Research Strategy 2015-2019

Research in essence is about findings solutions to existing problems. And problems exist aplenty in the developing nations of the twenty-first century. The Aga Khan University’s campuses are based in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda where poverty, strife, conflict and under-availability of resources affect successive generations and their lives. Our research – from bench to bedside to the field – directly addresses common issues at these locations to positively impact today and tomorrow.


There are several key pre-requisites for a university to be considered research-led:

  • Thematic research focus;
  • Ability to attract, recruit and retain a talented pool of faculty and students;
  • Research active international faculty;
  • Quality graduate programmes;
  • An ‘engine’ of PhD students and Post-Doctoral fellows driving the research;
  • A research ethos which pervades all its activities;
  • Core facilities and high quality infrastructure, equipment and support services;
  • Attracting substantial external grant funding;
  • Transforming knowledge into goods and services;
  • Influencing national/international policy;
  • Impactful publications; and
  • Global partnerships.

In its short history, research at AKU has impacted educational, social and health policies in Pakistan.  As its campuses are at different stages of academic evolution, the newer entities have opportunities to learn from the experiences of the older ‘more evolved’ entities. While these initial signs are promising, AKU must consider  its unique geographical advantage; identify research niches; focus its energies on hiring research-active faculty and attracting bright young researchers; build a strong cadre of PhD and post-doctoral fellows the engines of research; and build on existing international partnerships strategically ensuring that its leaders, researchers, educators and professional staff can develop the best possible set of productive links.


Aga Khan University will be an autonomous, international institution of distinction, primarily serving the developing world and Muslim societies in innovative and enduring ways.


Position AKU as an emerging leader in research and achieve excellence:

  • Basic, clinical and social sciences research that is internationally benchmarked;
  • Produce, attract and retain the brightest minds in academia in the regions it operates in; and
  • Be the leader in quality of graduate studies.


Keeping in mind the “single, comprehensive university” model, the Office of the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies will undertake initiatives across all campuses (Pakistan, Afghanistan, East Africa and the United Kingdom) that will…

  • Build research capacity – human resource and core facilities.   
  • Promote better financial and technical management of research.   
  • Create linkages between research and scholarly work in graduate studies.   
  • Provide uniform regulations and framework for research and graduate studies.   
  • Control costs and generate revenue.