The Academic Research Centre (ARC) arises from observations made by the Founders, Professor Nherera and Dr Chakarisa over a period of time, regarding the growing need to enhance academic research capacity across all disciplines in Zimbabwe, the whole Southern Africa Development Community Region and indeed internationally. Within Sub-Saharan Africa, it is widely acknowledged that with the exception of South Africa, research output is relatively low, as evident from the limited number of publications by scholars in comparison to output from other global regions. Yet, research has become necessary in the increasingly competitive knowledge based global economy in which policies and development strategies need to be backed by empirical and other research evidence. The need to develop high level local research capacity has become more and more apparent in both the public and private sectors. Post-graduate qualifications have become the normal requirement in middle to senior level work situations which are growing in complexity and competitiveness. In Zimbabwe for instance, all academic staff in universities are required to hold or at least to be well on their way towards acquiring a minimum of Doctoral qualifications by 2020. Given the current low proportion of holders of such qualifications in almost all universities in the country, hundreds of lecturers have embarked on their Doctoral studies through local institutions or foreign ones. The current capacity of local universities to enroll Doctoral candidates is far lower than the demand exerted by this call for higher qualifications. Consequently, many aspiring candidates fail to enroll while a lot of those enrolled either locally or with foreign institutions do not seem to get adequate research training and supervisory support, resulting in many of them taking unnecessarily long to complete their studies. The ARC therefore endeavours to contribute towards the enhancement of research capacity at all levels and get involved in contributing towards research based policies and strategies in Zimbabwe, the SADC Region, Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. It aims to achieve this through either undertaking research projects in response to calls for proposals or by capacitating potential researchers, including the development of a bigger pool of Doctoral qualification holders.
The Vision of the Academic Research Centre is to be an international leading centre in interdisciplinary academic research.
The Mission of the Academic Research Centre is to become an international centre of excellence in interdisciplinary academic research and scholarship that impacts on policy and practice. The Centre endeavours to provide top-class research training to help accelerate the completion rates of Doctoral candidates and assist academics and other scholars increase their output of quality research and other scholarly publications.