Tone Setting e-discussion: Regional Workshop on Strengthening Research Capacity of the HKH Universities and Research Institutions for Promoting Inclusive and Innovative Development in the HKH Region


Research can play an important role in gaining insights into complex development issues. Universities worldwide have been in the forefront of leading research-based knowledge generation. Universities in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region are increasingly called upon to make their research work more target oriented, socially relevant, and inclusive. Research on development-related issues helps in generating options for policy, management, and action and in empowering people and institutions in developing and transition countries. Knowledge and innovation are increasingly recognised as crucial elements for economic and social development. The growing knowledge requirements of markets and governance demand continuous investments in research and development and in the application of knowledge. The strategic importance of research capacity and infrastructure, set within functioning knowledge and innovation systems, is growing (IDRC, RoKs). Innovation and research capabilities no longer rest on the discovery of new technological principles, but on the ability to exploit new combinations of innovations and knowledge and to reuse pieces of the existing stock of knowledge.

The Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) is a membership-based network for promoting education, research and capacity building, training and outreach for contributing to  sustainable mountain development of HKH region, which covers many large, vulnerable, and fragile ecosystems in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. The Consortium was founded by the participants of a consultation workshop, ‘Mountain-Focused University Consortium Development with Universities in the Greater Himalayan Region’, held from 24 to 25 March 2007 at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Since its inception the network members are benefiting from each other through sharing of expertise, ideas, knowledge, and students. To a large extent this partnership has provided a strong ground for the participating universities to come together to develop joint initiatives, formulate R&D proposals, and obtain training for their faculties by partner universities. For example, Afghan Capacity Building (funded by IDRC and managed by ICIMOD) under the HUC framework significantly helped improve the capacity of Afghan universities. 

Currently ICIMOD, along with the member universities, is preparing for the next phase of the consortium’s activities, for which a ‘Regional Workshop on Strengthening Research Capacity of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) Universities and Research Institutions for Promoting Inclusive and Innovative Development in the HKH Region’ is planned from 23 to 24 January 2012 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Prior to the face-to-face workshop ICIMOD wants to utilise a virtual discussion forum to start the debate among the participants, HUC members, and key stakeholders. This e-discussion is expected to facilitate discussion on diverse ideas coming from the members and distil some of them for the face-to-face meeting later this month.

Week 1 (2-6 January 2012):

How can HKH universities adopt a more socially and economically relevant and inclusive agenda for research, knowledge development and dissemination, whose focus is to produce more accessible and applicable knowledge that can influence policy change and pro-poor development strategies?

Week 2 (7-11 January 2012):

What kinds of institutional changes within and outside universities are required to target knowledge development and dissemination in support of poor and marginalised communities?  

Week 3 (12-16 January 2012):

What are the priority topics and activities HKH universities should engage in for research, knowledge generation, capacity building, and skill development? How should universities organise or reorganise their research and extension programmes to facilitate this engagement?

E-discussion team:

Discussion Moderator
Dr Alok Bohara
Professor of Economic
University of New Mexico, USA 

Technical Moderator
Mr Tek Jung Mahat
APMN Node manager, ICIMOD

Coordination support
Ms Aneeta Gauchan
Mr Basudev Upadhyay
Mr Sanam Aksha


Dr Madhav Karki
Deputy Director General, ICIMOD (Team Leader and Overall Coordinator)

Mr Daan Boom
Programme Manager
Integrated Knowledge Management, ICIMOD (Workshop Coordinator)