Ilia State University
Ilia State University (ISU) is the first higher education institution in Georgia to base its core undergraduate curriculum on the principles of liberal education.
ISU was established in 2006 on the basis of several different institutions. Currently, over 30 research institutes and laboratories are actively engaged in research and graduate teaching at ISU. Research and training continues to the graduate level through Master and PhD programs integrated in the School of Graduate Studies and supported by research institutes, centers and laboratories. ISU is committed to internationalisation by attracting top-notch research institutions, policy analysts and field experts as potential partners. At present, ISU comprises four schools – Arts and Sciences, Business, Law and Engineering & Natural Sciences – each offering distinctive training in their respective direction and in-depth research opportunity in social sciences, humanities, life sciences, earth sciences, and hard sciences.
Research is encouraged at ISU as the core higher education activity and the strategy to recruit and retain the best academics and researchers is in place. It has attracted well-known, high-quality academic staff not only at home, but also from abroad. ISU generates a significant amount of resources, including the best share from its annual budget, to offer opportunities for growth and to ensure retention on campus. This has resulted in having the best research citation index in Georgia.
At Ilia State University, Research and Innovation is not regarded as a standalone process. Rather, it is viewed on multiple levels of institutional departments, researchers and various staff dealing with the advancement of the university’s mission. Yet, it is possible to single out two key units, the Office of Development and the Department of Quality Assurance, which are both responsible for research related activities.
With regard to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), ISU has been at the forefront of science communication and science education for the general public, key stakeholders, education and science community, including secondary school system and society. The university community is convinced that science and related activities must be connected and linked to society.
As a young and innovative university in the Caucasus region, Ilia State University has to face certain structural, ideological and educational challenges resulting from the past as a member of the Soviet Union, and from political instabilities in the recent past. Therefore, the necessity to implement RRI has been recognised and fostered. Due to its unique cultural background, ISU will be able to provide valuable insights into the perception of RRI by citzens, and into culture-specific progress and obstacles concerning RRI implementation. It is, therefore, an important part of NUCLEUS concentrating on civil society. It also will valuably contribute to a cultural comparison between scientific systems and different approaches to implementing RRI, especially with regard to science communication and popularization, science education and public engagement. Moreover, Ilia State University has offered to become a NUCLEUS, actively embedding RRI into their university’s governance and testing RRI strategies in a unique academic environment.