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Developments in transnational research linkages: evidence from U.S. higher-education activity/Los avances en los vinculos de investigacion transnacional: los datos obtenidos de la Educacion Superior en Estados Unidos.

1 INTRODUCTION

In our knowledge-based and innovation-driven era, academics and administrative professionals possess lofty expectations for university-based research in all fields of inquiry (Crossley & Watson, 2003, p. 122). In pursuit of valuable lessons and breakthroughs, higher-education institutions throughout the world increasingly have embraced a new educational-policy tool: the transnational research linkage. Transnational research linkages range from transformational institutional partnerships that possess on-going research components (see Koehn, 2012c) to one-off cross-institutional projects and modest collaborative investigations among faculty members.

The potential mutual benefits of transnational research linkages include positioning at the cutting edge of information flows, emerging and innovative ideas and shared possibilities, impending policy changes (Jones, 2007, p. 330), technological and social breakthroughs (e.g., Oleksiyenko & Sa, 2010, p. 368), and national, regional, and community economic development (Goddard & Vallance, 2011; Harman, 2006, p. 45; Robertson, 2009, pp. 113, 122-123; Tikly, 2011, p. 88; World Bank, 2002). (i) In addition, the maintenance of active transnational research agendas allows university scholars to transmit new insights and techniques to future generations of students who will fill critical teaching, research, and administrative positions (McMahon, 2009, p. 256).

Although the volume of transnational scholarly collaboration has increased in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Japan, China, and India across most disciplines (Adams, Gurney & Marshall, 2007, p. 3), multi-institutional data regarding key features of transnational research linkages have not been available for analysis. For instance, Woodfield and colleagues (2009, p. 6) found that "due to a lack of comprehensive, systematic and regular data collection (...), much of the international partnership activity undertaken by Universities (...) goes unnoticed at sector and policy level". By combing the on-line database of transnational higher-education research and development projects involving member institutions of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of Universities (AAU), this study contributes to bridging the knowledge and awareness gap. The principal purpose of the research undertaking is to identify important directions in transnational research collaborations involving U.S. universities.

A range of research initiatives, from archeology to art, appear in the APLU/AAU database. The most common type of transnational research project deals with health. Social-science, natural-science, environmental, engineering, and agricultural projects also are well-represented. These six most frequently encountered research fields provide the focus for analysis in this article.

The contribution proceeds as follows. The first section discusses the contemporary importance of transnational research linkages in the context of existing disparities among industrialized and wealthy (Northern) and low-income (Southern) countries. The next section describes the study methods. The third section presents insights based on analysis of the research findings. Of particular interest are project initiators and sectors, regional and country involvement, and the sources and amounts of funding for transnational research activity. The conclusion considers wider implications for higher-education involvement in transnational knowledge generation and calls for increased symmetry in collaborative North-South research ventures.

2 TRANSNATIONAL RESEARCH LINKAGES IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBAL DISPARITIES

Today's universities operate in a global context of disparities in national wealth and economic opportunity and in institutional-resource endowments. These disparities are most pronounced when comparisons are drawn between the Global North (wealthy industrialized countries) and the Global South (low-income countries). Existing North-South disparities are perpetuated and exacerbated by challenges facing higher-education systems in low-income countries, including mass-education pressures, obsolete communication and technological infrastructure, limited national funding for research undertakings, and shortages of qualified research and development personnel. Insistence on structural-adjustment resulted in a dramatic reduction in the ability of many governments in low-income settings to support university research and sustainable-development activity from domestic revenues. Underdeveloped research capacity has resulted in the exclusion of much of the Global South from global knowledge circuits and emerging learning opportunities.

Economic and epistemic asymmetries between the North and the South remain enormous. Many higher-education institutions in the South, particularly in Africa, confront acute financial, capacity-building, and connectivity needs (Juma & Yee-Cheong, 2005, pp. 90-94; Teferra & Altbach, 2003, pp. 5, 10). These challenges are difficult to overcome and could intensify amidst expanding globalization, increasing market liberalization, lack of understanding of cultural and political dynamics, and the intense global competition that characterizes contemporary higher education. Thus, the research gap between North and South, large as it already is, could widen and deepen (Zeleza, 2005).

The increasing concentration of academic research and knowledge generation in the industrialized North underscores the importance of collaborative research opportunities and capacity-building initiatives that involve higher-education institutions in low-income places (Obamba & Mwema, 2009, pp. 351, 355, 362, 366). Potentially, research collaborations and partnerships promise to mitigate prevailing North-South economic asymmetries and resource imbalances. For instance, transnational research linkages provide opportunities for universities in low-income countries to develop the scientific and technological capacity to innovate and adapt knowledge to local contexts in instrumental fulfillment of their community-service mission (Pillay, 2011, p. 6). In a recent synthesis report on universities and economic development in Africa, for instance, Cloete and colleagues affirm that "high levels of education are essential for the design and production of new technologies, for a country's innovative capacity and for the development of civil society" (Cloete, Bailey & Maassen, 2011, p. ix; also Maassen & Cloete, 2009, pp. 254-255).

In addition, the quest for collaborative knowledge generation and application is inspired by growing understanding that, by itself, no amount of research in any one country, nor any single academic discipline or institution, can fully comprehend, let alone resolve, the multiple and increasingly complex glocal problems that confront humanity. Fruitful participation in today's interdependent world of scientific research requires active participation by faculty and students in collaborations that cross disciplinary, institutional, knowledge-system, and North-South boundaries. As "emerging global model" universities (Mohrman, Ma & Baker, 2011, pp. 43-44) interpret their mission to embrace transsovereign challenges that spill over nation-state borders, such as mitigating and adapting to climate change and controlling zoonotic diseases (Woodfield, et al., 2009, p. 5; UNESCO, 2009, p. 2) (ii), Northern and Southern faculty members in virtually all disciplines increasingly aspire to collaborate in strategic location-specific research.

Collaborative research promises mutual South-North gain given that local discoveries constitute key ingredients in sustainable community development and in addressing transnational challenges. Applied, policy-oriented, problem-solving, or development-focused research, including insights from contextually based Southern scholarship, plays a critical role in evidence-based policy making aimed at advancing globally shared goals such as reducing poverty and hunger, alleviating suffering, protecting life-support systems, and enhancing human capabilities, as well as responding quickly and effectively to new economic opportunities (Colclough, 2010, p. 824; Yusuf, Saint & Nabeshima, 2009, p. 57). South-North research collaborations also hold out promise for learning from traditional practices and ways of knowing (Vessuri, 2008, p. 128; also UNESCO, 2009, p. 6) The useful synergy often generated by multiple ways of knowing and by linking specific local contexts with transnational challenges argues for additional creative syntheses of science and technology with indigenous insights and practices (see Dei & Asgharzadeh, 2006, pp. 59-60, 67; Vessuri, 2007, pp. 168, 172).

Transnational research partnerships devoted to collective knowledge building approach local development challenges through an insight-generating comparative and transcultural lens (Crossley & Holmes, 2001, pp. 399, 396). The symmetrical North-South research linkage is built upon mutual trust and participation by all collaborating parties in project design, decision making, resource support, management, evaluation, and benefit taking. From project design through implementation, evaluation, and dissemination, developing trust and demonstrating competence in interacting with professional counterparts of diverse nationality and across specialization boundaries are pivotal for all research partners intent on addressing complex and interdependent horizon-rising challenges (Koehn & Rosenau, 2010).

3 STUDY METHODS

The complete APLU/AAU database accessed for this study consists of 768 project-based profiles at 77 U.S. institutions of higher education posted by April 2009. All of the reporting institutions in the national database are U.S. universities. (iii) Although the APLU/AAU database of world-wide research and development project profiles cannot claim to be exhaustive or representative of the whole (iv), it provides what is arguably the most inclusive picture of the scope of transnational engagements involving major U.S. institutions of higher learning.

The author accessed the open-access online APLU/AAU database (now found at http:\\www.aplu.org/page.aspx?pid=776) and coded data from the project-director-reported profiles into an SPSS dataset that parallels the common reporting items and close-ended respondent choices found in the survey instrument. Among the project directors reporting a primary transnational activity, 369 selected "research" (v). These 369 self-identified primary research linkages provide the basis for analysis in this article. To cite one example, the research-project database includes a linkage between the University of Rochester in New York and the University of Helsinki (Finland) Department of Medicine to study "lung aging in smokers".

The time span covered by the projects reported in the database ranges from decades to one year. To be included in the database, however, APLU required that the project be active at the initial posting interval (November 2007-April 2009). Respondents indicated that universities had launched about one-third of the posted projects in 2007, 2008, or 2009; two-thirds had been operating for longer. The duration of the research projects in the database varies considerably; 41 per cent were relatively short-term (1-4 years) and 27 per cent were relatively long-term (10 years or longer), with the others (32%) at 5 to 9 years. Exactly 70 per cent of the projects were scheduled to terminate by the end of 2011 and 22 per cent were on-going indefinitely.

4 FINDINGS

The next sections present findings for key project dimensions where data can be collected from the 369 profiled transnational partnerships primarily devoted to research. The collaborative dimensions to be explored are: principal project initiator; principal overseas partner; principal research field; regional and country focus of activity; human-resource development; principal source of funding; and project's total external funds. Such multi-institutional data across a nation-wide spectrum of prominent public and private universities have not been available and analyzed in the past.

4.1 Principal project initiator

Transnational research projects often involve co-initiators who have previously collaborated on projects or are connected by prior affiliations (McGrath, 2008, p. 44) (vi). This study of reported U.S.-university research projects confirms that, in most cases, the principal instigator for transnational linkages is the U.S-based faculty member (also see Koehn, Deardorff & Bolognese, 2011, p. 339). In the APLU/AAU database, two-thirds (229) of the reporting project directors specified that a U.S.-university-based faculty member or members, including diasporic faculty, initiated or provided the creative impetus and contacts for their transnational research project. Many U.S. universities provide seed grants to faculty and/or graduate-education support that enhances access to transnational research relationships.

Other U.S. campus actors served as the principal drivers of 12 per cent of the reported projects. Donors or other U.S. sources accounted for an additional 10 per cent. Non-U.S. sources acted as the principal stimulus for only 37 of the research projects (also Koehn et al., 2011).

4.2 Principal Overseas Partner

Nearly half (150, 45%) of the 336 reporting cases cited a tertiary-level educational institution as the principal overseas partner. Another 108 profiles (32%) indicated that an overseas research institute constitutes the principal transnational partner. A smaller number of projects (35 or 10%) are principally partnered with a host national government.

4.3 Principal Research Field

The dataset encompasses a wide range and breadth of higher-education transnational research linkages. Health/medicine is the principal field addressed in 114 (31%) of 367 reported project profiles. Collaborative research projects in the social sciences are the next most common (66, 18%), followed by projects that principally involve natural sciences (43, 12%), environmental science (41, 11%), engineering (32, 9%), and agriculture (22, 6%). Although only 10 project directors selected education as the principal research field, 64 projects (17%) include an educational component.

Nada Wanni and colleagues (2010, p. 62) conclude their study of U.K.-Africa higher-education partnerships by asking if there are disciplinary areas in partnerships that are "overlooked?" Among the most neglected fields in transnational research partnerships involving U.S. universities in the APLU/AAU database are public administration, business/finance, and law.

In only one principal field (natural resources/forestry) were at least half of the collaborative research projects intended to last 10 years or longer. In most other cases (including engineering, education, health/medicine, and social sciences), at least a plurality of the reported transnational projects were of short-term (1 to 4 years) duration. A plurality of the natural-science (40%) and archeology (43%) projects spanned 5 to 9 years. Half or more of the research collaborations in only four fields (agricultural sciences, education, natural resources/forestry, and law) extended beyond 2010. In most other fields, about two-thirds of the projects in the database were scheduled to terminate by the end of 2010.

4.4 Regional Focus

The regional distribution of research projects profiled on the APLU/AAU database is set forth in Table 1. Research projects are relatively evenly distributed numerically across four of the six regions (Western Europe, Central/South America, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa). Perhaps due to relative scarcity of long-term professional contacts or difficulties securing access, reporting U.S. university project directors are far less involved with research collaborators in Central/Eastern Europe and the Middle East/North Africa.

Interesting intra-regional patterns emerge upon closer analysis. For instance, 71 (86%) of the 83 project linkages in Sub-Saharan Africa are located in English-speaking countries (mainly in Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and Ethiopia). Only nine of the reported U.S. research collaborations in Sub-Saharan Africa are found in Francophone countries, where French universities likely are active (vii). English increasingly is viewed as the main medium of academic discourse and this finding suggests that, at least in Sub-Saharan Africa, the ability to work in the English language is a key variable driving the formation of transnational research partnerships that involve U.S. investigators.

Other revealing tendencies can be identified when the unit of analysis is "participating country". For instance, more than half of the 96 projects in the Asia region involve partners in China and India and nearly four-fifths of the 20 research linkages in the Middle East and North Africa region involve Egypt and Israel. With the exception of Mexico, projects in Central/South America are widely dispersed by partners' country.

While they pursue research collaborations in more than 100 countries, the reporting U.S. project directors clearly favor certain locales. Using an arbitrary 20 per cent (one-fifth) figure as the intra-regional threshold, only China, India, Zambia, Egypt, Israel, Mexico, and the United Kingdom meet or exceed the threshold. This "most favored nations" finding likely reflects the widespread use of English at research institutions in these countries and the presence of personal relationships based on prior post-graduate supervisions and/or past affiliations (also McGrath, 2008, p. 44).

The data presented in Table 2 are informative in terms of the concentration pattern of specific types of research projects in the four preferred regions. The most common type of transnational research project found across all regions operates in the field of health/medicine. U.S.-university linkages with African institutions are particularly likely to be engaged in health-related research (viii). Forty-one per cent of all projects involving in-Africa collaborators are in the health field and twenty-nine per cent of all health/medicine projects in the database engage researchers located in Africa. In comparison with the other regions, linkages in Asia are more likely to involve engineering research and less likely to involve natural-science projects. Projects in Central/South America are particularly likely to involve environmental-science research. Natural-science projects are most likely to involve Western European partners (38% of the total versus 25% in Central/South America, 23% in Africa, and only 15% in Asia).

4.5 Human-resource development

Long-term research capacity is enhanced when projects include human-resource development. Further, new transnational research projects typically require that collaborators acquire additional competencies. In the APLU/AAU database, project directors indicated whether or not training Southern university staff during the past year constituted a project output (also see Chapman & Moore, 2010, p. 551). About one-fourth of the respondents (83 of 346) reported in the affirmative. The types of projects most likely to include a human-resource-development component are health/medicine (24%), environmental-science (23%) and social-science (19%).

4.6 Principal Source of Funding

In today's resource-constrained environment, universities are expected to mobilize external support for transnational research initiatives from government agencies, businesses, international and indigenous NGOs, foundations, and other sources. The data presented in Table 3 indicate that the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of (Mental) Health combined are the principal source of funding for slightly more than one-fourth of the reported transnational research projects. Aside from U.S. government agencies, the highest proportion of all research projects (14%) are principally funded by the project directors' home university (also see Koehn, 2012a). Taken collectively, another 12 per cent are primarily financed by overseas higher-education and research institutions and host national/subnational government agencies. The growing role of foundations in funding university-based transnational research projects (see Owen, Lister, & Stansfield, 2009, p. 232) also is reflected in these findings. The near absence of multinational corporate funding for transnational research undertaken by universities indicates that calls for expanded corporate sponsorship have not generated tangible contributions (also see Cloete et al., 2011, p. xvi; Johnson & Hirt, 2011, p. 494; Teferra, 2009).

4.7 Total Amount of External Funding

The Table 4 data report the number and proportion of projects with external funding in categories that range from $50,000 and less to over one million dollars. About one-third of the research projects operated on external funds of $50,000 or less (including 11 projects supported entirely by internal university funding). At the high end (above $.5 million) are nearly 30 per cent of the reporting APLU/AAU transnational linkages, including 6 projects in excess of $10 million.

The Table 5 findings enable readers to distinguish among the six principal fields of transnational research linkage according to the total amount of external project funding. The data indicate that research projects in the agricultural sciences and in health/medicine are most likely to be funded at the high end (in excess of $1 million). Natural-science and environmental-science projects are relatively evenly distributed across the six external-support ranges. Half of the social-science-research projects operated with less than $100,000 in external funding. A majority (56%) of the research projects in the field of engineering secured $50,000 or less in external funds; no project in this field received more than $500,000.

5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

Analysis of the projects profiled in the broad-based, self-reporting APLU/AAU database illuminates several important research trends in U.S. university transnational partnerships. (ix) First, the total portfolio of the reporting current research projects is relatively balanced among four geographic regions, with the Middle East/North Africa and Central/Eastern Europe lagging behind. This finding indicates that recently active U.S. university researchers have not restricted transnational project linkages to Western European collaborations. Furthermore, the high level of activity in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, and Asia suggests that the reporting project directors recognize the value of collaborative knowledge generation in Southern as well as Northern contexts.

The data also show that funding agencies and U.S. research initiators need to devote greater attention to developing transnational linkages in the relatively neglected regions of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Moreover, there are striking concentrations in the distribution of transnational research projects that could exacerbate prevailing regional asymmetries. For instance, more than 40 per cent of the active research projects in Africa focus on health or medicine while only 3 per cent principally involve engineering research. This finding likely reflects researcher interest in African health issues and their potential transnational spillover effects as well as the growing influence of African health-focused funding by philanthropic organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (see Marten & Witte, 2008, pp. 8-9, 12) (x). Efforts to increase the intra-regional breadth of transnational research undertakings will need to encourage breakthroughs in multiple rather than singular directions.

The multi-institutional data presented in this article provide evidence that principal investigators are drawing upon a diversity of funding sources for transnational research undertakings. Roughly equal proportions of the total pool of projects are supported by the major government scientific agencies (NSF, NIH and NIMH), by other U.S. government agencies, by the proposer's home university coupled with overseas higher-education and research institutions and host national/subnational government agencies, and by other funding sources, mainly foundations. These findings draw attention to the often unnoticed, but vital, role that higher-education institutions play in initiating as well as supporting transnational research endeavors that address issues of current and future global concern.

University research linkages can be predominantly asymmetrical or symmetrical. In asymmetrical research partnerships, project-initiating (usually Northern) scholars determine scholarly and thematic priorities, methods of inquiry, and the theoretical and conceptual paradigms that are deployed. One of the important lessons learned from a decade of U.S.-Africa higher-education partnerships is that a collaborative initiation process, where the African university plays "a major role in identifying the problem to be addressed", contributes to partnership success (Morfit & Gore, 2009, p. 18) (xi).

The first step toward symmetry in transnational research involves establishing open and genuinely supportive collegial relationships designed to facilitate joint problem identification and symmetrical planning and project-design. Early consultations among researchers provide the impetus for exploring the potential for viable partnership based on common values, visions, societal needs, and mutual gain. Participating in multiple and long-term relationships of the trust-building and information-gathering variety positions the Southern higher-education institution to play an active role in research-project initiation (also Pandor, 2009, p. 16; UNESCO, 2009, p. 5) and in national development.

To promote near-symmetrical linkages, research-project resources need to be devoted to capacity building within partner universities in the South. Most universities in the South can afford to devote few of their own scarce domestic resources to encouraging and sustaining research undertakings. Attention to institutional-capacity building and human-capability development among Southern university partners is crucial because much transnational research activity is, and is likely to continue to be, funded by Northern-based donors. Indeed, Obamba and Mwema (2009, p. 356) conclude that a "defining criteria" of a successful transnational academic linkage is "building research capacity within collaborating institutions in the South". In many Northern countries, therefore, capacity building is a stated focal donor policy objective for South-North university collaborations (Koehn, 2013).

Success in building Southern research capacity requires support for human-capability enhancement. The APLU/AAU database findings regarding human-capability development are not encouraging in this connection. Only one-fourth of the reporting U.S. project directors indicated that training Southern university staff occurred during the past year. These findings are consistent with the "deep decline" in support for training and education at Northern institutions of higher learning (King & McGrath, 2004, p. 46). In the United States, for instance, the number of USAID-funded graduate scholarships for study in the United States has declined from roughly 15,000 in 1979 to about 1,000 (McMurtrie, 2009, p. A25). Ensuring that in-country and overseas training, and research-mentoring opportunities, are central components of transnational collaborations should be a priority among U.S.-university-based project initiators and external funders.

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Peter H. Koehn *

Department of Political Science, University of Montana, EE.UU. {peter.koehn@umontana.edu}

Received on 2 February 2013; revised on 11 February 2013; accepted on 19 April 2013; published on 15 July 2014

DOI: 10.7821/naer.3.2.52-58

* To whom correspondence should be addressed:

Department of Political Science

University of Montana

Missoula, Montana 59812

USA

NOTES

(i) For instance, investment in agricultural research has been highly productive for investors and African economies (Kellogg & Hervy, 2009, p. 8).

(ii) Zoonotic diseases are caused by infections transmitted between animals and humans. Animal-to-human viral infections have increased dramatically in the past decade. Peter Daszak (2008), Executive Director of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, reports that 61 per cent of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are caused by zoonoses; three-fourths of these involve transmissions from wildlife to human populations.

(iii) However, this does not mean that their partners elsewhere in the North and in the South are passive players in research-proposal design and execution. Another recent study of funding awarded to U.S. universities in 2009 under the U.S.-Africa Higher-Education Initiative showed that the majority of successful applicants had implemented processes that involved joint responsibility by the African partner for identifying project and research objectives. In half of the remaining cases, the African university partner assumed lead responsibility for identifying research objectives (unpublished data from a survey of project directors conducted in 2010/2011 by Marisa Griffiths and the author).

(iv) In addition to lacunae both among and within APLU and AAU member universities, project-profile postings are not always complete.

(v) For analysis of the 295 profiles that principally involved development activity rather than research, see Koehn (2012b).

(vi) In the author's study of Higher Education for Development's 2009 U.S.-Africa partnership awards, 82 per cent of the reporting project directors indicated that they were personally connected with their partner co-director prior to collaborating on the successful proposal; usually, they had known each other for seven years or longer. The inter-personal familiarity and trust built through years of working together certainly contribute to willingness and ability to undertake additional transnational research collaborations.

(vii) The three remaining linkages are in bilingual Cameroon.

(viii) On the importance of an inclusive and worldwide approach to academic initiatives in global health, see MacFarlane, Jacobs, and Kaaya (2008, p. 384).

(ix) Through the conduct of additional nationally based studies of research partnerships (e.g., Canadian or Ethiopian transnational linkages), these findings can be extended and critically analyzed in comparative context.

(x) In 2005, U.S. philanthropic foundations provided nearly $2 billion in support of global health initiatives (Marten & Witte, 2008, pp. 8-9, 27).

(xi) Data from the 2010/2011 study of HED's Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative partnership awards are suggestive of shifts in a symmetrical project-initiation direction (also Koehn, 2012c).

1 INTRODUCCION

En nuestra era propulsada por los conocimientos e innovacion, los academicos y profesionales de areas administrativas poseen altas expectativas en relacion a la investigacion universitaria en todos los ambitos (Crossley & Watson, 2003, p. 122). En la busqueda de valiosos avances, las instituciones de Educacion Superior, en todo el mundo, han ido acogiendo una nueva herramienta de la politica educativa: la vinculacion de investigacion transnacional. Los vinculos de la investigacion transnacional abarcan tanto las asociaciones transformacionales, que poseen componentes de la investigacion en curso (vease Koehn, 2012c) como los puntuales proyectos interinstitucionales y las modestas investigaciones colaborativas de los miembros de la facultad.

Los posibles beneficios mutuos de los vinculos de investigacion transnacional incluyen el posicionamiento del flujo de informacion, las ideas innovadoras y las posibilidades comunes, los cambios inminentes en la politica (Jones, 2007, p. 330), los avances tecnologicos y sociales (e.g., Oleksiyenko & Sa, 2010, p. 368), y el desarrollo economico de la comunidad (Goddard & Vallance, 2011; Harman, 2006, p. 45; Robertson, 2009, p. 113, 122-123; Tikly, 2011, p. 88; World Bank, 2002). (i) Ademas, el mantenimiento de los programas de investigacion transnacional permite a los academicos transmitir nuevos conocimientos y tecnicas a las futuras generaciones de estudiantes que cubriran los puestos de trabajo en ambito de ensenanza critica, investigacion y administracion (McMahon, 2009, p. 256).

Aunque el volumen de la colaboracion academica transnacional ha aumentado en la mayoria de las disciplinas en el Reino Unido, Australia, Canada, Estados Unidos, Francia, Alemania, Japon, China y la India (Adams, Gurney & Marshall, 2007, p. 3), los datos multi-institucionales relativos a las caracteristicas principales de los vinculos de investigacion transnacional no han estado disponibles para el analisis. Por ejemplo, Woodfield et al. (2009, p. 6) descubrieron que "debido a la falta de una sistematica recopilacion de datos (...), una gran parte de actividad cooperativa internacional llevada a cabo por las universidades (...) pasa desapercibida a nivel politico y sectorial". Analizando la base de datos on-line de la investigacion transnacional de la ensenanza superior y de los proyectos de desarrollo de las instituciones miembros de la Asociacion de Universidades Publicas (APLU) y de la Asociacion de Universidades Americanas (AAU), este estudio contribuye a la superacion de los deficits de conciencia y conocimiento. El objetivo principal es definir las direcciones significativas en las colaboraciones de investigacion transnacional entre universidades estadounidenses.

En la base de datos de APLU/AAU, aparece una amplia variedad de iniciativas de investigacion, desde la Arqueologia hasta el arte. El tipo mas comun de proyectos de investigacion transnacional trata sobre la salud. Tambien destacan los proyectos relacionados con las ciencias sociales, las ciencias naturales, el medio ambiente, la ingenieria y la agricultura. Estos seis campos de investigacion constituyen la parte central del analisis, en este articulo.

El articulo ha sido organizado del siguiente modo. La primera seccion trata sobre la importancia de los vinculos de investigacion transnacional en el contexto de las disparidades existentes entre los paises industrializados y ricos (Norte) y los paises de bajos ingresos (Sur). La siguiente seccion describe los metodos de estudio. La tercera seccion presenta las percepciones basadas en el analisis de los resultados de la investigacion. Los iniciadores del proyecto, la implicacion regional y nacional, asi como las fuentes y cantidades de financiacion de las actividades de investigacion transnacional presentan un interes particular. En la conclusion se considera necesario ampliar las implicaciones de la participacion de la Educacion Superior en la generacion de conocimiento transnacional y se pide una mayor simetria en proyectos colaborativos de investigacion Norte-Sur.

2 LOS VINCULOS DE INVESTIGACION TRANSNACIONAL EN EL CONTEXTO DE LAS DISPARIDADES EXISTENTES

Las universidades de hoy en dia se desenvuelven en un contexto global de las disparidades tanto en la riqueza nacional y la oportunidad economica, como tambien en las dotaciones de recursos institucionales. Estas disparidades destacan mas cuando las comparaciones se establecen entre el Norte Global (los paises ricos e industrializados) y el Sur Global (los paises de bajos ingresos). Desigualdades existentes entre el Norte y el Sur se perpetuan y exacerban por causa de los retos a los que se enfrentan los sistemas de Educacion Superior en los paises de bajos ingresos, entre ellos las presiones de educacion masiva, la comunicacion obsoleta y la infraestructura tecnologica, las limitaciones de la financiacion nacional para los proyectos de investigacion, y la escasez de personal especializado en investigacion. La insistencia en el ajuste estructural dio lugar a una fuerte reduccion en la capacidad de muchos gobiernos (en los paises de bajos ingresos) para apoyar la investigacion universitaria y el desarrollo sostenible basados en los ingresos internos. La capacidad de investigacion, insuficientemente desarrollada, ha dado lugar a la exclusion de gran parte del Sur Global de los circuitos globales de conocimiento y de nuevas oportunidades de aprendizaje.

Las asimetrias economicas y epistemicas entre el Norte y el Sur siguen siendo enormes. Muchas instituciones de Educacion Superior en el Sur, especialmente en Africa, se enfrentan a las apremiantes necesidades financieras, como tambien a las necesidades en materia de la creacion de capacidad y conectividad (Juma & Yee-Cheong, 2005, p. 90-94; Teferra & Altbach, 2003, p. 5, 10). Estos retos son dificiles de superar y podrian intensificarse ante la globalizacion creciente, el aumento de la liberalizacion del mercado, la falta de comprension de la dinamica cultural y politica, y la intensa competencia mundial que caracteriza a la Educacion Superior contemporanea. Por lo tanto, la distorsion existente entre la investigacion en el Norte y en el Sur podria ampliarse y profundizarse aun mas (Zeleza, 2005).

La creciente concentracion de la investigacion academica y de la generacion de conocimiento en el Norte industrializado destaca la importancia de las oportunidades de colaboracion en investigaciones e iniciativas de la creacion de capacidades que involucran las instituciones de Educacion Superior en los paises de bajos ingresos (Obamba & Mwema, 2009, p. 351, 355, 362, 366). Al parecer, las colaboraciones de investigacion y las asociaciones se comprometen a reducir las asimetrias economicas y los desequilibrios de recursos existentes entre el Norte y el Sur. Por ejemplo, los vinculos de investigacion transnacional proporcionan las oportunidades en las universidades de los paises de bajos ingresos para desarrollar la capacidad cientifica y tecnologica, y de este modo innovar y adaptar los conocimientos a contextos locales, lo que formaria parte de su mision de servicio publico (Pillay, 2011, p. 6). En un reciente informe resumido sobre el tema relacionado con las universidades y el desarrollo economico en Africa, Cloete, Bailey & Maassen (2011, p. ix) afirman que "los altos niveles de educacion son esenciales para el diseno y la produccion de nuevas tecnologias, para la capacidad de innovacion del pais y para el desarrollo de la sociedad civil" (tambien Maassen & Cloete, 2009, p. 254-255).

Ademas, el afan por la generacion de conocimiento colaborativo y su aplicacion estan inspirados por una creciente comprension de que ninguna cantidad de la investigacion en un solo pais, ni ninguna disciplina academica o institucion por si sola pueden comprender completamente, y mucho menos resolver los multiples y cada vez mas complejos problemas globales que enfrenta la humanidad. La participacion fructifera en el mundo cientifico interdependiente de hoy en dia requiere una colaboracion activa de profesores y estudiantes, que traspase las fronteras entre diferentes disciplinas, instituciones, como tambien las divisiones ente el Norte y el Sur. Las universidades como "nuevos modelos globales" (Mohrman, Ma & Baker, 2011, p. 43-44) conciben que su mision consiste en enfrentar los desafios que surgen en las fronteras de Estados Nacionales, como por ejemplo la mitigacion y adaptacion al cambio climatico y el control de enfermedades zoonoticas (Woodfield, et al., 2009, p. 5; UNESCO, 2009, p. 2) (ii). Los miembros de casi todas las disciplinas, en el Norte y en el Sur, cada vez mas aspiran a colaborar en una investigacion estrategica centrada en lugares concretos.

La investigacion colaborativa promete unos beneficios mutuos Sur-Norte, dado que los descubrimientos locales constituyen elementos clave para el desarrollo sostenible de la comunidad como tambien para abordar los retos transnacionales. La investigacion aplicada, de orientacion normativa, centrada en la resolucion de problemas o en el desarrollo, desempena un papel fundamental en la formulacion de politicas basadas en evidencias cientificas dirigida a promover los objetivos comunes como la reduccion de la pobreza y el hambre, la disminucion del sufrimiento, la proteccion de los sistemas de apoyo a la vida, y la mejora de las capacidades humanas, asi como la posibilidad de reaccionar con rapidez y eficacia a las nuevas oportunidades economicas (Colclough, 2010, p. 824; Yusuf, Santa & Nabeshima, 2009, p. 57). Las colaboraciones de investigacion Sur-Norte tambien prometen el aprendizaje enfocado a las practicas y formas de conocimiento tradicionales (Vessuri, 2008, p. 128; tambien UNESCO, 2009, p. 6). La sinergia util generada por multiples formas de conocimiento y mediante la vinculacion de contextos locales especificos con los retos transnacionales aboga por una sintesis creativa adicional de ciencia y tecnologia con conocimientos y practicas locales (vease Dei & Asgharzadeh, 2006, p. 59-60, 67; Vessuri, 2007, p. 168, 172).

Las asociaciones de investigacion transnacional dedicadas a la construccion colectiva del conocimiento afrontan los retos del desarrollo local haciendo uso del enfoque comparativo y transcultural (Crossley & Holmes, 2001, p. 399, 396). El vinculo simetrico de investigacion Norte-Sur esta basado en la confianza mutua y en la participacion de todas las entidades colaboradoras en el diseno de proyectos, la toma de decisiones, el apoyo de los recursos, la gestion, la evaluacion y el beneficio. Empezando por el diseno del proyecto a traves de su realizacion, evaluacion y difusion, el desarrollo de la confianza y la demostracion de la competencia en la interaccion entre homologos profesionales de diversas nacionalidades y de diferentes campos de especializacion son fundamentales para el objetivo comun para todos los miembros de la investigacion de abordar los nuevos desafios complejos e interdependientes (Koehn & Rosenau, 2010).

3 METODO

La base de datos de APLU/AAU, consultada para este estudio, consta de 768 perfiles de proyectos basados en 77 instituciones de Educacion Superior de EE.UU., publicado en abril de 2009. Todas las instituciones, que aparecen en esta base de datos, son universidades norteamericanas (iii). Aunque la base de datos de APLU/AAU de investigacion mundial y los perfiles de proyectos de desarrollo no pueden considerarse exhaustivos ni representativos de la totalidad (iv), proporcionan lo que es sin duda la imagen mas completa del marco de los compromisos transnacionales incluyendo las principales instituciones de Educacion Superior de EE.UU.

Se ha consultado la base de datos en linea de APLU/AAU (http://www.aplu.org/page.aspx?pid=776). Los datos codificados de los perfiles han sido reportados y analizados en el SPSS, para establecer paralelismos entre los elementos comunes del informe y las respuestas a las preguntas cerradas de los participantes encuestados. Entre los directores del proyecto responsables de una actividad transnacional primaria, 369 han seleccionado la "investigacion" (v). Estos 369 auto-identificados vinculos primarios de investigacion constituyen, en este articulo, la base para el analisis. Para citar un ejemplo, la base de datos del proyecto de investigacion incluye un vinculo entre los Departamentos de Medicina de la Universidad de Rochester en Nueva York y la Universidad de Helsinki (Finlandia) para realizar un estudio sobre "envejecimiento del pulmon en fumadores".

Los proyectos incluidos en la base de datos oscilan desde hace decadas hasta hace un ano. Sin embargo, para ser incluido en la base de datos APLU, se requeria que el proyecto estuviera activo en el intervalo inicial (noviembre 2007-abril 2009). Los encuestados indicaron que las universidades habian puesto en marcha alrededor de un tercio de los proyectos en 2007, 2008 o 2009; dos tercios habian estado operando durante mas tiempo. La duracion de los proyectos de investigacion, incluidos en la base de datos, varia en forma significativa. El 41% eran relativamente a corto plazo (1-4 anos) y el 27% eran relativamente a largo plazo (10 anos o mas). Los demas (32%) tenian una duracion de entre 5 a 9 anos. Exactamente el 70% de los proyectos fueron programados para terminar a finales de 2011 y el 22% mostraban la continuidad indefinida.

4 RESULTADOS

Los siguientes apartados presentan los resultados sobre los aspectos clave de proyectos. Los datos son recogidos de las 369 asociaciones transnacionales dedicadas principalmente a la investigacion. El principal iniciador del proyecto, el principal socio extranjero, el campo prioritario de investigacion, el enfoque regional y nacional, el desarrollo de recursos humanos, la fuente principal de financiacion y el importe total de la financiacion externa del proyecto constituyen los aspectos de colaboracion por explorar. Estos datos multi-institucionales, procedentes de una amplia gama de universidades publicas y privadas de todo el pais, no han estado disponibles, y por tanto no han sido analizados anteriormente.

4.1 El principal iniciador del proyecto

Los proyectos de investigacion transnacional a menudo implican co-iniciadores que han colaborado anteriormente en proyectos o han pertenecido a las mismas asociaciones (McGrath, 2008, p. 44) (vi). Este estudio de los proyectos de investigacion confirma que, en la mayoria de los casos, el principal iniciador de colaboraciones transnacionales es un miembro de una facultad con sede en EE.UU (vease tambien Koehn, Deardorff & Bolognese, 2011, p. 339). En la base de datos de APLU/AAU, dos tercios (229) de los directores de proyecto especifican que un miembro, o miembros, de la facultad universitaria con la sede en EE.UU., incluyendo la facultad minoritaria/diasporica, han iniciado o proporcionado un impulso creativo y contactos para su proyecto de investigacion transnacional. Muchas universidades estadounidenses ofrecen subvenciones iniciales a las facultades y/o apoyo a la Educacion Superior que mejora el acceso a las relaciones de investigacion transnacional.

Otros involucrados del ambito universitario estadounidense han servido como los principales promotores del 12% de los proyectos reportados. Los donantes u otros actores de EE.UU. han representado un 10% adicional. Las fuentes no estadounidenses han sido estimulo principal solamente para 37 proyectos de investigacion (tambien Koehn et al., 2011).

4.2 El principal socio extranjero

Casi la mitad (150, 45%) de 336 casos reportados han declarado una institucion educativa terciaria como el principal socio extranjero. Otros 108 perfiles (32%) han indicado que un instituto de investigacion en el exterior constituye el principal socio transnacional. El menor numero de proyectos (35 o el 10%) ha sido asociado principalmente con el gobierno del pais anfitrion.

4.3 El campo principal de investigacion

El conjunto de datos abarca una amplia variedad de vinculos de investigacion transnacional entre diversas instituciones de la Educacion Superior. El sector de salud/ medicina es el campo principal abordado en 114 (31%) de los 367 perfiles de proyectos reportados. Los proyectos colaborativos de investigacion en ambito de las ciencias sociales son el siguiente campo mas comun (66, 18%), seguidos por los proyectos que involucran principalmente las ciencias naturales (43, 12%), ciencias ambientales (41, 11%), la ingenieria (32, 9%), y la agricultura (22, 6%). Aunque solamente 10 directores de los proyectos han seleccionado la educacion como el campo principal de investigacion, 64 proyectos (17%) incluyen un componente educativo.

Nada Wanni et al. (2010, p. 62) concluyen su estudio de asociaciones de Educacion Superior entre el Reino Unido y Africa reflexionando sobre la existencia de areas disciplinarias 'pasadas por alto' en las asociaciones. En la base de datos de APLU/AAU de universidades estadunidenses, la administracion publica, los negocios/finanzas, y el derecho son unos de los campos mas descuidados en asociaciones de investigacion transnacional.

En un solo campo principal (recursos naturales/forestales) por lo menos la mitad de los proyectos colaborativos de investigacion debian tener una duracion de 10 anos o mas. En la mayoria de los casos (incluyendo la ingenieria, la educacion, la salud/medicina, y las ciencias sociales), al menos la pluralidad de los proyectos transnacionales reportados han sido de corta duracion (1 a 4 anos). Una variedad de proyectos de las ciencias naturales (40%) y la arqueologia (43%) ha sido extendida de 5 a 9 anos. La mitad, o mas, de las colaboraciones de investigacion, en solamente cuatro areas (las ciencias agricolas, la educacion, los recursos naturales/forestales y el derecho), han sido ampliadas mas alla de 2010. En el caso de la mayoria de otros campos, alrededor de dos tercios de los proyectos reportados en la base de datos han sido programados para ser concluidos a finales de 2010.

4.4 El enfoque regional

La Tabla 1 presenta la distribucion regional de los proyectos de investigacion perfilados en la base de datos APLU/AAU. Los proyectos de investigacion han sido distribuidos de manera relativamente uniforme en cuatro de las seis regiones (Europa Occidental, America Central/America del Sur, Asia, y Africa Subsahariana). Tal vez debido a la escasez relativa de contactos profesionales a largo plazo o a las dificultades del acceso, los directores de proyectos universitarios de EE.UU. estan menos involucrados en las colaboraciones de la investigacion en Europa Central/Europa del Este y el Oriente Medio/Africa del Norte.

Al proceder a un analisis mas profundo, se observan unos patrones intrarregionales muy interesantes. Por ejemplo, 71 (86%) de los 83 vinculos de proyectos en Africa Subsahariana se encuentran en los paises anglosajones (sobre todo en Zambia, Sudafrica, Kenia, Ghana y Etiopia). Solo nueve de los proyectos colaborativos de investigacion en Africa Subsahariana se hallan en los paises de habla francesa, donde probablemente actuan las universidades francesas (vii). El ingles, cada vez mas, es visto como el principal medio del discurso academico y este hecho sugiere que, al menos en Africa Subsahariana, la capacidad de trabajar comunicandose en ingles es una variable clave que impulsa la creacion de asociaciones de investigacion transnacional en las que participan los investigadores estadounidenses.

Analizando el "pais participante", podemos destacar otras tendencias. Por ejemplo, mas de la mitad de los 96 proyectos en la region de Asia incluye colaboradores de China y la India, y cerca de cuatro quintos de los 20 vinculos de investigacion en el Oriente Medio y Africa del Norte, incluye Egipto e Israel. Con la excepcion de Mexico, los proyectos en America Central y America del Sur estan muy repartidos por paises colaboradores.

Aunque hay investigaciones colaborativas en mas de 100 paises, los directores de proyectos estadounidenses favorecen claramente lugares determinados. Haciendo el uso de una cifra arbitraria de 20% (una quinta parte) como el umbral intrarregional, solo China, India, Zambia, Egipto, Israel, Mexico, y el Reino Unido cumplen o superan este umbral. Esta revelacion de "paises favorecidos" refleja probablemente el uso extendido del ingles en las instituciones de investigacion de estos paises como tambien la existencia de relaciones personales basadas en cursos de postgrado y/o en afiliaciones anteriores (McGrath, 2008, p. 44).

Los datos presentados en la Tabla 2 muestran el modelo de concentracion de proyectos especificos en las cuatro regiones preferidas. El tipo mas comun de proyecto de investigacion transnacional, encontrado en todas las regiones, corresponde al ambito de la salud/medicina. El campo de la salud es particularmente susceptible de ser el objeto de investigacion colaborativa de las universidades estadounidenses y las instituciones africanas (viii). El 41% de todos los proyectos, que incluyen a los colaboradores de Africa, se centra en el ambito de la salud, y el 29% de todos los proyectos reportados en el area de la salud/medicina, en la base de datos, tambien incluye a investigadores de Africa. En comparacion con otras regiones, las colaboraciones con Asia son mas propensas a incluir la investigacion en campo de la ingenieria, y es menos probable que incluyan proyectos de las ciencias naturales. Los proyectos en America Central/America del Sur son particularmente propensos a tratar el tema de la investigacion cientifica medioambiental. Los proyectos del campo de las ciencias naturales tienen mas probabilidades de ser desarrollados en colaboracion con socios de Europa Occidental (el 38% del total frente al 25% en America Central/America del Sur, 23% en Africa, y solo el 15% en Asia).

4.5 El desarrollo de los recursos humanos

Si los proyectos incluyen el desarrollo de los recursos humanos, la capacidad de investigacion se extiende. Ademas, los nuevos proyectos de investigacion transnacional suelen requerir de los colaboradores algunas competencias adicionales. En la base de datos APLU/AAU, los directores de proyectos indican si la formacion del personal universitario del Sur, durante el ano anterior, formaba o no parte de los resultados del proyecto (vease tambien Chapman & Moore, 2010, p. 551). Alrededor de una cuarta parte de los encuestados (83 de 346) contestaron de manera afirmativa. Los tipos de proyectos con mas probabilidades de incluir un componente del desarrollo de recursos humanos son los relacionados con la salud/medicina (24%), las ciencias medioambientales (23%) y las ciencias sociales (19%).

4.6 La fuente principal de financiacion

Dado el numero limitado de recursos para las iniciativas de investigacion transnacional de hoy en dia, se espera de las universidades una movilizacion de apoyo externo de los organismos gubernamentales, fundaciones, organizaciones no gubernamentales, ONG internacionales, y otras fuentes. Los datos presentados en la Tabla 3 indican que la Fundacion Nacional de Ciencias y los Institutos Nacionales de Salud (Mental) son la fuente principal de financiacion para mas de una cuarta parte de los proyectos reportados de investigacion transnacional. Aparte de las agencias gubernamentales de EE.UU., la mayoria de los proyectos de investigacion (14%) es financiada principalmente por la universidad de origen de los directores del proyecto (vease tambien Koehn, 2012a). Otro 12% es financiado principalmente por las instituciones extranjeras de Educacion Superior e investigacion como tambien por los organismos gubernamentales del pais de acogida. Estos resultados reflejan tambien el papel creciente que desempenan las fundaciones en la financiacion de proyectos universitarios de investigacion transnacional (vease Owen, Lister, & Stansfield, 2009, p. 232). La ausencia casi total de la financiacion empresarial multinacional de la investigacion transnacional emprendida por las universidades indica que las solicitudes de patrocinio empresarial no han generado contribuciones tangibles (vease tambien Cloete et al., 2011, p. xvi; Johnson & Hirt, 2011, p. 494; Teferra, 2009).

4.7 El importe total de la financiacion externa

Los datos presentados en la Tabla 4 muestran el numero y la proporcion de proyectos con financiacion externa en las categorias que van desde los $50,000 y menos hasta mas de un millon de dolares. Alrededor de un tercio de los proyectos de investigacion disponian de $50,000 o menos (incluyendo 11 proyectos financiados en su totalidad por los recursos internos de la universidad) de fondos externos. En el nivel mas alto (por encima de $.5 millones) se ubica casi 30% de los vinculos transnacionales reportados en APLU/AAU, incluyendo 6 proyectos de mas de $10 millones.

Los datos presentados en la Tabla 5 permiten a los lectores distinguir entre los seis campos principales de vinculacion de investigacion transnacional segun el importe total de la financiacion externa del proyecto. Los datos indican que los proyectos de investigacion, en el campo de las ciencias agricolas y la salud/medicina, son mas susceptibles a ser financiados en el maximo nivel (mas de $1 millon). Los proyectos de las ciencias naturales y las ciencias medioambientales estan distribuidos de modo bastante uniforme entre los seis rangos de apoyo externo. La mitad de los proyectos de investigacion en ambito de las ciencias sociales dispone de menos de $100,000 de fondos externos. La mayoria (56%) de los proyectos de investigacion, relacionados con en el campo de ingenieria, obtuvo $50,000 o menos de fondos externos. No hay ningun proyecto en este campo que haya recibido mas de 500.000 dolares.

5 DISCUSION Y CONCLUSIONES

El analisis de los proyectos recogidos en una amplia base de datos APLU/AAU destaca varias tendencias importantes de investigacion llevada a cabo por las asociaciones universitarias transnacionales de EE.UU. En primer lugar, la cartera total de los proyectos actuales de investigacion es relativamente equilibrada entre las cuatro regiones geograficas, dejando atras los paises del Medio Oriente/Africa del Norte y Europa Central/Europa del Este. Esto indica que los investigadores universitarios, recientemente activos, no han restringido la vinculacion de los proyectos transnacionales unicamente a las colaboraciones de Europa Occidental. Ademas, el nivel alto de actividad en Africa Subsahariana, America Central, America del Sur y Asia sugiere que los directores de los proyectos reconocen el valor de la generacion colaborativa de conocimientos en ambos contextos: Norte y Sur.

Los datos tambien muestran que los organismos de financiacion y los iniciadores de investigacion de EE.UU. deben prestar mayor atencion al desarrollo de los vinculos transnacionales en las regiones relativamente descuidadas de Europa Central y Europa del Este, el Oriente Medio y Africa del Norte. Por otra parte, las impactantes concentraciones en la distribucion de proyectos de investigacion transnacional podrian exacerbar las asimetrias regionales existentes. Por ejemplo, mas del 40 por ciento de los proyectos activos de investigacion en Africa se centra en la salud o medicina, mientras que solamente el 3 % esta asociado a la investigacion en campo de la ingenieria. Este resultado probablemente refleja el interes del investigador en cuestiones sanitarias y sus posibles efectos secundarios en ambito internacional, asi como la creciente influencia de la financiacion, centrada en la salud, por parte de influencia de la financiacion, centrada en la salud, por parte de las organizaciones filantropicas, como la Fundacion de Bill y Melinda Gates (vease Marten & Witte, 2008, p. 8-9, 12). Para promover la amplitud intrarregional de investigacion transnacional, sera necesario fomentar avances en multiples direcciones.

Los datos multi-institucionales presentados en este articulo demuestran que los principales investigadores recurren a una diversidad de fuentes de financiacion para las actividades de investigacion transnacional. Proporciones aproximadamente iguales del conjunto total de los proyectos cuentan con el apoyo de los principales organismos cientificos del gobierno (NSF, NIH y NIMH), de otros organismos gubernamentales de EE.UU., de la universidad de origen del proponente junto con las instituciones extranjeras de Educacion Superior de investigacion, y los organismos gubernamentales nacionales/subnacionales del pais de acogida, asi como de otras fuentes, principalmente fundaciones. Estos resultados llaman la atencion sobre el papel vital, aunque a menudo desapercibido, que desempenan las instituciones de ensenanza superior en el apoyo a las iniciativas de investigacion transnacional que abordan temas tanto actuales como futuros de interes mundial.

Los vinculos de investigacion universitaria pueden ser predominantemente simetricos o asimetricos. En las colaboraciones asimetricas de investigacion, los iniciadores del proyecto (generalmente del Norte) establecen las prioridades cientificas y tematicas, los metodos de investigacion, y los paradigmas teoricos y conceptuales que se implementan. Una de las lecciones importantes aprendidas de una decada de cooperacion entre las instituciones de Educacion Superior de Estados Unidos y Africa es que el proceso de iniciacion de cooperacion, donde la universidad africana desempena "el papel principal en la identificacion del problema a tratar", contribuye al exito de la colaboracion (Morfit & Gore, 2009, p. 18).

El primer paso hacia la simetria en la investigacion transnacional implica el establecimiento de relaciones abiertas y de apoyo, destinadas a facilitar la identificacion de problemas, la planificacion simetrica y el diseno del proyecto en forma conjunta. Las consultas preliminares entre los investigadores impulsan la exploracion del potencial de asociacion viable basada en valores comunes, visiones, necesidades sociales y el beneficio mutuo. La participacion en multiples relaciones de recopilacion de informacion, basadas en la confianza, concede a la institucion de Educacion Superior del Sur un papel activo en la iniciacion del proyecto de investigacion (Pandor, 2009, p. 16; UNESCO, 2009, p. 5) y en el desarrollo nacional.

Para promover vinculos simetricos, los recursos de los que disponen los proyectos de investigacion tienen que ser dedicados a la creacion de capacidades en las universidades colaboradoras en los paises del Sur. La mayoria de las universidades de los paises del sur pueden permitirse destinar sus escasos recursos nacionales para fomentar y mantener distintas labores de investigacion. La atencion a la creacion de capacidades institucionales y al desarrollo humano entre las universidades del Sur es crucial porque gran parte de la actividad de investigacion transnacional es, y probablemente seguira siendo, financiada por los donantes del Norte. De hecho, Obamba y Mwema (2009, p. 356) concluyen que un "criterio decisivo" de una exitosa vinculacion academica transnacional es "construir la capacidad de investigacion en las instituciones colaboradoras del Sur". Por lo tanto, en muchos paises del Norte, la creacion de capacidades se considera un objetivo central de las colaboraciones universitarias Norte-Sur (Koehn, 2013).

El exito en la creacion de capacidad de investigacion, en el Sur, requiere un apoyo a los recursos humanos. Los resultados de base de datos APLU/AAU respecto al desarrollo humano, en este sentido, no son alentadores. Solo una cuarta parte de los informes de los directores del proyecto de EE.UU. indico que la formacion del personal universitario del Sur tuvo lugar el ultimo ano. Estos resultados coinciden con la "fuerte disminucion" del apoyo a la formacion y la educacion en las instituciones de Educacion Superior en el Norte (King & McGrath, 2004, p. 46). En los Estados Unidos, por ejemplo, el numero de becas de postgrado financiadas por USAID para estudiar ha disminuido de aproximadamente 15.000, en 1979, a alrededor de 1000 (McMurtrie, 2009, p. A25). Garantizar la formacion en el propio pais y en el extranjero, como tambien las oportunidades de investigacion bajo tutoria, son los componentes centrales de la colaboracion transnacional, que deberian ser prioritarios tanto para los iniciadores de los proyectos universitarios de EE.UU. como para los financiadores externos.

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Con el fin de llegar a un mayor numero de lectores, NAER ofrece traducciones al espanol de sus articulos originales en ingles. Sin embargo, este articulo en espanol no es el articulo original sino unicamente su traduccion. Si quiere citar este articulo por favor consulte el articulo original en ingles y utilice la paginacion del mismo en sus citas. Gracias.

Peter H. Koehn *

Department of Political Science, University of Montana, EE.UU. {peter.koehn@umontana.edu}

Recibido el 10 Febrero 2013; revisado el 11 Febrero 2013; aceptado el 19 Abril 2013; publicado el 15 Julio 2014

DOI: 10.7821/naer.3.2.52-58

* Por correo postal dirigirse a:

Department of Political Science

University of Montana

Missoula, Montana 59812

USA

NOTAS

(i) Por ejemplo, la inversion en la investigacion agricola ha sido muy productiva para los inversores y las economias africanas (Kellogg & Hervy, 2009, p. 8).

(ii) Las enfermedades zoonoticas son causadas por infecciones transmitidas entre animales y seres humanos. Las infecciones virales entre animales y humanos se han incrementado dramaticamente en la ultima decada. Peter Daszak (2008), el Director Ejecutivo del Consorcio para la Medicina de Conservacion, informa que el 61% de las enfermedades contagiosas emergentes (EIDs) son causadas por zoonosis; tres cuartos de ellas implican transmisiones de la vida silvestre a las poblaciones humanas.

(iii) Sin embargo, esto no significa que sus socios en otras partes en el Norte y en el Sur sean pasivos en el diseno y en la ejecucion de la investigacion propuesta. Otro estudio reciente de la financiacion concedida a las universidades de EE.UU. en 2009 bajo la iniciativa de la Educacion Superior entre EE.UU. y Africa mostro que la mayoria de los solicitantes habia implementado procesos que incluian responsabilidad por parte del socio africano de la identificacion de los objetivos de investigacion. En la mitad de los casos restantes, el socio de la universidad africana asumio la responsabilidad principal para la identificacion de objetivos de investigacion (datos no publicados de un estudio de los directores del proyecto llevado a cabo en 2010/2011 por Marisa Griffiths y el autor).

(iv) Ademas, las publicaciones del proyecto no siempre estan completos en las universidades miembros de AAU y APLU.

(v) Para el analisis de 295 perfiles que involucran mas las actividades del desarrollo que la investigacion, vease Koehn (2012b).

(vi) En el estudio del autor sobre la Educacion Superior para el Desarrollo de la Cooperacion entre EE.UU. y Africa de 2009, el 82% de los directores de los proyectos indicaron que estaban conectados personalmente con su companero co-director antes de colaborar en la propuesta ganadora; por lo general, se conocian por siete anos o mas. El conocimiento interpersonal y la confianza construida a traves de anos de trabajo juntos, sin duda contribuyen a la voluntad y la capacidad de llevar a cabo colaboraciones adicionales de investigacion transnacional.

(vii) Los tres vinculos restantes se encuentran en Camerun, pais bilingue.

(viii) Para mas informacion acerca de la importancia de un enfoque integrador de las iniciativas academicas en campo de la salud global, vease MacFarlane, Jacobs y Kaaya (2008, p. 384).
Table 1. Regional Distribution of APLU/AAU-profiled Research
Projects (A=354)

Region or Country in Region Mentioned   Research N   %

Western Europe                          106          29.9
Asia                                    96           27.1
Central/South America                   92           26.0
Sub-Saharan Africa                      83           23.4
Central/Eastern Europe                  34           9.6
Middle East/N. Africa                   20           5.6

Note: totals exceed 100% since many projects involve partners in more
than one region

Table 2. Principal Research Field: By Region (Ns=351-353)

Principal Field          Africa   Central/South   Asia   Western
                                  America                Europe

Health/medicine          41%      32%             30%    30%
Social sciences          14%      20%             25%    16%
Natural sciences         12%      13%             7%     17%
Environmental sciences   9%       19%             12%    8%
Engineering              3%       3%              17%    7%
Agricultural sciences    9%       7%              5%     2%
Other                    12%      6%              4%     20%

Table 3. Principal Source of Funding for APLU/AAU-profiled Research
Projects (N=355)

Principal Source of Funding              Research N   %

NSF, NIH, NIMH                           91           25.6
USAID                                    24           6.8
Other US government agencies             76           21.4
This university                          51           14.4
Overseas university/research institute   23           6.5
Host's national/subnational government   20           5.6
Foundation                               25           7.0
International organization               9            2.5
International NGO                        4            1.1
Multinational corporation                1            0.3
Other                                    31           8.7


Table 4. Total External Funds from All Sources for
APLU/AAU-profiled Projects (A=321)

Total External Funds    Research N   %

$50,000 or less; none   100          31.2
$51,000-$100,000        33           10.3
$101,000-$200,000       39           12.1
$201,000-$500,000       60           18.7
$501,000-$1,000,000     34           10.6
> $1,000,000            55           17.1

Table 5. Principal Research Field: By Total External Funds in '000s
(N=280)

Principal Field          $50 or      $51-100     $101-200    $201-500
                         less; none
                         #    %      #    %      #    %      #    %

Health/medicine          26   25.7   13   12.9   16   15.8   16   15.8
Social sciences          22   40.7   5    9.3    4    7.4    12   22.2
Natural sciences         8    20.0   5    12.5   5    12.5   10   25.0
Environmental sciences   9    23.1   1    2.6    6    15.4   6    15.4
Engineering              14   56.0   4    16.0   2    8.0    5    20.0
Agricultural sciences    6    28.6   2    9.5    2    9.5    3    14.3

Principal Field          $501-1,000  > $1,000

                         #    %      #    %

Health/medicine          9    8.9    21   20.8
Social sciences          6    11.1   5    9.3
Natural sciences         6    15.0   6    15.0
Environmental sciences   10   25.6   7    17.9
Engineering              0    0.0    0    0.0
Agricultural sciences    1    4.8    7    33.3

Tabla 1. Distribucion regional de los proyectos de investigacion
registrados en APLU/AAU (N=354)

Region o Pais en la Region Mencionada   Investigacion
                                        N               %

Europa Occidental                       106             29.9
Asia                                    96              27.1
America Central/del Sur                 92              26.0
Africa Subsahariana                     83              23.4
Europa Central/del Este                 34              9.6
Oriente Medio/Africa del Norte          20              5.6

Nota: los totales superan el 100%, ya que muchos proyectos involucran
socios en mas de una region.

Tabla 2. Principal Research Field: By Region (Ns=351-353)

Campo         Africa   America           Asia   Europa
principal              Central/del Sur          Occidental

Salud/        41%      32%               30%    30%
  Medicina
Ciencias      14%      20%               25%    16%
  Sociales
Ciencias      12%      13%               7%     17%
  Naturales
Ciencias      9%       19%               12%    8%
  Medioam-
  bientales
Ingenieria    3%       3%                17%    7%
Ciencias      9%       7%                5%     2%
  Agricolas
Otros         12%      6%                4%     20%

Tabla 3. Fuente principal de financiacion de los proyectos de
investigacion registrados en APLU/AAU (N=355)

Fuente principal de financiacion           Investigacion   %
                                           N

NSF, NIH, NIMH                             91              25.6
USAID                                      24              6.8
Otras agencias gubernamentales de EE.UU.   76              21.4
Universidad de origen                      51              14.4
Universidad/instituto de investigacion     23              6.5
  extranjero
Gobierno del pais de acogida               20              5.6
Fundacion                                  25              7.0
Organizacion internacional                 9               2.5
ONG internacional                          4               1.1
Corporacion Multinacional                  1               0.3
Otro                                       31              8.7

Tabla 4. Importe total de financiacion de todas las fuentes para los
proyectos reportados en APLU/AAU (N=321)

Importe total de la financiacion   Investigacion   %
                                   N

$50,000 o menos; nada              100             31.2
$51,000-$100,000                   33              10.3
$101,000-$200,000                  39              12.1
$201,000-$500,000                  60              18.7
$501,000-$1,000,000                34              10.6
> $1,000,000                       55              17.1

Tabla 5. Campo principal de investigacion, segun el importe total de
financiacion en '000 (N=280)

Campo principal             $50 o       $51-100     $101-200
                            menos; nada
                            #    %      #    %      #    %

Salud/Medicina              26   25.7   13   12.9   16   15.8
Ciencias Sociales           22   40.7   5    9.3    4    7.4
Ciencias Naturales          8    20.0   5    12.5   5    12.5
Ciencias Medioambientales   9    23.1   1    2.6    6    15.4
Ingenieria                  14   56.0   4    16.0   2    8.0
Ciencias Agricolas          6    28.6   2    9.5    2    9.5

Campo principal             $201-500    $501-1,000  > $1,000

                            #    %      #    %      #    %

Salud/Medicina              16   15.8   9    8.9    21   20.8
Ciencias Sociales           12   22.2   6    11.1   5    9.3
Ciencias Naturales          10   25.0   6    15.0   6    15.0
Ciencias Medioambientales   6    15.4   10   25.6   7    17.9
Ingenieria                  5    20.0   0    0.0    0    0.0
Ciencias Agricolas          3    14.3   1    4.8    7    33.3
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