Development of university research potential as the basis of competitive quality of higher education in the United States: experience for Ukraine

Keywords: academic staff, ARWU, competitive educational quality, funding, research and developments, study programmes, Ukraine, University research potential, USA


The development of University research potential (URP) in the USA during 1950-2020 in view of achieving competitive quality of higher education is analysed in the article.

The national deterministic context and components of this potential by the types of activity (educational, research) and by the resources (personnel, financial, organizational) as well as component impact on the highest excellence quality of education (according to the criteria of the Academic Ranking of World Universities, ARWU) are identified. It is proved that the context of URP development is dichotomous and consists of national spheres of education and research. This assertion corresponds to the duality of higher education (as an integrated intersection of education and research) and the composition and structure of higher education mission (list of interrelated keywords and the order of their priority: education, research, creativity / innovation).

It is substantiated that URP is first actualized within study programmes of the highest level of complexity (Master's, PhD and Postdoctoral), research activity of academic staff (especially professors) and research organizations associated with Universities (institutes, centres, laboratories, clinics). This reasoning conforms to the concept and criteria for research and doctoral Universities in line with the Carnegie Classification. These components are integrated into the educational process to varying degrees, so they have a different impact on the quality of education. For the first 30 top US Universities, there is no probable correlation between ranking achievements and the amount of research and developments (R&D) funding as well as the number of researchers in institutions. Instead, such correlation is strong for the number of Postdoctorates in an institution.

In general, there is a steady trend of downward in the share of the higher education sector within R&D performance in the US that amounted to 12.0 % in 2019. Although scale of higher education sector share is still growing quantitatively and is the basis for modernizing education content. At the same time, Master's, PhD and Postdoctoral programmes are spreading at a significant pace. In the 1959/60 academic year, the ratio of the number of awarded Bachelor's, Master's and PhD degrees was 1 : 27 : 7.5, in 2018/19 – 1 : 41 : 9.3 under multiple times increased graduation. Between 1979 and 2019, the number of Postdoctorates increased 3.7 times. Salaries of academic staff, especially professors, are increased, academic staff workload is minimized and subject-oriented, a system of permanent employment is proposed, and a modern educational, research, and information infrastructure is created for effective research and research-based education activity.

The national context of the development of URP is stably favourable given the increase in the share of GDP for the funding of education institutions in general, higher education institutions in particular, and R&D especially. The corresponding expenditures reached 7.1 %, 3.0 % and 3.1 % GDP and are the largest ones quantitatively in the world. Purposeful and consolidated (federal, business, university, public) support for education and R&D has been and is provided in critical periods of the country's competitive struggle for leadership in an innovatively progressive world. The state of these spheres, in particular higher education, and URP, is systematically examined. The decades of the 1960s of the last century and the twenties of the present century are significant. In the 1960s, the share of GDP for the higher education institutions funding was doubled, the number of awarded Master's degrees was increased almost tripled, and the award of PhD degrees was increased six times to overcome the threat of educational and scientific backwardness. R&D funding reached 2.8 % of GDP, of which 1.9 % came from the federal budget. Funding for Universities’ R&D has increased 3.6 times. The super-powerful public University of California, San Diego (1960), 9 other world-class Universities, and 6 subworld-class Universities according to the ARWU, the National Academy of Engineering (1964), and the National Academy of Education (1965) were established.

The characteristics of state, monitoring and development policy of the URP and educational and research context in the US is a guideline for the improvement of Ukrainian Universities.


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Author Biographies

Volodymyr Lugovyi, National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine

– Doctor of Sciences (Dr. Hab.) in Education, Professor
– Ukraine
– National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, First Vice-President

Olena Slyusarenko, Institute of Higher Education, National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine

– Doctor of Sciences (Dr. Hab.) in Education, Senior Researcher
– Ukraine
– Institute of Higher Education, National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, Deputy Director for Research

Zhanneta Talanova, Institute of Higher Education, National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine

– Doctor of Sciences (Dr. Hab.) in Education, Senior Researcher, Associated Professor
– Ukraine
– Institute of Higher Education, National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, Head of the Department
– National Erasmus+ Office – Ukraine, Analytics Manager, Kyiv, Ukraine


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How to Cite
Lugovyi, V., Slyusarenko, O., & Talanova, Z. (2021). Development of university research potential as the basis of competitive quality of higher education in the United States: experience for Ukraine. International Scientific Journal of Universities and Leadership, (11), 86-115.
Development of research potential of universities