment to facilitate and sustain a high-quality research culture and to optimise the research abilities of its faculty.  While the research agenda, policy and strategy are primarily focused on academic staff of the University, it is expected that the research culture will positively influence the work of both under-graduate and post-graduate students of the University.

Purpose of the policy

The RMU Research Policy is based on the mission statement of the university, the relevant part of which reads thus: The Regional Maritime University is a Sub-regional Tertiary Institution that exists to enhance the development of the Maritime Transport Sector and Fishing Industry in Member States through the maritime education of students, training of maritime personnel, research and consultancy and promotion of maritime cooperation.  It is in accordance with the Strategic Plans of the University which derive from the mission statement[1].

This policy sets out the framework within which academic staff at the university will carry out their required research obligation, and in which graduate students can engage and be supported in their research.

The Regional Maritime University’s academic and research strengths lie in the energies and commitment of all its academic practitioners, especially its individual full-time, permanent academic members of staff.  The University recognises research activity as a normal part of academic staff duties and expects all such staff to be actively engaged in research[2]. That engagement implies that staff should:

  • Have clearly identified research agenda over the short to medium term and associated with specific targets
  • Be committed to researching and publishing in their area(s) of expertise
  • Be engaged in the research activities of their faculties and departments
  • Be involved in the research community of their area(s) of expertise at national, sub-regional and other international levels
  • Communicate the results of their research to the wider public
  • Use their research to inform their teaching
  • Supervise, where possible, undergraduate project and postgraduate research work

[1] It is also in accordance with the Strategic Plans of the University.  The 2008-2012 plan has, for example, strategy 4 of Goal 2, the strengthening of research in the University.

[2] It is acknowledged that other staff not in this category may be research active and will be supported by the University as necessary.

Principles and objectives of the policy

The Research Policy of the Regional Maritime University is based on the following principles:

  • The encouragement of quality research by the institutional provision of an enabling environment in which academic staff (researchers) can flourish and gain prominence nationally, in the sub-region and elsewhere internationally.
  • The upholding of academic freedom in order to encourage the free exchange of ideas that is a necessary prerequisite for academic excellence.
  • The adherence of all researchers to appropriate standards of relevance and responsibility including those of ethics.
  • The supporting of the right of all academic staff to conduct research and engage in scholarship and to publish their findings as well as their right, where applicable to seek research funds in support of their research.
  • The provision of guidelines for optimum research activity
  • The recognition that research activity by academic staff should be considered for career advancement and should be balanced with other obligations of academic staff including pedagogical and administrative responsibilities.

The prime objectives of research at the Regional Maritime University are as follows:

  • To design a broad and strategic RMU research agenda – based on RMU strengths – that is aligned with national priorities within member States as well as the needs of the international maritime community.
  • To encourage and support academic staff of the university to conduct research in all fields and disciplines in the maritime industry
  • To advance the university’s mission and enhance its standing as a research-based tertiary institution of international repute.
  • To publicise research findings through dissemination in a peer-reviewed RMU journal and other fora
  • To inform and enhance teaching and professional practice at the RMU
  • To support the scholarly development of academic staff
  • To contribute in financial terms to the University

The University, in order to achieve the objectives set out above, and in its quest to develop a pervasive and sustainable research culture, is committed to:

  • Soliciting for and notifying academic staff of research opportunities and assisting them, through the Research and Consultancy Department and their individual departments, to pursue such opportunities
  • Providing the necessary resources particularly library, laboratory and ICT facilities (including software), as is reasonably practicable, for the purposes of research
  • Supporting staff participation in both local and international academic conferences and similar meetings
  • Funding research activities, through the Research and Consultancy Department
  • Supporting the development and maintenance of a scholarly journal.