Mahmood Habib Alaafia
Northern Municipal Council, Bahrain
Purpose: Research and Development (R&D) have become crucial to the success, sustainability and competitiveness of any organisation. For municipal affairs in Bahrain, the R&D concept has risen as a core business area that can theoretically resolve the challenges encountered by municipal councils with respect to a scarcity of resources, including the budgetary deficit, expertise and competency, coverage, and scope.
Design/Methodology/Approach: Students at universities are generally requested to conduct research as a requirement of their study under the supervision of highly competent academics. It is common that most students face difficulty in choosing beneficial topics of research, and therefore may conduct research that is of less value in order to complete the requirements for their degree. Based on the needs of both sides, the idea of collaboration between the Northern Municipal Council and local universities on R&D has come into existence. To this end, the municipal council supports Bahraini universities in terms of providing them with a list of the council’s research needs. These needs represent different suggested topics that the universities may investigate by conducting proper research. The outcome of the research will benefit the society in general and Bahrain’s municipal councils in particular and will help the latter achieve sustainable development goals.
Findings: The universities have found this approach a pioneering idea, and thereby have taken the necessary steps to establish a robust mechanism to make the cooperation effective. For the Public-private partnerships (PPP) to become more mature, there is a need to promote its concept more strongly and effectively. It needs support from the highest official levels in the Kingdom, and the needs of employees and investors should be recognised and analysed. To maximise the potential benefits of this collaboration, it is crucial that the concerned parties agree on the goals and priorities of such a major project.
Originality/value: The paper addresses some issues pertinent to the collaboration and provides examples of research that has been done, in addition to outlining research plans for the future. Furthermore, the paper discusses examples of development areas that may help in shaping a roadmap as a basis for community partnership. Practical and Social Implications: The success measure of this PPP is the ability to combine resources of the private sector and other organisations for the benefit and prosperity of society in general, which would accelerate tangible and intangible gains to the private sector in the long run.
Keywords: Research and Development (R&D); Sustainable Development Goals; Public-private partnerships (PPP); Society priorities; Scarcity of resources; Council’s needs
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: M.H. Alaafia, (2017) ‘R&D collaboration between the municipal council and local universities: case study of Bahrain’, Int. J. of Innovation and Knowledge Management in the Middle East and North Africa, Vol.6, No.1, pp. 27-40.