05 March 2019

Three recommendations for "next generation" research on internationalisation

In a recent article published by the Boston College Center for International Higher Education, I argued that innovation in the research agenda for higher education internationalisation would depend on greater collaboration between the various research centres and institutes which focus on this topic.

Much of the research in this field is undertaken by scholar-practitioners, whose professional background in international education may serve as a barrier to innovation in the topics explored and research methods employed.

In response, I proposed three inter-related solutions:

1) That the network of higher education research centres around the world find a way to document and share information about the current landscape of research on international higher education and the internationalisation of higher education, highlighting gaps and pointing to lines of innovative enquiry. The Centre for Internationalisation of Education (Netherlands) has made a step in this direction with its mapping tool for Research Degree Projects in Internationalisation of Higher Education.

2) That active encouragement is provided to prospective research students to look beyond their practitioner experience (as relevant) in the search for a research topic.

3) That a financial incentive is established among the network of higher education research centres to encourage the selection of a research topic in an area of higher education internationalisation which is known to be under-researched. This could be in the form of a small travel grant, set up and administered by a consortium of higher education research centers, and funded either by those centers or through external sponsorship. The existence of a travel grant of this nature, not to mention its active promotion, would shine a spotlight on the need for innovation in internationalization research and therefore stimulate a different set of reflections among prospective research students.

Recognizing the need for innovation in research on the internationalisation of higher education, these three recommendations lay out a clear plan for how to stimulate new ideas in the field. They impact equally on new researchers, their supervisors, and the global network of higher education research centres and, if implemented, will help to drive innovation into the next generation of research projects in this growing field.

Proctor, D. (2018). "Next Generation Research on Internationalization – The Innovation Imperative". In Rumbley, L.E. & de Wit, H. (Eds.) CIHE Perspectives, No. 11. (2018). Innovative and Inclusive Internationalization: Proceedings of the WES-CIHE Summer Institute, June 20-22, 2018, pp 3-5.