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BRECIL- Building Social Research Capacities in Higher Education Institutions in Lao PDR and Malaysia

BRECIL is a multi-country Erasmus + CHBE joint project involving higher education institutions from both the EU and ASEAN countries. It focuses on the development of research and innovative capacities of good research governance and management through capacity building in higher education systems. This project commences from October 2017 to March 2021.

The Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya is leading this project with the three EU partners, two Laos’s partners and Universiti Utara Malaysia.

UUM’s role in this project is closely related to sustaining research capacity building by utilising ICT technologies. The UUM team comprises AP Dr. Hariharan N Krishnasamy, Professor Huda Ibrahim, AP Dr. Azman Yasin, AP Dr. Mazni Omar and AP Dr. Mazida Ahmad. Below are some of the highlights of the activities and events under the BRECIL Project.


UUM Study Tour

One of the major highlights of the project was the UUM study Tour which was conducted on 24 and 25 March, 2018. The two-day study tour at UUM focusing on research governance is to fulfil the wider objectives of developing human capital in higher education institutions, particularly in Malaysia and Laos PDR, through research training and capacity building. It is also to facilitate individual learning and the developments of institutional mechanisms in Social Science research.

Besides a tour of the interesting sites and facilities available in UUM, seven sessions were conducted during the study tour. The two-day sessions began with the introduction to the BRECIL Study Tour, followed by the research governance briefing by RIMC, research governance and performance tools by the UUM library, the BRECIL Partner communication series, research governance and ICT, publication by UUM Press, and finally the research governance briefing by ICC. Delegates from the partner universities were very impressed with the support system for academics in UUM. Taking the library as an example, the delegates were impressed with the wide range of materials available and the conducive environment for conducting research.

ICT Training

The ICT training was based on the premise that the use of ICT would facilitate research. The participants required skills in using ICT so that they could be integrated into research. The pre-training preparation included materials/power points and relevant websites that were useful to understand the topics to be covered during the training. The date for the first training session was fixed for 20 May, 2020 using Zoom. Most of the participants were from the Laos universities. Details of the Zoom connection were provided to all participants and observers. The training was for duration of 2 hours.

The two-hour session comprised the introduction to SPSS, as well as the three applications, T-test, ANOVA, and correlation. The necessary data was provided earlier so that it could be used to show hypothetical examples on how to run the programs and interpret the results. Participants were given opportunities to take a hands-on approach when the data was analysed using the various functions available in the SPSS program.

The second training session on reference management was conducted on 28 March, 2020. All the participants had been provided with notes to install the Mendeley software before the training session. Trainees were advised to familiarise themselves with the software. Amongst the topics covered under Mendeley were utilising Mendeley for efficient reference management, automatically generate bibliographies, collaborate with other researchers using online, easily import papers from other research software, find relevant papers based on what the participants are reading, access your papers from anywhere online.

The output from the training was quite evident when the Laos partners presented 5 papers during the BRECIL Digital Symposium 2020 organized by Universiti Utara Malaysia. 


BRECIL Digital Symposium

UUM successfully organized the two-day BRECIL Digital Symposium 2020 on 1 and 2 December. This marks the last major event for 2020 in the BRECIL Project which was initiated three year ago in 2017. BRECIL is a multi-country Erasmus+ CBHE joint project involving higher education institutions from both the European Union and ASEAN countries. The earlier plan was to have a face-to-face Symposium with participants from partner universities, that is, Universiti Malaya, Gothenburg University, Groningen University, SDI Munich University, the National University of Laos and Souphanouvong University. The advent of Covid-19 turned the Symposium into a digitalisation initiative in which 10 papers were presented. The Symposium provided an avenue for all partner universities to present research papers based on the skills acquired during the research training sessions. NUOL and SU presented a total of five papers using the knowledge and skills they had acquired throughout the training sessions and study tours since 2018. Also, the remaining five papers were presented from Universiti Malaya, Gothenburg University, Groningen University, SDI Munich University and Universiti Utara Malaysia. This was a huge transformative process towards conducting research as many of the participants specifically from Laos were on a steep learning curve about conducting research and research processes. The conference proceedings will be published in 2021.

BRECIL Website and Research Portal

UUM’s major tasks in the BRECIL Project are to develop a BRECIL website and research Repository which would facilitate the development, dissemination and promotion of research specifically in Laos. There will be an online demonstration on filling in the biodata of the respective participants in the National University of Laos and Souphanouvong University. For a start, participants will fill in their personal particulars, academic affiliation, details of courses attended, study tour undertaken during the duration of the project and the cross training they are expected to do in June 2020. The research portal acts as an important performance tool in which it tracks the progress of the researcher from the beginning stages of the research till the end. For more information, please visit