In a modern competitive world, the role of research in academic institutions is critical for sustainability and development. The quality of research work directly translates to the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom. Through the Central Asia University Partnerships Program (UniCEN), administered by American Councils for International Education and funded by the U.S. State Department through the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Iowa State University and the Bukhara Branch of Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers (TIIAME) developed and implement a professional development program for Uzbekistan faculty with an emphasis on academic writing and publishing.

In October-December 2020, Iowa State University and TIIAME Bukhara organized three professional training webinars for faculty members of four Uzbek universities: TIIAME Bukhara, Tashkent State Technical University, Tashkent State Agrarian University, and Karshi Engineering and Economics Institute. A total of 60 Uzbekistan faculty and students participated in webinars that addressed publishing in peer-reviewed international journals, as well as introduced programs at Iowa State University in machinery systems and agricultural and biosystems engineering graduate programs.

In spring 2021, Iowa State faculty delivered an additional program of virtual seminars for TIIAME Bukhara faculty. Participants self-enrolled to the course via Canvas Teacher and watched videos corresponding to the course content at their own pace. The modules comprised of video recordings, supplementary materials, and assignments aimed to improve participants’ practical skills in designing research projects, writing and publishing in academic journals, and applying for research grants. Each module also included an assignment designed to assess the application of concepts and ability to develop and implement a research project. Participants selected one of four projects to work on during the program: a journal submission, a grant proposal, a conference submission, or a research proposal. Most assignments involved writing a section of their project after watching related videos.

Iowa State University professors continue to engage with Uzbekistan faculty members to discuss their research projects. These networks could produce joint research publications, support visiting fellowships, and provide access to library resources.