ASTANA – Academics from the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Public Policy were involved in leading a three-day workshop in Astana in February in partnership with the Universities of Exeter and Edinburgh from the United Kingdom. Funding for The Learning in Governance and Innovations in Public Services workshop was secured through a grant from the Newton–Al-Farabi Partnership Programme, a new bilateral U.K.-Kazakhstan programme coordinated by Kazakhstan’s Science Fund and the British Council.
The forum was aimed at early-career researchers in political science, public policy, management and international relations both from the U.K. and Kazakhstan. It was led by a team of international public policy scholars: Dr. Claire Dunlop and Prof. Claudio Radaelli from the University of Exeter, Dr. Tony Kinder from the University of Edinburgh and Prof. Neil Collins and Dr. Saltanat Janenova from Nazarbayev University. More than 56 researchers and practitioners, including 15 from the U.K. and 46 from Kazakhstan, participated in the symposium.
The workshop focused on two major streams: learning in governance and innovations in public services. The first stream explored regulatory governance and policymaking as a challenge of learning. Focusing on how, when and from whom policymakers learn is crucial for the effectiveness and legitimacy of all systems of governance. These questions help to highlight the shortfalls of organisations that are often subject to regulatory reforms.
The second stream analysed the application of technologies and innovations in various public service areas, with a particular focus on social and health care, education and integrated services. Good practices from the international experience such as smart housing, e-government and e-learning technologies were explored through the participants’ debates and reflections on how to improve services for vulnerable groups of the population.
The Newton–Al-Farabi Partnership Programme, jointly financed by the governments of the U.K. and Kazakhstan, aims to develop existing contacts and build strong, sustainable, systemic relationships in research and innovation. It works with government bodies, research organisations, universities and businesses to support Kazakhstan in achieving its development goals.
Simon Williams, Director of the British Council Kazakhstan, said, “The Newton–Al-Farabi Partnership Programme allows us to use the U.K.’s strength in research and innovation to promote the economic development and social welfare of Kazakhstan. I would like to offer my congratulations to the winners of the grant and I wish them all the best for a successful workshop. I hope that this workshop is the start of a long and productive collaboration between the two partner institutions.”
Yerkin Tazabekova, acting chair of the Science Fund, added, “Participation in large-scale research projects on strategically-important themes which encourage Kazakhstan researchers to integrate with the international scientific community was one of the main priorities set out by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in his annual address to the people of Kazakhstan.”
The Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Public Policy, jointly with the U.K. partners, has produced a key findings document for their institutions’ websites and professional blog sites as an example of international collaboration through partnership. The longer-term benefit of the workshop will be the institutional links that Nazarbayev University is developing with the Universities of Exeter and Edinburgh and the workshop participants.
Saltanat Janenova is the coordinator of the workshop and an instructor at the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Public Policy. Aiman Temirova is a teaching assistant at the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Public Policy.