52013-001: Research University Sector Development Program | Asian Development Bank

Mongolia: Research University Sector Development Program

Sovereign (Public) Project | 52013-001 Status: Approved

The proposed program will support the Government of Mongolia's program of reforms to develop research universities and strengthen university research (National Program on Research Universities, 2018-2022). It aims to enhance research and development (R&D) capacity of clusters of research universities by (i) establishing governance and regulatory mechanisms for developing research universities and strengthening university research; (ii) setting up diversified funding mechanisms for research universities, university research, and graduate students; and (iii) upgrading clusters of research universities.

Project Details

Project Officer
Maruyama, Asako East Asia Department Request for information
Country
  • Mongolia
Sector
  • Education
 
Project Name Research University Sector Development Program
Project Number 52013-001
Country Mongolia
Project Status Approved
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 9663-MON: Research University Sector Development Program
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 800,000.00
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Partnerships
Private sector development
Sector / Subsector

Education / Tertiary

Industry and trade / Industry and trade sector development

Information and communication technology / ICT infrastructure

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming
Description The proposed program will support the Government of Mongolia's program of reforms to develop research universities and strengthen university research (National Program on Research Universities, 2018-2022). It aims to enhance research and development (R&D) capacity of clusters of research universities by (i) establishing governance and regulatory mechanisms for developing research universities and strengthening university research; (ii) setting up diversified funding mechanisms for research universities, university research, and graduate students; and (iii) upgrading clusters of research universities.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Productivity and employment growth depends on the business sector's ability to innovate. The ability of the business sector to innovate, in turn, hinges on industrial research and development (R&D). R&D has seriously been neglected since Mongolia transitioned from a centrally-planned to a market-based economy, leading to a decline in gross domestic expenditure on R&D as a percentage of gross domestic product (from 1.0% in 1990 to 0.18% in 2016) and R&D personnel (from 3,102 in 1995 to 2,211 in 2016). Against this background, the government envisages increasing R&D human resources, financing, and infrastructure in the medium term.

Historically, R&D in Mongolia has been predominated by the government in terms of performance (68.8% in 2016) and financing (86.3%). Major government R&D institutions have been the Academy of Sciences and its ten specialized research institutions which focus on basic research and employ about 60% of R&D personnel in the country, mostly trained abroad. The track record of commercialization of such publicly funded research, however, has been poor. By contrast, the business sector's role in R&D has been insignificant (performance: 3.8%, financing: 4.9%), and higher education has been playing a minor role in R&D (performance: 27.3%, financing: 3.7%), with only a handful of higher education institutions engaging in significant R&D. Subsequently, university-industry collaboration in R&D has been limited, which is reflected in Mongolia's ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index (127th out of 137 countries in 2018).

The weak capacity of Mongolian universities to contribute to R&D stems from the higher education system inherited from the former Soviet Union where universities focused primarily on teaching, whereas the Academy of Sciences and its specialized research institutions, which were not part of the higher education system, conducted research. Consequently, research functions and graduate programs and schools have been underdeveloped at Mongolian universities. Even at key state universities, the number of graduate students is limited compared with those at top universities in other middle-income countries, and faculty members with doctoral degrees account for only about 40%. Unmeritocratic staffing practices exacerbate the lack of highly qualified faculty members. Due to heavy teaching responsibilities (teacher-student ratio is about 1:29), moreover, the proportion of faculty members engaged in research remains small. Thus, teaching at universities rarely incorporates latest developments in the field, and students are provided little opportunities to take part in research. Relatedly, the code of academic and research ethics is not well established, and the quality of graduate degrees awarded by different universities is uneven, lacking systems for evaluating research.

Although many new technologies, systems, and problems have become increasingly complex, requiring multidisciplinary knowledge, Mongolian universities stay highly specialized than comprehensive. This organizational characteristic of Mongolian universities, inherited from the higher education system in the former Soviet Union, stifles interdisciplinary applied research, and university-industry and interuniversity research collaboration required to address the priority areas for science, technology and innovation (STI) identified by the government. It has also resulted in considerable overlap between specialized R&D facilities and equipment installed at key state universities and in underutilization, despite high costs of investment. The failure to foster collaborative research environments constrains the ability of Mongolian universities to attract highly qualified researchers and teaching staff domestically and internationally. International students rarely pursue degrees in Mongolia (the share of international to domestic students was 0.97% in 2016). International research collaboration has also been limited, which is a missed opportunity to enhance research outputs and quality, as well as teaching quality.

The current funding mechanisms for universities, university research, researchers, and graduate students are inadequate to incentivize high quality research in the priority areas. Tuition fees have been the primary source of funding for universities since the early 1990s, which leaves universities severely underfunded. State universities are particularly constrained as they lack the autonomy to raise funds, generate and reinvest revenues, and set tuition fees. Due to lack of investment, research and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure at universities has become obsolete and inadequate for cutting-edge research. Moreover, apart from those available from national programs for STI and projects funded by development partners, no competitive grants for university research exist, which systematically support strategic research linked to the priority areas and are tied with systems for assessing the quality of research funded. Scholarships (Student Development Loan Fund) are provided to all graduate students without consideration for intellectual merit or those in poverty, and other disadvantaged conditions. The amount of the scholarship proves insufficient, and the objective is unclear.

To enhance the role of universities in R&D and their contribution to a knowledge-based economy, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports (MECSS) prepares a national program on research universities (2018 2022). It also drafts amendments to the package of education laws, the Innovation Law, and related laws to support the program. STI human resources development plan and STI investment plan are further being developed to accompany the renewed State Policy on Science and Technology approved in 2017.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided support to all the subsectors of education in Mongolia since the country's transition from a centrally-planned to a market-based economy in the early 1990s. In the higher education subsector, ADB's assistance has contributed to improved research infrastructure of key state universities and competitive research grants, and the preparation of the national program on research universities and STI investment plan. Other development partners also support the subsector, including the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and other bilateral donors. ADB's engagement in the subsector is fully in line with the country partnership strategy for Mongolia, 2017 2020, and the Strategy 2030.

Impact
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome
Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs
Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design Relevant government agencies, universities, research institutions, the business sector, and other relevant stakeholders will be consulted during program preparation.
During Project Implementation Relevant government agencies, universities, research institutions, the business sector, and other relevant stakeholders will be involved in program implementation.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services ADB will engage consultants following the ADB Procurement Policy (2017, as amended from time to time) and its associated project administration instructions and/or staff instructions. ADB will recruit one international consulting firm for sector assessments, project design, and due diligence to provide 39.0 person-months of consulting services (international, 16.0 person-months; national, 23.0 person-months) in the areas of graduate school governance and management, graduate education, university research, R&D management, fund governance and management, financial management, procurement, economics, climate change, and social development and gender using the quality- and cost-based selection method with a quality cost ratio of 90:10 and simplified technical proposal. ADB will also recruit seven individual consultants (international, 7 person-months; national, 9 person-months) to prepare a science and technology park development strategy, conduct environmental and social impact assessments, and prepare safeguards planning documents. Lump sum payments and/or output-based contracts will be considered for consulting services under the TA.
Procurement N/A
Responsible ADB Officer Maruyama, Asako
Responsible ADB Department East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Urban and Social Sectors Division, EARD
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education, Culture, Science & Sports
Government Building-III, Suite # 514, Baga toiruu-44, Sukhbaatar district
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Timetable
Concept Clearance -
Fact Finding -
MRM -
Approval 03 Dec 2018
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 05 Dec 2018

TA 9663-MON

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
03 Dec 2018 - - 31 Jan 2022 - -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
800,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 800,000.00 03 Dec 2018 0.00

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

The Accountability Mechanism provides a forum where people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects can voice and seek solutions to their problems and report alleged noncompliance of ADB's operational policies and procedures.

In preparing any country program or strategy, financing any project, or by making any designation of, or reference to, a particular territory or geographic area in this document, the Asian Development Bank does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

None currently available.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

None currently available.


The Public Communications Policy (PCP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.

Tenders

No tenders for this project were found.

Contracts Awarded

No contracts awarded for this project were found

Procurement Plan

None currently available.