Needs and Barriers of Early Career Researchers at Regional Universities of Kazakhstan

Gulzhana Kuzembayeva, Bauyrzhan Tashmukhambetov, Zhumagul Maydangalieva


This paper aims to investigate early career researchers’ (ECR) needs and barriers in conducting research at Kazakhstani regional universities employing a mixed methods research design with the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data. We surveyed one hundred and twenty university academic staff undertaking the first stages of their research careers at the higher education institutions of West Kazakhstan in the cities of Aktau, Aktobe, Atyrau, and Oral to understand the needs and challenges faced by this community better. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the research administration of the above-stated institutions to understand the issues under study. Understanding these issues is central to developing informed policies for promoting teacher research engagement, as well as taking steps to build the research capacity of university academic staff in their early research career. The study depicts that the university academic staff, in their early research career, face barriers such as the lack of time to conduct research, the difficulty in publishing research, and the lack of research mentorship and university support. The study resulted in the relation of ECRs’ knowledge of languages to their research experience, and the ECRs’ research directions are as well associated with their (1) conducting research for enhancing teaching skills, (2) applying for research grants, and (3) receiving research funding adds to a deeper understanding of the ECRs’ research needs and barriers. Kazakhstani regional universities’ ECRs need specifically targeted policies to be undertaken to facilitate their research careers. 


Early career researchers; higher education and science; Kazakhstan; regional universities; research engagement; barriers of research

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