Abertay University wins British Council funding to help Kazakhstan energy and farming sectors
The energy and agricultural industries in Kazakhstan are set to benefit from Scottish expertise thanks to almost £100,000 of grants awarded by the British Council to Abertay University.
Experts from Abertay’s Dundee Business School (DBS) will use the funding to run workshops and study visits over the next few months.
The workshops are being organized in partnership with two universities based in Kazakhstan’s biggest city, Almaty: the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University and the Turar Rysukulov New Economic University.
Each workshop will bring together between 30 and 40 researchers from Kazakhstan and the UK to share knowledge, establish partnerships and develop recommendations for enhancing Kazakhstan’s energy security and agricultural competitiveness.
The first event, at the end of June, is aimed at helping Kazakhstan exploit the potential of renewable energy sources to improve the nation’s energy security by reducing its dependence on finite resources of oil and gas.
DBS experts Professor Reza Kouhy, Dr Anastasia Koulouri and Dr Nikolai Mouraviev will work with colleagues from the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University to identify possible areas for joint research into clean and sustainable renewable energy sources.
Dr Koulouri said: “We want to help Kazakhstan better understand why renewable energy sources are critical for its energy security, and how to create conditions for expanding their use. Reducing the nation’s reliance on oil will ensure greater economic and environmental sustainability.”
The second workshop, scheduled for September this year, will explore strategies for increasing the efficiency and innovativeness of Kazakhstani agricultural sector, making it more competitive and less reliant on government subsidy.
Drs Koulouri and Mouraviev will be joined for the workshop by Professor Gavin Reid, Head of DBS, working with colleagues from the Turar Rysukulov New Economic University to explore research areas and develop long-term partnerships.
Dr Mouraviev commented: “Over-reliance on government subsidy can significantly reduce competitiveness in agriculture and ultimately prove unsustainable. We will bring together researchers from various backgrounds to explore inefficiencies and formulate solutions for making the agricultural sector more competitive.”
Later this year, Dr Mouraviev will travel to Almaty Management University in for a three-month study of how local energy sector businesses formulate and implement strategy. He will also investigate how these companies address their corporate social responsibilities and stakeholder governance.
Around the same time, Dr Koulouri plans to spend six weeks at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University studying the role of higher education in clean energy promotion and policy development in Kazakhstan.
Professor Gavin Reid said: “The British Council funding that will enable DBS to carry out these important projects is a very welcome recognition of DBS’ expertise in key areas of innovation, competitiveness, economic strategy and sustainability.
“We are confident that we will be able to make a major contribution, in partnership with our Kazakhstani colleagues, to helping that nation tackle the challenges it faces and secure a better future for its people. I am sure that our work will produce valuable lessons that can be applied not just in Kazakhstan but also across the planet.”
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