Research Approach at the MBRSG

Research sits at the core of the mission of the MBRSG and contributes to the foundation of both the Master’s and executive education programs at the school. Research at the MBRSG is (a.) collaborative, (b.) practice based and (c.) integrated in its approach. 
(a.) Collaborative: research at the school maintains a strong element of collaboration between faculty and research staff as well as with MBRSG government partners. Partnerships with other government entities to develop and execute research projects ensures that the MBRSG’s research continues to be relevant and timely. 

(b.) Practice based: policy makers are one of the main audiences of the research conducted by the school. To ensure that the research being conducted can be adequately used by leaders in their decision making processes, the MBRSG pays special attention to policy focused research. 

(c.)  Integrated: research at the MBRSG is integrated with the school’s other two core functions to ensure that the research conducted at the school serves academic and teaching purposes and to provide students access to a variety of potential mentors and experts in their specializations. 
The MBRSG research agenda outlines the research direction and aims. The agenda is developed such that it fulfills the MBRSG mandate, ensures cross-pollination with Master’s programs and informs the UAE’s policy priorities. 
The MBRSG key research areas are in line with the UAE Vision 2021 and the Dubai Plan 2021 which aim to build a sustainable country and improve education and health services. The UAE’s strategic direction is focused on sustainable social, environmental and economic development which includes maintaining cohesion and preserving identity in UAE society, achieving a knowledge economy and building a sustainable infrastructure. In addition, the city of Dubai has set for itself ambitious goals such as becoming the happiest and smartest city in the world, becoming a pioneering government, and being the preferred place to work and visit. 
The school’s key research areas of (a) social policy, (b) education policy, (c) health policy, (d) public leadership and strategic management, (e) innovation and future governments and (f) sustainable development are specially designed and geared to inform policy and program initiatives in UAE government and feed directly into the UAE and Dubai’s strategic goals. 
This ensures that the research department fulfills the MBRSG’s mandate of improving and supporting public policy and public management processes through the production of research that is relevant to the interests and priorities of Dubai and the UAE. The school’s forward-looking research agenda directly contributes to fulfilling the school’s vision of becoming the world pioneer in applied knowledge of government administration and policy and its mission of empowering leaders and policy makers. Executive education is also a major pillar in the schools current and future strategy.
The research agenda is integrated with the school’s academic programs and provides a local and contextual knowledge base for the academic public policy specializations. Students will benefit from applied research studies that demonstrate how abstract policy debates are operationalized on the ground and how real world challenges are associated with complex policy topics. 
Key research areas 
The MBRSG conducts research in six key areas:
a. Social policy: This research area is interdisciplinary in nature and focuses on some of the most pressing social policy issues in the UAE and region at large. Broadly, research in this area is concerned with social equality and cohesion, public service accessibility, inclusive policy making and the well being of individuals and families. Work in this area pays special attention to women, the elderly, the disabled and those living in remote and rural areas. 
Current and planned research in this area:
  • Women and leadership in the UAE 
  • Social cohesion in Dubai
  • Emirati family  
  • Inclusive policy making and citizen engagement 
  • Utilizing assistive technologies to aid accessibility for individuals with disabilities
b.   Education policy: This research area focuses on issues related to education access and reform in the UAE and the region. Research in this area explores some of the main challenges facing education in the region including access to higher education, skills gaps, building capacity for the knowledge economy, technology integration in education and unemployment among youth. Education policy research at the MBRSG pays special attention to global trends impacting education such as globalization and the rise of the digital classroom, while focusing on local issues such as the youth bulge, unemployment, emiratization and drop out rates among youth.  
Current and planned research in this area:
  • Persistence in the STEM pipeline among students in Abu Dhabi
  • Providing equal opportunities to youth in the Western Region
  • Inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools
  • Technology and education
  • Tackling education and employment challenges in the Northern Emirates 
  • UAE education policies and university branch campuses
c.    Health policy: The health policy research area aims to explore two distinct features: healthcare policy and policy for health in the context of the UAE. The main premise of healthcare policy research at MBRSG is geared to addressing the needs and challenges related to the provision of health services and in accordance with the UAE National Agenda. While policy for health aims to improve the overall health of the UAE population based on the policy implications and recommendations.
Current and planned research in this area:
  • Evaluating Dubai hospitals and physicians
  • UAE health policy making 
  • UAE e-health privacy laws and policy 
  • UAE health professionals policy involvement in maternal and child health
d.    Public leadership and strategic management: This research area is focused on producing empirical research into the inter-related phenomena of public leadership and strategic management in governments in the UAE. Governments are the main tool for achievement of UAE government agendas, and yet there is little research into how they work. This research focuses primarily on individual leaders and managers as the unit of study, in line with the practice turn in strategic management and leadership studies. 
Current and planned research in this area:
  • Purposes, practices and arenas of public leadership
  • Public leadership development in the UAE
  • Public leadership behaviors, job satisfaction and performance
  • Sense-making by middle managers in government. 
e.    Innovation and future governments: This research area is focused on the evolution of digital governance, growth of the innovation economy and emergence of smart cities and how these phenomena are transforming the ways in which governments, businesses and societies function and interact globally. Building the “government of the future” depends heavily on understanding the opportunities, challenges and policy implications brought about by these emerging digital transformations. In the UAE and the wider Arab region, these digital transformations are giving way to new models of governance where policymaking is becoming digitally-driven, data-heavy, predictive and “smart”. 
Current and planned research in this area:
  • Smart cities and the ethical implications of data sharing  
  • Arab Social Media Report 
  • Open government data implications in the GCC
  • Smart Dubai Case Study 
  • Innovation in the UAE government
  • Future studies
f.    Sustainable development: This research area focuses on sustainable development in all of its facets – economic, social and environmental, while paying special attention to the impact of market, policy and institutional actions on each of these spheres. Within economics, sustainable economic policies are explored, especially within the context of the oil-rich GCC and the impact of these policies on economic growth and equality as well as on the environment. Issues related to social sustainability and environmental sustainability are examined within the global context of environmental treaties and development goals and the local context of energy, infrastructure and climate regulations and policies. Finally, social sustainability is explored through the lens of development and long term social stability including equal and broad infrastructure and social development. 
Current and planned research in this area:
  • Policy analysis of the UAE’s decision to lift subsidies on fuel prices
  • Optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of the already existing transportation infrastructure in Dubai
  • Quality of life/wellbeing measures in the UAE/happiness  
  • Promoting sustainable economic growth in the GCC 
  • Achieving the UAE’s environmental sustainability goals 
Research Outcomes
MBRSG will continue to disseminate its research outcome it variety of different ways. These include:
  • Policy briefs
  • Research reports 
  • Case studies
  • Policy council proceedings
  • Academic and professional conferences
  • Journal articles
  • Newspaper opinion articles
  • Public research seminars 
  • Government conferences and workshops
  • Research blog posts
  • Executive education programs
  • Master programs
  • Books, book chapters, and book reviews

To contact researchers at the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government directly, please click here

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