Research Partnership and Academic Collaboration between the University of Canberra- ACT and the Khalifa University-UAE

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2018

62 Pages, Grade: 85

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Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Background and Personal Motivation for Research Project

3. Introduction
3.1 What is Research Partnership?
3.2. What is Academic Collaboration?
3.3. Key Players/ Major Stakeholders:
3.4. UC Project Group Team:
3.5. Project Communication Channel:

4. Research Problem & Objectives

5. Methodology

6. Timeline for the Project

7. Previous Research on Similar Topic & Their Findings

8. Literature Review
8.1. What Motivates Research Partnership and Academic Collaboration
8.2. Benefits of Research Partnership and Academic Collaboration
8.3. General Perspectives and Strategies towards Collaboration in the Gcc Arab States
8.4. Bilateral Relation between UAE and Australia
8.5. Uae and Australian Demographics and Economies
8.6. Collaboration Trending Nations/ Regions
8.7. People to People Linkages
8.8. Openness in Uae and Australian Organisational Cultures
8.9. Globalization and Geographic Location
8.10. Cross-Cultural and Academic Comparison of Uc and Ku
8.11. Similarities in Kuri and Hct Knowledge Areas
8.12. Kuri and Hct Current Inter-Institutional Research Collaborations
8.13. Gaps for Future Opportunities
8.14. Collective Goals and Mutual Benefits

9. Personal Observations, Project Group Meetings and Feedbacks
9.1. Personal Experience and Observations:
9.2. Collected Feedbacks (Internal and External)
9.3. Project Group Meetings and Outcomes
9.4. Project Constraints and Challenges:

10. Identified Attributes for Establishing an Open Relationship

11. Results

12. Implications
12.1 Theoretical Implications
12.2 Practical Implications

13. Limitations of this Study

14. Recommendations

15. The Future beyond the Research Project

16. Conclusions

17. References


There is abundant evidence that research partnerships and academic collaboration have become the norm in modern academia. This research project is a combination of literature review and real-life study of our own innovative proposal which has been a first attempt to examine how research partnership and academic collaboration between University of Canberra (UC)-ACT and Khalifa University (KU)-UAE is strategically aligned and mutually beneficial within existing organisational spaces. Analysis is drawn by gathering and observing commonalities and differences between these two reputed institutes. This research study provides adequate background information of a newly identified partnership and collaboration opportunity between University of Canberra-ACT and Khalifa University of Science, Technology & Research, Abu Dhabi-UAE; illustrates necessary guidance relevant to this exploration journey including faced challenges; and details the expected outcomes and justification of its apparent success to all stakeholders including Khalifa University Robotics Institute (KURI) and Human Centred Technology (HCT) Research Centre at UC. This project generally also encourages academic key players such as students and staff to explore new areas of focused and result oriented research which will facilitate parent institution(s) to enhance its branding and improving its global ranking too. Further, this study will serve as a foundation for future research in similar areas of explorations in Middle East paving new paths of institutional collaboration and research partnerships with Australian universities. To help organize our (i) literature review; (ii) analyse previous similar research, (iii) discussions during project group meetings, (iv) collected feedbacks and reviews; (v) gather personal observations and communications; we have developed a logical framework matrix and theoretical partnership-collaboration model to provide linkages of identified attributes for inter and intra institutional partnership and collaboration. At the end of this report, we have established recommendations for the implementation of this plan and concluded with some valuable suggestions for possible improvement(s) in future research(s) on similar topic too.

Research Question

How research partnership and academic collaboration between University of Canberra (UC) and Khalifa University (KU) is strategically aligned and mutually beneficial within existing organisational spaces?


research partnership ∙ academic collaboration ∙ knowledge transfer ∙ experiential learning ∙ Innovation ∙ organisational boundaries ∙ global ranking ∙ staff and students exchange ∙ collegiality ∙ strategic goals

1. Executive Summary

It is a unique real-life partnership and academic collaboration research study between two geographically distanced and culturally diversified; yet institutionally comparable universities i.e. Khalifa University of Science, Technology & Research (KU), Abu Dhabi-UAE and University of Canberra (UC), ACT-Australia. Both universities are urban and public which traditionally have been serving for local as well as international students for decades. UC currently is providing education to about 17,000 students (1 ) whereas, relatively smaller and younger KU along with its two merging institutes (The Petroleum Institute and Masdar Institute of Science & Technology) is serving around 3,000 full-time students. (2 ) Both universities are institutionally stronger, technological advanced, research diversified; and have clear longstanding commitments to academic partnerships for overall societal benefits. HCT in UC and KURI in KU have common expertise in robotics and machine language which can be shared and augmented by having a strategic research partnership, students and staff exchange programs; and faculties’ joint visits. UC has a stronger edge over KU in technological advancements such as artificial intelligence, computation intelligence and human-machine interactions; and the larger pool of experienced staff which are key pillars of such explorative opportunity. (3 )

It is not just the inter-institutional similarities that make the international partnership effective and successful but also the differences and gaps in multi-universities’ offered programs and capabilities. Stage-1 findings of our research plan indicate that the institutional areas of expertise between UC and KU are distinct enough that each one will provide valuable and distinguishing new opportunities to the other. Stage-2 of this research also includes literature review to analyse key findings of previous similar research; to identify key attributes for successful multi-universities collaboration; to study the size of this new opportunity in accessing collective intellectual wealth and setting out the number of specific areas where partnership and collaboration will bring the most benefits to both universities. Besides the identified key attributes linked towards heterogeneous academic collaboration and inter-institutional research partnership, we have also analysed actual commonalities and institutional cavities to formulate into practical significances for both universities in the form of a logical framework matrix and partnership-collaboration model.

The global ranking of the University of Canberra and its geographical visibility on the world academia map can be improved by achieving new inter-institutional i.e. international academic collaboration and research partnerships with other comparable higher education providing institutes located in stable economies particularly, towards developing countries in the Middle East. Such academic partnerships, research alliances and collaborations are also recognised as an important contributor to nation’s research performance. A considerable number of academic researchers have previously analysed that international collaborative research produces research with greater impact than both domestically co-authored papers and single-authored papers. As global challenges, institutional competition, academic funding has become more complex, it is believed that the most effective research outcomes and diversified educational exposure can be achieved through effective and long-lasting collaborative networks; built around complementary skills between universities. Therefore, if University of Canberra (UC) and Khalifa University (KU) genuinely want to facilitate knowledge, expertise and research excellence; and the innovation it ignites, then it would be essential that both institutes must actively strengthen their global cooperation bridges with each other. Moreover, because of the expansion of modern communication methods via the high-speed internet and the obvious comfort of international travels; academics are finding it easier than ever to collaborate with their foreign counterparts, making the exchange of academic ideas and innovation much simpler to organize and expand.

2. Background and Personal Motivation for Research Project

Luc E. Weber and James J. Duderstadt (2008) stated that “Universities have traditionally been founded on the premise of knowledge creation and continuous flow of new ideas. They have long been in competition for the ‘best and brightest minds’ (both students and faculty members) to attract to their institutions, to further its outputs, amplify its impact and to enhance its reputation. In a flattered world, the access to new minds, new people, new ways of thinking, innovative ideas, new modes; and models of operations, new philosophies, new orientations and new knowledge grows significantly”. (4 )

Engaging in smaller ideas generation activities last year at UC under the assigned Entrepreneurship and Managing Change and Innovation units, boosted our entrepreneurial skills and pushed us to think outside the box. This innovative plan was originated during our early brain-storming and mind mapping activities while we were searching for sponsor(s) to seek necessary funds to support our team’s events at UC in 2017. Thinking beyond the normal boundaries, existing organisational spaces and visioning globally, we started looking at external funding resources in academia. Our initial research had come across the Middle Eastern universities who have similar strategic objectives to expand research through effective international collaborations particularly, in the field of machine language, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. we personally found significant resemblances in programs and expertise between Khalifa University Robotics Institute (KURI) and Human Centred Technology (HCT) Research Centre at UC. Our immediate examination also confirmed some similarities in both universities’ strategic plans of strengthening international academic partnerships and promoting globalised education. (5 ) Exploring further and going deep into KU offered education programs, it revealed to us a gap of business faculty at KU i.e. future opportunity to expand extents of UC courses.

At present KU with its two merging UAE partners namely, the Petroleum Institute (PI) and Masdar Institute of Science & Technology (MIST) are mainly focused on Engineering, Science and Research. Therefore, we anticipate a strong prospect to develop a faculty of business, management and governess in KU by BGL (Faculty of Business, Government and Law) in future. This research study is a part of Stage-2 of our partnership and collaboration research plan to highlight mutually beneficial outcomes while confirming UC’s strategic alignment with KU. The second stage broadly includes in-depth literature reviews, project group meetings, collecting feedbacks, communications, coordination, faculties’ visits, signing a proper MoU and practical initiatives towards the success of this proposed partnership and collaboration idea. Indeed, the identified similarities and gap under this study both are providing UC a chance of exploring new opportunities (i) to develop a long-term research partnership and strategic academic collaboration (ii) to seek business-oriented sponsorships and scholarships (iii) to widen global visibility (iv) to improve international ranking and (v) to attract more researchers. Further, HCT will also have an excellent chance to expand its RAPP (Robots, Art, People and Performance) lab project overseas starting from KURI focusing on its technical expertise and future funding(s).

Our true inspiration of this research study is derived from UC Distinctive by Design Strategic Plan 2018 (launched in October 2017) which deeply emphasis on collegiality, teamwork; student entrepreneurship; experiential learning; deep & creative thinking; and global connectivity through diversified opportunities for inter-institutional academic exchanges. While carrying out our research, UC Strategic Plan also provides us a necessary guidance to understand co-working spaces by stimulating opportunities and taking risks in the exploration of ideas and pursuit of solutions. We personally feel a deep connection with UC mission, vision and its strategic goals; and recognise our immediate institutional responsibilities towards one of its key objective i.e. “UC will rank in the top quartile of Australian universities for its student experience and employment by year-2022”. (6 ) At present, no specific literature and articles have existed about UC and KU research partnership and their academic collaboration, however, we have found relevant past research works on multi-universities collaboration, inter-institutional partnerships and the Middle East academic culture. Our current research work is a small effort to increase awareness about international partnerships and collaboration and how students can participate in the explorative activities to improve their institutional prominence.

3. Introduction

Globalisation of information and knowledge-based economy has created a new paradigm of increasing requirement for universities to be more entrepreneurial, innovative, corporately efficient and financially independent by evolving a dynamic collaborative environment. “Globalization is the single most powerful influence on university strategies. Globalization brings universities elements of competition and standards of efficiency that go well beyond national borders. These touch not just the academic function but also the style and substance of management, as well as strategic relations with staff, government and the business world” (Weber, L E and Duderstadt J J, 2008). (7 ) In recent times, universities’ academic growth is holistically more inclined towards collegiality, research partnership, inter and inter-institutional collaboration and innovative ideas; well connected with co-creating institutional sustainability, broader and creative experiential spaces; and overall societal benefits.

The role of universities in the innovation system is extensive both collectively as well as exclusively in which students’ direct participation has been seen vigorous collegially and collaboratively. To provide students an experiential space of their expanded global learning, social entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer by universities are very challenging which in fact can be achieved successfully by facilitating international partnerships and the external academic collaborations. International partnerships between universities are considered essential for fostering an open culture of effective collaboration to achieve commonly beneficial relationships to increase the size, recognition and impacts of co-authored papers including their global citations and global ranking. Therefore, the rate of internationalisation is increasing rapidly in academic circles to widen joint publications, research and development, teacher training, students and staff exchange, research funding, sponsorships and scholarship programs. Universities across the world are already seizing new opportunities to increase their ranking; augment research growth and businesses by forming global partnerships, collaborations, alliances; and to encourage mutual relationships with other institutions having similar objectives.

International research partnerships and collaboration projects in the academic work are generally considered boundary-crossing projects with growing learning potential. Universities’ partnerships and collaborations provide a substantial amount of broadened learning opportunities for both students and staff. Along with the new research openings, knowledge sharing field, students’ recruitments, international travels and cultural awareness; universities can also offer international cross-cultural exposures by stimulating necessary study and teaching abroad programmes. In terms of teaching, the most common benefits include curricula developments, faculties’ expansions and degrees formed in collaboration with partner institution(s). However, this perhaps never been simpler due to (i) different institutional strategic policies, (ii) unlike academic preferences, (iii) diverse organisational actors, (iv) complexed management structures, (v) geographic distances, (vi) demographic variations and (vii) unavoidable geopolitical influences. Indeed, the difficulties of creating university partnerships mean that only those identified as being able to endure in the long-term should really be pursued for managing novel changes and maintaining stability in the system. Further, developing successful academic relationships and shaping strong connections generally take a longer time and therefore, require patience from understanding the culture, governmental policies, organisational structures and goals of each other’s institutions to ensuring compatibility in terms of ethics, laws, standards, adaptability and chances of survival in the fluctuating circumstances.

University of Canberra (UC) after achieving its university status in 1990 has successfully been expanding inter-institutional relations with other nations. UC currently has about eighty (80) overseas exchange partners located in different part of the world (8 ) excluding the oil rich Middle Eastern countries including United Arab Emirates (UAE) who has numerous research supported institutes, contemporary organisational structures; stable governess; flourishing economy and strong bilateral relations with Australia. The research promoting universities in specific the Khalifa University (KU) located in Abu Dhabi is selected under this research study for potential partnership development in the Middle East due to resemblances in strategic goals, academic ethos; common programs; and expertise in robotics/ machine language of both universities. (9 ) The pprimary purpose of this research project is to ‘connect the dots’ by identifying relevant attributes who influence international collaboration and then apply those on UC and KU proposed partnership and collaboration scenario analyzing impacts towards its anticipated success or unexpected failure. The findings will then be supplemented with the secondary objectives to prepare a brief scope of partnership proposal; identify internal and external stakeholders; develop the proposed communication channel; list down the known major implications; highlight the limitation and anticipated key challenges.

3.1 What is Research Partnership?

English Oxford Dictionary states partnership as “An association of two or more persons as partners”. As per business dictionary “A type of business organization in which two or more individuals pool money, skills, and other resources; and share profit and loss in accordance with terms of the partnership agreement. In absence of such agreement, a partnership is assumed to exit where the participants in an enterprise agree to share the associated risks and rewards proportionately”. (10 )

Council on Competitiveness (1996) mentions that “Partnerships are cooperative arrangements engaging companies, universities, and government agencies and laboratories in various combinations to pool resources in pursuit of a shared R&D objective”. (11 ) John Hagedoorn, Albert N. Link and Nicholas S. Vonortas (2000) has defined it as “a research partnership broadly as an innovation-based relationship that involves, at least partly, a significant effort in research and development (R&D). Research partnerships are seen as mechanisms enabling firms to learn and enter new technological areas and to deal more effectively with technological and market uncertainty”. (12 )

3.2. What is Academic Collaboration?

The dictionary definition of collaboration suggests “Working jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor to achieve a common goal” (Merriam-Webster, 1999). Wertsch, J.V (as cited in Akkerman S, Admiraal W, Simon R.J and Nissen T 2006) stated “Collaboration in work settings allows professionals to come into contact with ideas and approaches of other professionals, enabling them to reflect on their own ideas and approaches and to consider alternative ideas and approaches. More generally put, being in dialogue with others entails the transcendence of private worlds”. (13 )

Andy Barfield (2016) has explained it as “Within the field of education, collaboration comes in many guises: teacher collaboration in the classroom (peer teaching/team teaching), collaborative learning among learners themselves, collaborative research, and collaborative curriculum development, to name some of the most common. Whatever its particular form, collaboration involves deciding goals together with others, sharing responsibilities, and working together to achieve more than could be achieved by an individual on their own”. (14 )

According to Kantar (2012) “The infrastructure for collaboration consists of the pathways by which people and organisations come together to exchange ideas, solve problems or form partnerships… recognise, value, and leverage their area’s assets for mutual gain”. Denise L (1999) and Lozano R (2007) defined “Collaboration is about using information, divergent insights, and spontaneity in order to solve problems and develop new understanding. It thrives on those differences emanating from any sparks of dissent”. (15 )

3.3. Key Players/ Major Stakeholders:

The identified key players and stakeholders which will interact with each other during the process of actual partnership building and real collaboration development are divided into three (3) groups as follows:

- Internal-local Stakeholders: Faculty of Business, Government and Law (BGL), Human Centred Technology (HCT) Research Centre, University of Canberra researchers and UC management
- External-local Stakeholders: UAE Embassy in ACT, Commonwealth & Australian Governments
- Overseers Stakeholders: Khalifa University (KU), Khalifa University Robotic Institutes (KURI), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Ministry of Artificial Intelligence (MOAI) UAE

3.4. UC Project Group Team:

Following are the active members of project group team who have been working together and are responsible to transform this proposal into reality:

- M. Yasir Arslan: Idea Initiator/ Idea Generator, UC- MBA student
- Matar Al Mansoori: Key Idea supporter
- Project Coordinator, UC- BGL Staff Member
- UC Funding Research Manager
- UC Partnership Development Manager
- HCT Director, Head of the Vision and Sensing Group
- HCT Researcher and Coordinator between HCT and KURI*
- UAE Embassy Staff, Coordinator between UAE Embassy and UC

* Director of Robotics Institute-KU was involved in coordination with HCT Director to explore the areas of research partnership between HCT and KURI

3.5. Project Communication Channel:

A suitable communication channel for our proposal was derived for better and clear communication. As per proposed communication plan, Idea Development Team has been facilitating as a bridge between UAE Diplomats and UC management; and between HCT and KURI. It was visioned that this defined communication channel would be more independent with increased trust-building and mutual-cooperation. Proposed communication channel flow diagram is presented in Figure-1 below:

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Figure-1: Proposed Communication Channel

4. Research Problem & Objectives

Irrespective of internationally top 3rd ranking of Australia in tertiary enrolment, Australian universities perform far below the world’s best in attracting research funding (citation form Global Innovation Index 2017). (16 ) According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018, total 35 Australian universities are ranked amongst world top 1,000 institutions of higher education. The new ranking of the University of Melbourne is 32 following by Australian National University (ANU) which stands at 48th position globally. The current ranking of University of Canberra (UC) is 351-400 worldwide even below the Khalifa University (KU) which has been ranked at 301-350 based on the key indicators for publication impact, inter-institutional and international collaboration. (17 ) To attract more international students and academic researchers, UC must increase its global ranking and visibility by expanding its research partnerships and emerging new universities’ collaborations especially located in rich economies.

University of Canberra’s overseas exchange partners are located mostly in Europe (United Kingdom, Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Irelands, Germany, France, Finland and Belgium); Asia (Thailand, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, India, Hong Kong and China); North America (Canada and United States) and South America (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) whereas, its more experienced local competitor Australian National University (ANU) being 44 years elder than UC; has successfully signed about 414 nos. of MoU in addition to 9 nos. collaborations, 5 nos. dual program, 4 nos. Scholarships, 5 nos. staff exchange, 7 nos. study abroad, and about 175 nos. student exchange programs till date. (18 ) Recent available records show that the University of Canberra has around 28% international students as compared to its local competitor ANU 35% with the similar female-male ratio of 52:48. While this figure covers only fewer students from Middle East countries including UAE. Further, University of Canberra (UC) is not a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) which was launched in year-2006 as a co-operative network of ten (10) leading, international research-intensive universities who share similar visions for higher education, in particular the education of future leaders. At present, University of Canberra has an affiliation with the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning (ASAIHL) but just being a member of a network doesn’t guarantee returns. Recently in August 2017, UC has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to expand academic collaboration with China’s Soochow University and the Global Business College of Australia (GBCA). (19 )

Moreover, like other Australian local universities; UC is also bearing financial burden due to recent funding cut by Federal Government in 2017 creating more risks in attracting domestic as well as international students being more expensive in global education market. Also, with the development of international learning hubs, appealing international students from traditional regions of recruitment and education sector may become more challenging. To continue competing, UC should search new spaces for investment in diverse partnerships and long-term collaborations by ensuring effective students, staff and researchers exchange programs. Therefore, in additional to existed university-industries cooperation(s) and localised community engagements; UC should also explore new opportunities of its academic collaborations to increase research funding and business expansion internationally. On other hands, KU has also been looking for new windows confirming its research evolution and academic exploration to support of international academic partnerships. Also, to increase the global ranking of UC and its geographical visibility in next few years on the world academia; it is essential to be more exploratory and research-extensive particularly; towards politically and financially stable countries located in Middle East such as United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In our perception, being only focused on its existing allies, UC has already missed few worthy opportunities in the Middle East due to its preference differences, participatory gaps, lack of trust and might risk-averse aptitude. While participating and positioning in the potential global events such as Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotic Challenge MBZIRC-2018 (to be arranged by Khalifa University) with a prize money of AUD 6.6 million dollars (20 ), UC faculties’ rich minds certainly require an official partnership and collaboration with KU to better inspire future robotics through their innovative solutions and technological excellence in human-robot interactions. This research project will provide us an opportunity to ultimately discover the genuine attributes/ variables based on available previous research on multi-universities partnership and inter-institutional academic collaborations; and to relate them in the current scenario for University of Canberra (UC) and Khalifa University (KU) to develop a framework matrix and research model. The expected major objectives of our research exercise are as follows:

- Provide answers/solutions to the identified research questions/problems as listed above
- Identify key attributes to develop partnership- collaboration framework and research model
- Increase visibility and raise awareness about this innovative idea in academia
- Foster collaborative partnerships and achieve mutually beneficial relationships b/w UC & KU
- Inspire UC students through powerful innovative & transformative experiential learning
- Gather all project stakeholders on a common page to understand the key idea and research problem, and to agree to implement solution(s) sequentially
- Create a base to be used for future research to develop research partnership and academic collaboration between Australian institutions and Middle East/ UAE universities
- Develop a mutual understanding and interdisciplinary collegiality amongst students and staff.

5. Methodology

Our current research project is an exploratory type of an open-ended short-term case study. Given the details and extents, this research study is subjective and focused on the non-quantitative type of analysis without any defined questionnaire. Our research work mainly includes our personal observations and extensive literature review accessible on multi-universities partnership and inter-institutional academic collaboration; relevant communications and open discussions made during the project group meetings; collected feedbacks, reviews and suggestions; analyses of existing information about identified two universities; and interpreting relevant organisational theories and literature pertaining to the current research topic.

While carrying out our literature review we have identified, analyzed and then compared the similarities in the key actors or attributes relevant to the multi-universities partnership and international collaboration. We have also examined existing model, frameworks and concepts to apply on our research question. Additionally, we have identified gaps in current research particularly, the international research partnerships and multi-universities collaboration. Our literature review is main contribution to current research to establish a logical framework matrix and thematic partnership-collaboration model to find the reliable answer(s). In fact, we have challengingly used both backward snowballing and forward snowballing techniques in our literature search to potentially seek the best fit solution to our research problem. We have well planned, selected and evaluated the literature based on key factors of our research question i.e. research partnership and academic collaboration and then segregated findings and conclusive evidence.

At the end of our literature review, we have combined the existing research findings, collected feedbacks during the project group meetings, our personal experiential learning and observations to form a theme with key attributes and usable variables. Based on the functions and importance, we have then grouped identified variables into three distinctive categories as detailed in next sections of this research report.

6. Timeline for the Project

During the idea generation and the planning stage of our research plan (Stage-1) when organisational constraints, project challenges, communication channels, assumptions and uncertainties were not well known and defined, about four (4) months’ time was anticipated to carry out proposed idea evaluation and developing a case study for UC formal acceptance. Under Stage-1 of our entrepreneurial journey of this proposed partnership and collaboration research study, we submitted our draft plan in September 2017 highlighting expected outcomes and delivered our idea pitch to BGL officials, HCT researcher and UC Partnership Development Manager in October 2017. This personal innovative idea was further discussed and shared with HCT Director and UC Funding Research Manager in December 2017 to seek a collective understanding of this plan and internally mutual acceptance to proceed with further steps.

Stage-1 of research plan has successfully been completed with the internal acceptance of proposed idea by UC management in previous group meeting held on 14th December 2017 at UC. Proposed partnership proposal was initially shared with KURI Research Director on September 09, 2017 through UAE Embassy as requested by Idea Initiator. Proposed partnership and collaboration plan was welcomed and accordingly, KURI asked for UC invitation and Skype meeting to explore further. Believing on the success of this overall innovative plan, we have initiated Stage-2 of our current research study which mainly includes a systematic primary qualitative research to evaluate previous findings, identify key pertinent attributes, academic similarities, gaps; and mutual benefits for developing partnership and collaboration opportunities between UC and KU. It is estimated that this analysing stage of our research plan will require around one (1) month until the end of January 2018.

Stage-2 of our partnership and collaboration research plan also includes faculties’ visits to both universities, preparing a draft agreement, signing a proper MoU and practical initiatives. Therefore, implementation duration of the second phase is hard to predict. Ultimate success of both short-term goals (KURI-HCT research partnership, scholarship, sponsorship etc.) and long-term goals (KU and UC collaboration, student and staff exchange programs) are depending upon participating universities’ management’ preferences, faculties’ directors’ priorities, UAE Higher Educational Ministry, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UAE Embassy located in ACT. Once preliminary concurrence is officially sought from relevant UAE officials, the actual schedule for remaining efforts can be predicted in consent with all key stakeholders. Below flow diagram in Figure-2 represents details of both stages of this research project along with corresponding activities and key completion dates:

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7. Previous Research on Similar Topic & Their Findings

The research problem/ question examined in the available literature about research partnership and academic collaboration fall into a number of categories. First, there is the question of how research partnership and academic collaboration between University of Canberra (UC) and Khalifa University (KU) is strategically aligned and mutually beneficial particularly within the existing distinct organisational spaces. A second category concerns the factors encouraging the formation of this partnership and collaborations between two dynamic institutes. Thirdly, various authors have attempted to identify the commonalities of collaboration, looking especially at the role of social, technical and physical proximities; and contributors towards a successful institutional collaboration. Lastly, adequate literature is available to analyse the advantages of research partnership and academic collaboration between two academic institutes representing both developed and developing countries.

In addition to our own personal observations, experiential learning and communications during the project group meetings; following are the past research on the similar topic(s) for which research discussions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations have helped us to identify key variables/ principal attributes presented in the following section of this report:

- Barry Bozeman, Daniel Fay and Catherine P. Slade (2012) carried out a detailed literature review on the research collaboration to develop a framework for organizing the research collaboration literature. They studied different data and methods to provide a strong evidence that collaboration tends to enhance the productivity of scientific knowledge. They identified three main attribute categories that are consistently analysed in the literature including collaborator attributes such as personal (race, national, origin), human capital (degree, field of training, tacit knowledge, network ties) and career (career stage, administrative, role); attributes about the collaboration in general such as process (openness, management style and structure) and composition (statuses, demographic mix, roles); and specific organizational or institutional attributes like (resource providers, regulations, competitions, organizational actors). They feel that the “evidence is clear that collaboration provides benefits. However, countless resources and human energies are invested in facilitating, inducing, and managing collaboration (Allen 1977; Hagedoorn et al. 2000; Sonnenwald 2007) and, thus, the question is not whether it provides benefits but whether those benefits are sufficient to warrant the prodigious investment of resources. (21 )

- Jonathan Pratt, Steve Mathhews, Elizabeth Hoult, Bruce Nairne and Stuart Ashenden (2011) carried out an international comparative study for UK universities and examined the effective way of sustaining community-university partnerships and highlighted relevant collaboration opportunities. They found out that “Collaboration at a sub-regional level has widely been seen by participants to have been a positive experience and most of the universities suggest that they will look for opportunities to continue to collaborate – a significant outcome from the project given the competitive nature of the relationship in order to engage communities, identify opportunities, and to scope, manage and, in some cases, deliver project activities. They further concluded that “Collaboration between universities may be an efficient and effective way of engaging with local communities but that such inter-university collaboration is not cost-free and requires high-level strategic buy-in by institutions. (22 )

- Rebeka Lukman, Damjan Krajnc and Peter Glavic (2009) carried out literature reviews of different variables to highlight the role of universities in the transition to regional sustainability and they developed a conceptual model on collaborative learning, university internal and external collaborations in regard to the University of Maribor, Slovenia. Their research revealed that previously, universities were looked upon by society as institutions for seeking knowledge and truth, and applying it, in order to solve the complex problems of society. They further explored that “Collaborative learning encourages people to think systematically and to learn actively from each other about particular problems or challenges. Collaborative learning and development present one option for higher education institutions to rethink their strategies and accept the need for change towards sustainable, innovative research and development, and networking or partnership, which would all have a positive impact on regional sustainability issues”. (23 )

- Stephen Wilkins (2011) studied the predictors in the Arab Gulf States such as United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar to find out the beneficiaries of foreign universities in the Arab Gulf States. His study shows that the Gulf States have been the largest recipients of transnational higher education globally, whilst Aus­tralia, the UK, and USA have been the largest provid­ers. Higher education in the Gulf States is helping to transform Gulf societies, by increasing labour market nationalisation, reducing youth unemployment, reducing the emigration of highly skilled labour, reducing currency outflows caused by nationals studying overseas, and by contributing to the creation of more highly diversified, knowledge-based economies. (24 )

- Siran MukerjI, & Nader K. Jammel (2008) identified commons perspectives and strategies towards collaboration in higher education in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Arab States by examining existing 62 universities in the GCC countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Their research results also comprised the Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Challenges (SWOC) analysis for determining the internal important factors affecting the higher education in GCC states. GCC countries together present an excellent opportunity for growth and development in higher education. Besides, this region also provides an excellent platform for area-specific development of educational programs and strategic partnership with international agencies involved in quality assurance in higher education.” They further concluded that “it is the need of this decade to provide an adequate platform to the youth for attaining and upgrading their levels of knowledge and competency within GCC countries. (25 )

- Benjamin F. Jones, Stefan Wuchty and Brian Uzzi (2008) carried out an extremely important research by examining 4.2 million papers published over three decades comparing the incidence of papers produced by different authorship structures to confirm the increase in multi-university collaborations in the felids of Science & Engineering, Social Sciences; and Arts & Humanities. They found that found that “multi-university collaborations (i) are the fastest growing type of authorship structure, (ii) produce the highest-impact papers when they include a top-tier university, and (iii) are increasingly stratified by in-group university rank. Despite the rising frequency of research that crosses university boundaries, the intensification of social stratification in multi-university collaborations suggests a concentration of the production of scientific knowledge in fewer rather than more centers of high-impact science.” (26 )

- Jonathon N. Cummings and Sara Kiesler (2005) as part of their collaborative analytical research across disciplinary and organizational boundaries, concluded that “In the past, dispersed forms of collaboration would have been made difficult by physical distance between scientists, which not only reduced the likelihood of collaboration but also had a negative impact on success (Allen, 1977; Kraut et al., 1990; Kiesler & Cummings, 2002). Today, dispersed collaborations are more feasible because communication technologies allow scientists to exchange news, data, reports, equipment, instruments, and other resources. They further added that “Collaborations can bring new ideas and approaches to a problem. However, the work arrangements that make these collaborations possible require a deliberate strategy for coordination. Collaborative projects should increase the likelihood of innovation due to their juxtaposition of ideas, tools, and people from different domains”. (27 )

- Roulla Hagen (2002) examined during her UK case study that “English and American universities are beginning to re-examine their traditional role and are strategically addressing some of the resources issues by forging global alliance amongst themselves, initially for their traditional mode of teaching and research, although knowledge transfer will ultimately be boundary-less. Further, global university collaboration and alliances, if successful, will have the benefit of securing an insider position in each other’s regional trading blocs, facilitate new programmes and processes by synergising expert bases in teaching, technology and R&D; increase speed of innovation to market; utilise complementary skills and assets that neither organisation can develop on their own; benefit from internalization of knowledge in unfamiliar areas from their partners”. (28 )

- Isabel Canto and Janet Hannah (2001) investigated in their research about academic collaboration between the United Kingdom and Brazil highlighting the core-periphery relationships attributes. They have concluded that from universities’ perspective, the partners would establish institutional relationships on the basis of mutual academic respect, each contributing unique and complementary inputs to produce mutually beneficial outcomes. In contrast with the traditional form of collaboration, the advanced neo-colonial partnership is not only based on collaboration between individuals but also mobilizes academically strong teams backed up by formal, institutional agreements. Whereas the “traditional” form of cooperation is concerned with the training of students and expert visits, the advanced neo-colonial partnership goes beyond this to engage in joint research and publications. In terms of policy and management of those links, in contrast with the traditional cooperation, this advanced partnership is based on bilateral agreements, carefully planned and monitored by both sides”. (29 )

8. Literature Review

8.1. What Motivates Research Partnership and Academic Collaboration

Although research collaboration has been studied extensively, we still lack understanding regarding the factors stimulating researchers to collaborate with different kinds of research partners including members of the same research center or group, researchers from the same organization, researchers from other academic and non-academic organizations as well as international partners (Iglic H, Doreian P, Kronegger L and Ferligoj A, 2017). (30 )

Dawn (2009) in one of its publication regarding the promotion of education has mentioned that “Only collaboration among people and institutions will promote research and development. Academic and research collaboration is primarily a relationship between people; the researchers or administrators of different institutions. In addition, the attitude of scientists and researchers must change to accommodate a culture of cooperation. The partnership among researchers ensures that their knowledge, skills and techniques are made available to everyone interested and mutually benefit the participants. Indeed collaboration with world-class education institutions can raise the standards of universities in developing countries through exposure to teaching, research, services and management methods. At the student level, institutional collaboration allows for an exchange of students that benefit both from the faculty exposure as well as academic culture and environment.” (31 )

John Hagedoorn, Albert N. Link and Nicholas S. Vonortas (2000) confirmed in their research that institutes collaborate and participate in research partnerships in order to: (12)

- decrease transaction costs in activities governed by incomplete contracts;
- broaden the effective scope of activities;
- increase efficiency, synergy, and power through the creation of networks;
- access external complementary resources and capabilities to better exploit existing resources and develop sustained competitive advantage;
- promote organisational learning, internalize core competencies, and enhance competitiveness;
- create new investment options in high-opportunity, high-risk activities;
- internalize knowledge spillovers and enhance the appropriability of research results, while increasing information sharing among partners;
- lower R&D costs; pool risk; and co-opt competition.
They further investigated that governments promote and support research partnerships in order to:
- correct market failures, particularly in the presence of highly non-appropriable research;
- speed up technological innovation, aiming at increased international competitiveness; and
- increase technological information exchange among firms, universities and research institutes

Hill M, Hudson A, McKendry S, Raven N, Saunders S, Storan J and Ward T, 2015 state “The widening participation framework in Australia has been assisted in recent times through the injection of funds made available through the HEPPP (Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program). Should this funding be discontinued, universities will need to find innovative ways to continue their outreach initiatives. While this may herald a new chapter in the Australian story of widening participation…this will not be possible, however, without the sustained commitment of capable, realistic and trustworthy partners. Not only are postgraduates exposed to university research activities, but also many become researchers, at least in the short term through participation”. (32 )

8.2. Benefits of Research Partnership and Academic Collaboration

Dawn (2009) details about the benefits of academic and research collaboration that “The more researchers collaborate, the greater are the chances for success and problem-solving. In developing countries, where world-class resources are extremely limited, collaboration becomes particularly valuable as a means to acquire knowledge and experience….Only collaboration among people and institutions will promote research and development. Institutional territorialism and being possessive of technical skills and material property not only prevents progress but also harms the overall higher education development structure in the country”. (33 )

The Dawn publisher further added that “Academic and research collaboration is a very valuable tool that not only accelerates the progress but also enhances the quality of the work and extends the repertoire of the partners. Academic collaboration is beneficial to the faculty in learning new teaching tools, and to the students in increasing the breadth of their knowledge and learning different approaches to solving a problem. The more researchers collaborate, the greater are the chances for success and problem-solving. In developing countries, where world-class resources are extremely limited, collaboration becomes particularly valuable as a means to acquire knowledge and experience. Their most valuable assets, the faculty and their research work, can be very beneficial and influential in receiving grants from other sources such as industries, foundations, and international organisations. In addition, they must go beyond territoriality and encourage fruitful collaborations and use of facilities, equipment and other resources as often as possible.” (33a )

8.3. General Perspectives and Strategies towards Collaboration in the Gcc Arab States

Siran Mukerji and Nader K. Jammel (2008) have identified the following commons perspectives and strategies towards collaboration in higher education in the GCC Arab States (including the United Arab Emirates) (25a) as illustrated in the below Table-1.

Table-1: SWOC Analysis

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The above analysis provides sufficient information about the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Challenges (SWOC) to determine the internal important factors contributing towards proposed partnership and collaboration plan with Arab higher education institutes such as Khalifa University located in the Middle East (GCC Arab state). Overall strengths and opportunities dominate in this comparison and encourage growth and development in the higher education sector.

8.4. Bilateral Relation between UAE and Australia

Strong bilateral relations encourage internationalisation and pave long-term bonds between nations including natural growth in cohesion of their social, cultural, educational and commercial linkages. Positive and dynamic relations between two countries also helps in strengthening the collaborations and partnerships in many economic and educational areas. Bilateral relations between Australia and the United Arab Emirates are multi-faceted and growing rapidly over the period of time. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trades-Australian Government mentioned under one of their published article namely Strong growth in Australia-UAE trade (2017) that:

“The UAE is Australia's largest trading partner in the Middle East by far. Two-way goods and services trade totalled nearly $9.3 billion in 2014-15, with Australian merchandise exports to the UAE growing 21 percent over that same period, making the UAE our 13th largest country destination worldwide. The UAE was also our tenth largest of foreign direct investment in 2014, with investments valued at nearly $15 billion. Currently, around 2,000 Australian companies export their products to the UAE and more than 360 have registered their business in the UAE itself. Australian companies are also very active in the services sector including education. Education is seen as an area of potential growth, with several Australian institutions active in the UAE market, including Wollongong University, which in year-1993 was the first private university to establish a campus in Dubai; Murdoch University, which opened in Dubai in 2007; the Australian International School Sharjah; the Victorian International School Sharjah; and a number of Australian institutions with partnerships with local institutions to deliver the Australian curriculum in-country. Higher education represents an important component of trade between Australia and the Middle East. International student enrolments in Australia from the Middle East have increased from 5,000 in 2003 to over 20,000 in 2013 (only 290 UAE students). In the last 10 years up to 2012-13, the value of education exports grew ten-fold, from $71 million to almost $700 million”. (34 )

8.5. Uae and Australian Demographics and Economies

Both countries are economically stable and flourishing in future as per recent economic forecasts available on Focus Economics. The UAE's economy is one of the most open worldwide. The UAE is the Middle East’s second-largest economy with estimated 9.9 million population, after Saudi Arabia (35 ). Its current GDP in 2017 was estimated at AUD 460 billion (23rd in global economic ranking), a predicted real GDP growth rate of around 2.7 percent with GDP per capita around AUD 51,075. Abu Dhabi is also investing heavily in educational institutions. Recently UAE Cabinet has approved a record AUD 17.80 billion federal budget for 2018 well focused on healthcare, education and community wellbeing. Around AUD 3.6 billion i.e. 17.1% of the overall budget has been allocated for general education and higher education. The government also set aside AUD 690 million to support government innovation through the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Innovation Fund. (36 )

Australia current population is approximately 24.3 million with current GDP in 2017 was estimated at AUD 1.73 trillion (13th in the global economic ranking), a predicted real GDP growth rate of around 2.5 percent with GDP per capita around AUD 65,980. Australia is also investing heavily in educational institutions. Recently Australian federal government has approved a record AUD 33.8 billion federal budget for 2017-2018 education. (37 ) The current economic stance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is established on flexible market policies and economic openness. The UAE is actively seeking to diversify its economy away from crude oil and traditional commodities to more diversified market sectors. According to Australian Trade and Investment Commission (2017), “With the drop in the oil prices, the UAE is reinforcing its focus on transitioning to a knowledge-based economy by promoting innovation, research and development”. (38 )

As compared to Australia, UAE is a relatively smaller federation with stable and rapid economic growth. UAE still falls under the category of developing category which sooner is upgraded to developed nations in near future. It always encourages internalisation and globalisation well combined with their technological advancement and research collaboration. Therefore, (Syed, Dadwal, Rutter, Storr, J Hightower, Gooden, Carlet, Nejad, Kelley, Donaldson and Pittet, 2012) anticipated that “blending global knowledge and innovations from developing countries will undoubtedly transform future modes of international cooperation and any benefits accrued therefrom. Also, benefits accrued by developed countries from partnering with developing countries were found…These benefits predominantly influence education and training and include examples such as improved employee morale, heightened learning, better information sharing, personal and professional development, improved relationships, and a greater awareness”.(39 )

Economic strengths and strong governess of both countries indicate continued policies of injecting technological advancement, innovation, entrepreneurial trends and research development; therefore, opportunity of research partnerships and long-term collaboration is normally expected between two growing public institutions as well. This is more evident from previous research that partnerships between developed (UC-ACT) and developing (KU in UAE) economies are more natural and mutually beneficial for both partners. In reality, UAE is more generous in higher education funding, student innovative fund, ideas incubator support and research promoting programs. For example, KURI recently (between Jan 2016 to December 2017) funded international research programs up to AUD 2.8 Million (5a) those are significant contributors towards robotics and technological advancement.

8.6. Collaboration Trending Nations/ Regions

Philip G. Altbach (2004) suggests “Western universities can be seen as the new neo-colonists, seeking to domi­nate not for ideological or political reasons but rather for commercial gain. He argues that the trend of glo­balisation of higher education is likely to lead to fur­ther inequalities, whereby the leading universities in English-speaking countries and in some of the larger European Union countries grow stronger and more dominant, while universities in smaller and develop­ing countries become increasingly marginalised. Adopting Altbach’s concept of centres and peripheries, Donn and Al Manthri (2010, p. 155) sug­gest that the Gulf States (GCC) are on the periphery, becom­ing increasingly marginalised, as the ‘centres’ grow stronger”. (40 )

According to UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030, released in November 2015 “One in four scientific articles produced around the world were cosigned by a foreign collaborator in 2014, compared to one in five a decade earlier” (41 ). In a recent report ‘International scientific collaboration has become a must, published in October 2017 “The greatest leap of all in the international collaboration between 2005 and 2014 took place in the Arab States of Asia, where it progressed from 44% to 77% of articles. The next regions with the greatest ratios of international scientific collaboration are Central Asia (61–71% of articles). The lowest ratios of all are to be found in South Asia (26%) and Southeast Asia (28%), where China (24%) and India (23%) lean towards the bottom of the scale. By 2014, 86% of scientific articles were the fruit of international scientific collaboration in low-income countries (compared to 82% in 2005) and almost 38% in lower middle-income countries (up from 32%). In high-income countries, 1 in 3 (34%) articles had a foreign co-author by 2014, up from 28%”. (42 )

As stated in the Australian Government publication (The Value of International Education to Australia) that “Only in year-2010, around 43.8% of research articles by Australia were produced in collaboration with international partners. While historically most of these collaborations would have been with other developed countries, it is possible that as the search capabilities of Australia’s key source markets increase over time, there will be future opportunities for collaboration in other Asian countries.” (43 )

Katz and Hicks (1997) have established that “as compared to single-authored papers, collaboration with domestic researchers increases the citation rate by 0.75 citations, whereas collaboration with researchers in other countries increases by 1.6 citations internationally”. (44 ) Further, Katz (2000) makes arguments about the size of institutions and the tendency to collaborate among the institutions, “smaller educational institutions have a greater propensity than larger ones to collaborate domestically, particularly with industrial partners and other educational institutions”. He also highlights that “relatively larger institutions are more likely to engage in international collaborations and that collaborations tend to exhibit linear increases as the size of institutions increase”. (45 )

Based on the above research’ findings, discussion and promoting common factors between two identified partners, relatively stronger international collaboration between UC and KU and long-term research partnership between HCT and KURI are expected in the case, this pioneering plan implemented in its true meanings. Hopefully, it will surge both universities’ co-authored research articles, global citations; and improve international rankings with increased staff-students exchange programs.

8.7. People to People Linkages

People-to-people contacts have expanded rapidly on the back of the strong growth of direct air links. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-Australia mentioned that “As of December 2015, over 130 return flights per week operate between the UAE and Australia. An estimated 23,000 Australians live and work in the UAE. In 2015, there were approx. 600 Emirati students studying in Australia and Australia is a popular holiday destination for Emiratis. Recent high profile official visits include” (46 ):

- January 2016: Senator Colbeck, Minister for Tourism and International Education and Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment, visited the UAE.
- January 2016: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the UAE.
- December 2015: The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry into Australia's trade and investment relationships with the Middle East visited the UAE.
- April 2015: Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Andrew Robb MP, visited the UAE.
- February 2015: HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Australia.
- January 2015: Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, visited the UAE.
- January 2015: Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited the UAE.

As cited in one of the Parliament of Australia’s publication “visits to and from the Middle East play a role also in enhancing mutual understanding and respect between the Australian and Middle Eastern cultures”. (47 ) In real life during the formation of our Robot Crowd Group-1, diversity in thoughts was brought by actual geographic mix. While creating ideas and brain storming it was observed that different minds yield entrepreneurial ideas. Certainly, the creation of this partnership-collaboration plan is invested in the geographic diversity and collegiality.

During Stage-1 and Stage-2 of our research project, UAE Diplomat in Canberra also cooperated munificently in the development of this partnership action plans. He also played an important role in the timely progress of this research plan and contributed expressively throughout the coordination with UAE Embassy in ACT. Further, HCT researchers also has truthful relation with KURI Director which was established over many years while working on similar research in Robotics. These two examples which we have experienced during this research study in fact prove the strength of above findings.

8.8.Openness in Uae and Australian Organisational Cultures

Social, cultural, educational and other commercial and technological links between Australia and United Arab Emirates have been underpinned by the contribution made to local community by UAE officials, businessmen, students, funders and visitors. With the increasing trend of UAE higher/ tertiary education students in Australian universities, UAE/ Emirati students have been diffusing their original thoughts, linguistic skills and native knowledge in local ethos especially, in the diversified transnational education culture.

According to the Australasian Middle East Studies Association (AMESA) “Student exchanges represent an important potential field of contact between universities in Australia and the Middle East, but relatively few Australian students take the opportunity to spend time at universities in the Middle East as part of their undergraduate or postgraduate degrees. There is more movement the other way, with students from the Middle East spending a part of their degree course in Australia. However the overall numbers are small compared with student exchanges with other parts of the world.” (48 )

Akkerman S, Admiraal W, Simon R.J and Nissen T (2006), Star and Griesemer (1989) have noted that, “scientific work is heterogeneous, requiring many different actors and viewpoints as well as requiring collaboration. Academics are particularly engaged in and motivated by international collaboration projects. As Knorr Cetina (1999) has pointed out, epistemic cultures, shaped by affinity, necessity and historical coincidence, determine how people know and what they know. As a crossing between epistemic cultures, these international collaboration projects, weargue, require academics to intensively share and create what they know, and so develop their professional expertise as well as enrich the various research communities that they are representing”.(13a) Also, Isabel Canto and Janet Hannah (2001) emphases on the learning of local English language and states “the standard adoption of the language of the core partner is a manifestation of neo-colonialism, and the standard adoption of English as the language of communication in academic collaborations”. (28a)

Although both counties governmental structures are quite different on federation level due to existing kingdom ruling in UAE however, existing literature indicates robust contemporary structure in their numerous organisations including public education institutes due to rapid globalisation in UAE and presence of international firms who boosted English as a bilingual language in the UAE. Recently in October 2017, United Arab Emirates has introduced Ministry of Artificial Intelligence (AI) which has made UAE as the first nation in the world with agovernment minister dedicated to AI. This, in fact, is the continuation of their technological development policies which also enables KU to organize International Robotic Challenges similar to what Australian Universities and Robotics industry have developed locally. Furthermore, management structure and organisational hierarchy of UC and KU are also similarly aligned with sharing powers i.e. vertical organisational chain of command emphasizing institutional research. This also helps in vibrant coordination and a better understanding of roles of individual departments in the development of research partnerships between KURI and HCT.

8.9. Globalization and Geographic Location

As cited in Marquez 2002, published in UNESCO 2003 that “Concepts of space and location are no longer constraining factors to either the process of production to the process of exchange… Globalisation can apply quite easily to many areas of human endeavor, including knowledge production and knowledge dissemination”. (49 ) An interesting view was expressed by Faishree K. Odin and Peter T. Manicas (2004) that “On the way to the globalization of higher education, universities will have their teaching contents globalized, students will become internationalized, and the latest technologies for teaching and learning will be used. Governments will need to push higher education beyond national borders. Universities must actively improve their level of teaching, expand their scale, and strive to improve reputations by seeking joint programs with partners in other countries”. (50 )

Abu Dhabi is capital city of United Arab Emirates and Canberra is also capital city of Australia. Abu Dhabi is about 12,000 km far from Canberra located in the North-western side of Australian Continent. (51 ) Canberra ACT is 6-7 hours ahead of Abu Dhabi considering international time zones. (52 ) Based on recent literature review, it is clear that internet has indeed made communications distances negligible. Positively, internet speed for both cities are measured above the global average broadband speed of 7Mbps (53 ) which surely is helping in quick communication between two partners, researchers, staff and students.

Rajneesh Narula and Geert Duysters (2004) presented an interested conclusion that “The growth of collaborative activity is greatly influenced by the process of globalisation. Globalisation has affected the need of organisations to collaborate, in that organisations now seek opportunities to cooperate, rather than identify situations where they can achieve majority control”. (54 )

8.10. Cross-Cultural and Academic Comparison of Uc and Ku

The cross-cultural and academic comparison is another important aspect to be considered while anlysing multi-universities partnerships and international collaboration. Consistencies and commonalities of both partners’ working style, operations and managerial structure positively influence the strength of research partnerships and academic collaborations. One of the measurement is to compare partners’ strategic vision and objectives and find out similarities in their strategic goals for their institutions.

Proposed collaboration plan with KU and research partnership with KURI is a unique idea and evidently outside normal organisational boundaries involving cross-cultural interactions. This plan was initiated by the individuals (MBA students at UC) irrespective of the routine departmental roles and management responsibilities, therefore, it requires more efforts for researchers to identify and investigate relevant contributors/ influencers to validate new partnerships.

Evangellos Dedoussis (2004) mentioned in his research paper related to a cross-cultural comparison of organizational culture that “There is certainly no shortage of comparative organizational and management studies in the literature. However, the inclusion of Arab countries in such comparative studies has, so far, been the notable exception than the norm (Miller and Sharda, 2000; Sidani and Gardner, 2000).” (55 )

Further, studies by Hofstede (1991), Triandis (1972), and Hall and Hall (1990) reveal that “cultural value orientations differ significantly across cultures and countries. Links between communications differences and cultural value differences have been found across various countries. Instead, as globalization continues, we need nuanced views of culture that allow for change (Citation from Qiong Xu and Richard Mocarski, 2014)”. (56 ) Jonathon N. Cummings and Sara Kiesler (2005) concluded in their study “Multi-university collaborations draw on diverse resources and expertise, but they impose coordination costs for bridging institutional differences and geographic distance. Geography also increases the coordination costs for multi-university collaborations”. (57 )

Based on the above discussion and researchers’ findings, strategic plans of both universities are compared and common objectives in particular related to international partnerships and cross-institutional collaborations have been investigated. Below are few examples of such identified similarities in both universities’ strategic goals associated with the promotional sense of international collaboration:

- “Enabled by a state-of-the-art digital footprint, we will leverage the scale of our global network and UC’s rising reputation to rationalise, strengthen and selectively expand our educational partnerships, as well as introduce new models of collaboration and inter-institutional student mobility.” (6a)
- “At its heart will be the principles of co-creation and collaboration, offering fresh opportunities for national and international partnerships, transformational research, enriched learning experiences and vibrant commercial and networking activities”. (6b)
- “UC to be a global hub of learning partnerships”. (6c)
- “To simulate a high-quality competitive research through the establishment of an internal research fund. To build partnerships with external stakeholders to generate resources for research and graduate education and to be the preferred research partner for UAE enterprises”. (9a)
- “Develop effective strategic partnerships with leading international and local universities” (9b)
- “Build strong capabilities for support of international academic partnerships”. (9c)

8.11. Similarities in Kuri and Hct Knowledge Areas

During our current research project, we have found significant similarities in the offered programs and expertise between Khalifa Universities Robotics Institute (KURI) and Human Centred Technology (HCT) University Canberra as highlighted in the Table-2 below. Both departments have common expertise in robotics and machine language which can be shared and augmented with each other, however, HCT is found more technologically advanced in artificial intelligence, computation intelligence and human-machine interactions. Our further investigation also showed us considerable resemblances in both universities’ strategic plans of strengthening international academic partnerships and promoting globalised education as discussed in above section earlier.

Table-2: Khalifa University Robotics Institute ( KURI ) and Human Centred Technology ( HCT ) Common Objectives, Programs and Expertise:

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As cited in Sarojni Choy & Brian Delahaye (2011) “There were two main aspects of the flexibility of which the academics were mindful. First, flexibility and collaboration in the composition of the content, and second, its teaching, learning and assessment had to be ‘located and bounded’ as suggested by Boud and Solomon (2001). The findings in this case study substantiate that successful work-integrated learning is premised on a learning partnership where the power over the curriculum and pedagogy are shared. It invariably involves learning by both partners and such learning is better facilitated through a redistribution of power-relations between the two parties”. (58 )

8.12. Kuri and Hct Current Inter-Institutional Research Collaborations

The sightings in our early literature review indicate KURI and HCT existing collaborations with their domestic as well as internationally recognized counterparts. Being relatively younger institute, KURI‘s total number of partnerships are lesser but found active internationally. On other hand, HCT collaborators and partners are mostly located in either Australia or Western countries.

Computational intelligence, machine language, artificial intelligence and robotics are a major interest of UAE government these days. Therefore, it is the best time that HCT researchers and executives to extend their expertise and amplify knowledge platform to a new area of partnerships and collaboration such as with KURI/ KU. This will mutually benefit both institutes and increase their visibility on the globe. The major collaboration partners of HCT and KURI are illustrated in Table-3 as below.

Table-3: List of Major Collaboration Partners for HCT and KURI

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8.13. Gaps for Future Opportunities

Exploring further and going deep into KU education program, revealed to us a gap of business faculty. At present KU with its two merging partners namely (i) The Petroleum Institute and (ii) Masdar Institute of Science & Technology are mainly focused on Engineering, Science and Research. Therefore, we are anticipating a strong opportunity to develop a faculty of Business, Management and Governess at KU in near future. At present, local community and expatriates who are working in multi-national firms in UAE are seeking for an international university or local university to offer them recoginsed foreign accredited master’s degree programs. Most of the locals in Abu Dhabi travel to Dubai (300km to and fro traveling distance, 4-5 hours driving time) enhancing their higher education in management, business and governess to cope with the market demand.

As cited in Steve Garlick (1998), “Communities are also now looking more and more toward their universities and other higher education institutions to provide them with some of the skills, tools, research and development, intellectual argument and analysis, information and networks they need to give them the edge to compete with credibility and authority with other regions in the national and international arena”. (29a) John Hagedoorn, Albert N. Link and Nicholas S. Vonortas (2000) presented their interesting views that “Access to external complementary resources may be necessary in order to fully exploit the existing resources and develop sustained competitive advantages. Alliances, including research partnerships, can facilitate access. Alliances may, however, work better in some environments than in others (Chesbrough and Teece, 1996)”. (12a)

This identified gap can lead to an opportunity exploitation for UC to develop a faculty of Business, Management and Governess (BGL), provide necessary training, curricula development and establish teachers-students exchange program for Emirati/ UAE students. Further, Human Centred Technology (HCT) Research Centre’s professionals can also expand its multi-disciplinary research and development project i.e. RAPP (Robots, Art, People and Performance) enabling Emirati students to experiment and explore Artificial Intelligence (AI) through creativity and interactive workshops. These opportunities can bring new businesses, research programs, scholarships, funding sources and also help both universities to enhance their global prominence and international ranking.

As cited in J. Sylvan Katz, Ben R. Martin (1997) “Numerous initiatives have been launched with the aim of developing collaboration among individual researchers, bringing them together, for instance, in new or larger centres of excellence, or alternatively in interdisciplinary research groups. Furthermore, most governments have been keen to increase the level of international collaboration engaged in by the researchers whom they support in the belief that this will bring about cost savings or other benefits”. (43a)

8.14. Collective Goals and Mutual Benefits

Jenny M. Lewis, Sandy Ross and Thomas Holden (2012) concluded in one of their research paper that “Scientific research productivity has been closely linked to high levels of collaboration and consequently many developed countries seek to stimulate collaboration through a mix of research grant schemes and grant criteria. Such measures are designed to fund collaborative research based on particular models of collaboration. Further, academics across all disciplines undertake a collaborative activity, but not all collaboration has the same level of visibility”. (59 )

“Partners should be aligned around a purpose they all explicitly share. Such alignment will underpin and drive the partnering endeavour forward, create energy and engagement, and foster the emergence of collective intelligence. At the same time, partners should be clear and explicit on the benefit to their own organisations of involvement in the partnering endeavor. Further, Openness and transparency about what partners would like to achieve is the basis for gaining support from fellow partners. Ensuring mutual benefit is the basis for building enduring commitment from the partner organisations”. (Citation from PEP: Promoting Effective Partnering, 2017). (60 )

Commonly identified vision and strategic objectives of both universities; gaps in their offered educational expertise and student exchange programs; and policies about research funding, entrepreneurship and innovation cultures lead towards sorting out the collective goals through this partnership and collaboration plan. Developing partnership on the identified common objectives may result into mutual benefits for both partners such as research partnership between KURI and HCT in the field of bio-robotics, artificial intelligence and; Aerial, ground and marine robotic vehicles.

9. Personal Observations, Project Group Meetings and Feedbacks

9.1. Personal Experience and Observations:

Under this section, we have detailed out all of our personal observations gathered during the idea generation, plan sharing and project launching periods including our living experiences during our overseas stay at Abu Dhabi from 2010-2016. Initially, we took the responsibilities to create an idea and transform those into awareness programs within UC boundaries. Our group namely Robot Crowd Group-1orginally created total six (6) plans comprising social events, fundraising activities, developing new units’ outlines and visualising a conceptual bridge of universities’ partnership and collaboration. Few of them are already accomplished in the UC campus by mutual teamwork with other unit’s groups. This innovative partnership plan under study involves external stakeholders, different working spaces and time taking multi-disciplinary cooperation especially between BGL and HCT.

Our student group performed project activities depending upon the varying levels of collegiality and collaboration irrespective of existed institutional environment. Indeed, previous experiences of each member and learning in the diversified atmosphere from their native institutes help all to better understand, organise and execute our Stage-1 activities. Personal attitudes played very vital roles in our group cooperation and internal collaboration. It is a difficult and boundary crossing proposal for which we also beard substantial resistance from different departments and officials. We personally feel that change is never easy, and it always upsets management and oftentimes penetrate the power of administrators. We observed, “swimming against the streams is exciting fun and important for success”.

Without mutual trust, team-work and cooperative attitude, it is hard to work together and achieve some common objective on a larger scale like this proposed plan, initiated by student(s). During our journey towards development of this research partnership and academic collaboration plan, we being students also got learning experiences of (i) change management and the way to organise the innovation process (ii) managing creativity by achieving the right mix of purposes, practices, and people (iii) working in multicultural and diversified organisational spaces (iv) network of power at interconnected levels: micro, meso, and macro levels (v) unfreezing and refreezing, exploration and exploitation (vi) deep and creative thinking linked with innovation.

Charles Handy (1995, p. 4) in ‘Beyond Certainty: A personal Odyssey’ stated that ‘Organisations are rightly seen as the instruments of wealth creation ... but we now see more clearly, in their turn, the individuals inside the organisation have become its instruments, subordinated to the goals of the organisation, used and/ or discarded as needed”. (61 ) Collaborative learning can be seen to occur through dialogue, social interaction, and joint decision-making with others, and these shared processes contribute greatly to individual and collective growth, as well as to co-constructed understanding and knowledge (Vygotsky 1978). (62 ) We personally believe in this idea and recognise our institutional responsibility towards UC Strategic goals and its vision. Truly, our inspiration of this research study is derived from UC Distinctive by Design Strategic Plan 2018. We take this document as live instructions which deeply emphasis on collegiality, team-work; student entrepreneurship; experiential learning; deep & creative thinking; and global connectivity through diversified opportunities for international academic exchanges. “This sense of trust and collegiality is fundamental to the authenticity and success of the collaboration. More formalized collaborative practices may develop over time and can include an open-ended variety of practices: collaborative peer groups and critical friendships” (Farrell 2001). (63 )

From our personal living experiences in UAE, we have also noticed that both UAE government and KU administration are trustworthy, open minded, innovation lovers and generous towards their nation development activities and schemes. UAE, in fact, is a well-defined federation, functioning under dynamic rulers and future-oriented ministries, therefore, they more often accept creative ideas which are beneficial to their people and coming future generation. And obviously, this research project and this partnership-collaboration plan will be providing them another chance to expand their educational boundaries, visibility and also strengthen bilateral relation with Australia in education sectors as well.

9.2. Collected Feedbacks (Internal and External)

Draft partnership and collaboration plan was discussed with Ms. Diane Phillips and sought necessary comments and valuable suggestions such as comparing both institutes’ organisational structure, management style, strategic objective, previous partnerships and highlight mutual benefits etc. Deficiencies in the submitted original plan were corrected in September 2017 and all the received comments were well incorporated in the final submission. This partnership and collaboration idea was shared with the project team in the form of an in-class presentation and accordingly, their encouraging feedbacks were gathered during our idea pitch. Further, presentation copies and handouts were distributed and forwarded to senior management such as BGL Dean, HCT-Director and Head of School of Management for their feedbacks. One of the noticeable feedback was to develop this project plan into a draft agreement highlighting mutually beneficial areas of partnerships.

This plan was also shared with Director of KURI in Abu Dhabi through UAE diplomats in September 2017. Proposed partnership and collaboration plan was appreciated by KURI and they asked for UC invitation and Skype meeting to explore further. In parallel, HCT researchers also received similar positive responses from KURI in their replies. Both internal and external feedbacks about this plan have been analysed and based on the common consent, it has been decided that UC Partnership Development Manager will communicate to UAE Embassy and KU for confirming their interest officially. UAE Embassy official, in particular, UAE Second Ambassador-ACT was also communicated, and the proposal was discussed. He agreed with the presented objectives, however, highlighted that UAE Embassy-ACT would need a letter from UC to initiate this plan formally.He further explained that UAEEmbassy-ACT would also send UC letter toMinistry of Higher Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek their official responses to this partnership andcollaborationproposal. This requirement was shared with project team for necessary actions in the project group meetings.

9.3. Project Group Meetings and Outcomes

After the initial acceptance of research partnership and academic collaboration plan by BGL under Stage-1 of this research project, four (4) group meetings were arranged as follows:

1. Meeting between Idea Initiator and Idea Key Supporter I.e. Idea Development Team (22nd November 2017)

2. Meeting between Idea Initiator with UAE Embassy Diplomat (27th November 2017)

3. Meeting between Idea Initiator, UAE Embassy Diplomat and UC Partnership Development Manager (December 5th, 2017)

4. Meeting between Idea Initiator, Idea Key Supporter, Project Coordinator, UC Partnership Development Manager, HCT-Director, HCT-Robotics Researcher and UC Funding Research Manager (December 14th, 2017)

Main discussion points and key outcomes of these meetings are as follows:

- Idea Initiator/ idea Generator and Idea Key Supporter presented introductions and update team with ongoing activities and UAE Embassy request for UC letter.

- Project Coordinator/ Idea Key Supporter talked to Head of School of Management-BGL for this plan follow-up. It was further requested to Head of School of Management-BGL that she needs to bring this plan to the attention of the Associate Dean of Research at BGL.

- Idea Development Team highlighted that for required official correspondences with UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), UAE embassy in ACT requires a letter from UC/ BGL indicating their interest or preliminary concurrence to the proposed research partnership and collaboration proposal with Khalifa University (KU).

- UC Partnership Development Manager contacted Associate Director of Research at ESTEM Faculty to provide an ‘International Visit Request’ approved by the Dean which indicates the specific areas of cooperation they wish to pursue. Once received UC Visits & Delegations Manager will be able to prepare a letter of invitation to be sent via UAE Embassy to notify Khalifa University of UC interest to explore collaboration and inviting representatives from the university to visit Canberra.

- It was suggested and agreed that initial discussion with KU must be highlighting commonalties like research partnerships with KURI and HCT and then next step will be the development of a new faculty in KU as agreed by both partners in future.

- HCT-Robotics Researcher and HCT-Director agreed to the identified research partnership with KURI and shown their interest in official meetings with KURI.

- HCT-Robotic Researcher shared that in July 2018, an international robotic competition to be held in Austria in which KURI representative(s) would also be participating and therefore, it can be a better opportunity to meet with KURI officials and also invite them for UC visit.

- UC Funding Research Manager was more focused on the type of agreement and timeline of this project. She encouraged Idea Development Team and discussed the plan with UC Partnership Development Manager to further understand how it aligns with UC strategies.

- It was shared that nominated UAE Embassy Diplomat will communicate with UC Partnership Development Manager and UAE Ministry of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UAE Ministry of Higher Education

- Idea Development Team informed all the attendees that they are working on final research project/paper about this unique plan.

It took time to gain trust and confidence of all project group members. Indeed, the similarities in robotics programs, people-to-people linkages, strong bilateral relations of two countries, worthy cooperation between researchers in KURI and HCT and personal motivation and overall passion enabled all of us to start believing on the success of this proposal. In our last meeting held at UC during December 2017, almost all the team members are found optimistic for the smooth implementation of this plan. Next meeting date has not yet announced due to local holidays in Canberra. Next project group meeting is expected in February 2018 after the commencement of new classes.

9.4. Project Constraints and Challenges:

Following constraints and challenges have been identified by the project team members:

- Different working spaces and collaborative capabilities
- Diverse organisational and management structures
- Demographic variation and geographic distances
- Unexpected stakeholders’ influences
- Different intellectual property provisions
- Knowledge leakage by partners
- Political and bilateral relations
- Institutional values and preferences
- Lack of interdisciplinary teamwork and cooperation

It is estimated that most of these constraints will generally be diffused positively by increasing communication, common understanding and widening institutional visits in future; and therefore, will not require urgent mitigation. However, mutual agreement on the unexpected stakeholders’ influences, knowledge leakage and different intellectual property provisions need to be established through signed MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) and DA (Disclosure Agreement) to avoid any undesirable consequences. Both well-renowned universities already have proven organisational procedures for cross-cultural international partnerships, therefore, breech in confidentialities is also not expected.

10. Identified Attributes for Establishing an Open Relationship

Based on our extensive literature review, analyses of previous research’ findings on multi-universities partnerships and international collaboration between two higher education providing institutes, our personal experiences, relevant observations, collected feedbacks and received reviews during the project group meetings; following three (3) levels attributes’ categories are developed containing twenty-four (24) identified variables:

A. Personal/ Individual Attributes (Level-1, Small Scale):

illustration not visible in this excerpt

B. Institutional/ Organizational Attributes (Level-2, Medium Scale):

illustration not visible in this excerpt

C. Governmental/ Regional Attributes (Level-3, Large Scale):

illustration not visible in this excerpt

These identified twenty-four (24) variables under the given three (3) categories of illustrated attributes are purely based on our mentioned sources of analyses which are mainly relevant to this research project and might differ for other ongoing and future research on similar topics. From the available resources, it has been observed that second level category i.e. institutional attributes are more important for medium and large size partnership and collaborations. While personal attributes play key role in the initiation of ideas and group cooperation to achieve mutual concurrence. Further, without achieving collective agreement on the 3rd level i.e. regional attributes, it is hard to predict the success of a heterogeneous international collaboration between multiple institutions.

Therefore, it is important that partners must be well familiar with the above identified attributes as a benchmark for mutual compatibility prior initiating partnership building and launching collaboration plan. Within the given organisational administrative peripheries and managerial boundaries, partnership development manager and officials who are responsible for the collaboration development; must compare at least the corresponding partners’ attributes to better under organizational behaviors and institutional performances; and to anlyse the anticipated impacts of proposed partnership and collaboration plan(s).

11. Results

As result of our personal observations, experiential learning, literature review, collected feedbacks, analyses and project meetings, we have developed the following framework matrix and theoretical model:

1) A specific logical framework matrix which is equipped with the identified attributes to compare partners’ relevant behaviors. This generated framework matrix can also be applied to other universities partnerships and institutional collaborations as fit into their own arrangements. Refer to Table-4 (next page) for constructed “Logical Framework Matrix” signifying impacts for the success or failure of this proposed partnership and collaboration plan between KU/KURI and UC/HCT.

2) A three (3) levels “inter and inter-institutional partnership and collaboration model” demonstrating importance and involvement of each category level of identified attributes.

Figure-3: Inter and Intra Institutional Partnership and Collaboration Model

illustration not visible in this excerpt

- Level-1 collaboration require mainly personal/ individual attributes which are adequate to establish internal and group-based collaboration.

- Level-2 collaboration require both personal/ individual as well as institutional/ organisational attributes to be met for a successful intra-institutional/ inter-disciplinary collaboration on departmental levels.

- Level-3 collaboration require all levels of attributes i.e. Level-1, Level-2 and Level-3 to be met positively while covering personal/ individual, institutional/ organisational and governmental/ regional features sufficiently.

Table-4: Logical Framework Matrix

illustration not visible in this excerpt

12. Implications

The findings, resultant logical framework matrix, and theoretical research model; derived from this study will be valuable to universities’ officials, partnerships development managers, higher education students, and researchers to understand the linkages of different levels of collaboration and partnership' attributes and to evaluate the importance of research partnership and inter-institutional collaboration. Furthermore, it will also help to better realize the antecedents leading to the development of partnerships and collaboration on various levels. Most of the reviewed research papers, news articles, journals are mainly focused on the advantages, trends of research and outcomes of organisational partnerships and institutional collaboration which do not provide a direct answer to our research question. Therefore, we have deeply analysed the available contents of various applicable sources on this topic. Based on the resultant evaluation and our personal observations, we have constructed a logical framework and model to apply to our research problem and find a reliable solution.

12.1 Theoretical Implications

Currently, there is no theory and literature available on the research problem due to its specificity and uniqueness. This research study contributes to evidence of the relationships between different identified attributes, investigated under the current research through three (3) influencing levels towards partnership and collaboration development. Given the relatively broader scope of research works and newly identified attributes in comparison to those variables identified by other similar research, this study provides a solid basis for inter-institutional partnership and international academic collaboration between UC/HCT and KU/KURI.

12.2 Practical Implications

Findings of this research project should stimulate discussion about the inter-institutional and inter-institutional partnerships individually to regionally. Given the importance of international partnership and collaborations between major higher education providers, which is apparent in our comprehensive literature review; perhaps more project-related conferences, workshops, and travel to partners’ institutes would confirm the results of the developed matrix and theoretical partnership-collaboration model. Additional implications for practice that should be considered in terms of developing new partnerships and international collaboration especially, between Australian and Middle Eastern universities are (i) to permit disciplines for adjusting current interdisciplinary boundaries towards departmental cooperation and (ii) to encourage multi-disciplines’ students to creatively take part into the result-oriented exercises (experiential learning) towards the improvement of institution. For example; this study shows that how two MBA students realised, visioned, originated, evaluated and developed a large-scale idea of international partnership and collaboration; and how parent institution reacted, supported and encouraged to transform this plan into a real-life research project and expected research partnership between HCT and KURI and academic collaboration between UC and KU in near future. Though the findings do not guarantee the higher success of this partnership-collaboration plan, however, the results are significant enough to reveal that identified partners i.e. UC/HCT and KU/KURI are favourably aligned in numerous attributes (regionally, institutionally, strategically and individually) with augmented positive impacts towards the successful implementation of this plan.

13. Limitations of this Study

This is a real-life research study which is mostly focused on the relevant available literature review about institutional partnerships and collaborations in addition to our personal experiences and collective observations (beginning from the idea generation to ongoing activities) related to this specific plan. Current research analyses and study works are divided into two stages i.e. Stage-1 (idea generation to formal acceptance of research partnership and collaboration plan by UC management) and Stage-2 (in-depth literature review, research proposal development, completion of final research project up to the signing of MoU including agreement preparation). Due to time limitation allowed by UC during summer semester 2017-2018, this research study does not cover actual outcomes of faculties’ overseas visits, external communication with KU and UAE Embassy-ACT, lessons learned, preparation of draft initial agreement and final MoU (Memorandum of Understanding).

Regarding the limitations of our study, we have mainly focused on (i) existing readily available information and personal observations during different phases of this project; (ii) particular similarities and (iii) gaps between UAE and Australia, between KU and UC and between KURI and HCT. This combined information helped us to develop a partnerships-collaboration model and logical framework matrix. We haven’t gone further to deeply investigate all aspects of organisational behaviors, managerial priorities and un-identified conflicting attribute(s).

Moreover, due to UC procedural restraint, this research project does not include KURI and KU management involvement and their point of views on the identified partnership-collaboration plan. This study possibly testifies to the lack of complete information of both partners and the newness of the developing function of international collaboration and partnership. In any case, the lack of knowledge of these mentioned areas highlights the need for further research into this field, as well as sharing of experiences and good practices across academia, government and society. Other areas for further research could include those not covered by our study such as research to analyse the role of collegiality in institutional improvement conducted from the perspective of other actors like students’ preferences, unit outlines, student-teacher relations, personal spaces and disciplinary boundaries etc.

14. Recommendations

This study is primarily focused on multi-university partnership and collaboration in particular between Khalifa University-Abu Dhabi, UAE and the University of Canberra-Australian Capital Territory, Australia (including robotics research labs KURI and HCT). The identified twenty-four (24) variables under the developed categories of three levels attributes are based on our reviewed literature and personal observation only. Future study would conceivably produce more significant results of similar partnership and collaboration topic(s) by including more distinctive variable(s) or focusing on the contributing factor(s) of the variable(s) in a more uniformly single relationship.

Additionally, by increasing the extent of this research study (including KU and KURI researchers and management interviews); developing a project specific questionnaire to seek insight of both sides i.e. UC and KU staffs; carrying out a confirmatory quantitative/ analytical research to check the authenticity of correlations amongst the identified variables and to measures the strength of each level of developed attributes; probably more generalized result(s) could be generated to give a more accurate indication of our current research findings.

Considering the resultant positive impacts achieved during the mutual comparison of both partners’ attributed in logical framework matrix, it is highly recommended that UC must communicate with KU management to initiate research building partnership between KURI and HCT; and expected future collaboration with KU. Further, it is also recommended that UC-KU researchers must collaborate each other to investigate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges of both partners and also to analytically check the validity and functionality of constructed partnership and collaboration model.

15. The Future beyond the Research Project

This research project is result oriented study which actually involves university officials, external stakeholders and partner’s university research director to pave the path towards the predicted success of identified opportunities between KU and UC. Its findings will also help future research to continue their analyses to further refine its results particularly, between Australian and Middle Eastern universities. Moreover, developed matrix and theoretical model will also provide chance(s) for future researchers to evaluate and validate more variables in addition to the currently identified attributes.

Expected outcomes of this research project and our partnership-collaboration plan are as follows:

- An effective research partnership between HCT and KURI in similar technological areas;
- Expansion of RAPP (Robots, Art, People and Performance) to access international funding and gateway confirming its global participation especially in UAE;
- An opportunity for UC to jointly create new business faculty at KU, implement innovative curricula and teaching models blending cohorts of students regardless of their location;
- Widen relationship for teachers training and future recruitment through collaboration;
- Student exchange, scholarship programs, faculty visits, and economic expansion;
- Increase the percentage of UC/ KU publications with international co-authors;
- Intellectual development through research and innovation

Based on UC strength of its deepened knowledge, research capabilities, technological advancement and innovative people, it is also expected that collaboration and research partnership with KU can lead to a formation of an academic alliance with other research universities located in the Middle East. UC is rich in expertise and KU indeed is rich in resources such as supporting capital for external research funding opportunities, entrepreneurial program and ideas incubators. This partnership and collaboration will help UC researchers, programmers and faculties’ rich minds to participate in global competitions held at the Middle East such as International Robotic Challenge but more than that, UC can be part of organising bodies to increase its branding and prominence in the Arab world.

Furthermore, implementing this strategic partnership-collaboration plan; UC may produce a bilingual workforce that can create greater opportunities for international economic cooperation as well as increase educational growth allowing participants to build and enhance research and development opportunities. Also, this would be a unique project to support the futuristic ideas of providing experiential spaces for universities’ students revolutionising self-learning by adjusting current interdisciplinary boundaries and reshaping units’ outlines; and to develop mutual understanding and interdisciplinary collegiality amongst different faculties’ students to motivate through powerful innovative, transformative and collaborative relationships.

16. Conclusions

Although there have been many studies of partnership and collaboration, however, only a few have been published on multi-universities partnerships and their collaboration. Likewise, little consideration has been given to distinguishing international collaboration between two higher education providing institutes and inter-institutional research partnership. Only rare attempts have been made by some researchers to analyse the Middle Eastern universities and their collaboration structure, however, not a single paper is available on inter-institutional partnerships with their Western counterparts and international collaboration with overseas universities in Australia.

Moreover, a unified framework or model to explain and analyze international research partnerships and multi-universities collaboration is still lacking. Also, ours through literature review couldn’t display us any logical matrix to examine the partners’ attributes confirming or indicating impacts on the proposed partnership or collaboration. Unfortunately, we also remained unsuccessful to find out a partnership-collaboration model which could describe the holistic features of inter-institutional and inter-institutional partnership and collaboration. Nevertheless, in addition to our personal observations, relevant available literature on institutional partnership and inter-disciplinary collaborations which we have considered, explicitly or implicitly, helped us to construct a logical framework matrix and to develop a partnership and collaboration model answering to our current research question.

Our research analysis shows that effective multi-universities transnational research partnership or visible international academic collaboration requires all three levels of cooperation assembling the identified (i) personal/ individual, (ii) institutional/ organisational and (iii) governmental/ regional level attributes as explained in Section-11 of this research study. Both academic partners must carry out a systematic research and selection to be well familiar with the relevant attributes for better clarity on each other’s motives and mutual compatibility. Such initial assessment also helps to know one another’s profiles, institutional strategies, intercultural preparedness, educational performances, commonalities, gaps, resources, expertise, norms, business practices and shared values etc.

Finally, based on our current research findings including our experiential learning and the final results, it is clear that proposed research partnership between KURI and HCT and academic collaboration between KU and UC are mutually beneficial and rational. This recognised partnership and collaboration will help both institutes to improve their global ranking; and also provides more linkages to expand their expertise and knowledge boundaries. Further, due to time limitation and UC procedural confinement, we were restrained to expand our research-extents up to KURI and KU management, therefore, room for improvement still exists from the future research perspective.

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62 of 62 pages


Research Partnership and Academic Collaboration between the University of Canberra- ACT and the Khalifa University-UAE
University of Canberra  (School of Management, Faculty of Business, Government & Law)
Master of Business Administration
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research, partnership, academic, collaboration, Khalifa University, UAE, University of Canberra, Institutional Cooperation, International Scholarships, Student Exchange, Teacher Training, Bilateral relations, Collaborative Framework, Culture differences, Robotic, Artificial Intelligence, Foreign Services, Inter-Institutional, University Ranking, Globalisation
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Muhammad Yasir Arslan (Author)Matar Al Mansoori (Author), 2018, Research Partnership and Academic Collaboration between the University of Canberra- ACT and the Khalifa University-UAE, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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Title: Research Partnership and Academic Collaboration between the University of Canberra- ACT and the Khalifa University-UAE

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