September 1, 2020

Faculty Research Grants are meant to support faculty by funding projects that will lead to publications in respected, peer-reviewed journals. The grants are rooted in the notion that effective research translates into better classroom instruction and in the associated idea that it will improve the quality of education at AUCA. This academic year, the Senate Research Committee reviewed 16 faculty proposals in the Spring and Fall, recommending funding for twelve faculty applications. The awards totaled nearly 80000 USD. The committee opened the competition to all areas of faculty expertise, evaluating applications based on the fundamental metric of any research proposal – whether it presented a compelling case for making a clear contribution to knowledge – and ranking each application according to a series of transparent criteria, including significance, conceptualization, originality, budget, and ethics, among others. 

The committee awarded research on a range of topics, with professors Sergey Sklyar and Luibov Altynnikova using mathematical modeling to detect pollution in Issyk-Kul. Emir Kulov is examining the discursive strategies in play in the upcoming presidential election through media modeling and by sifting through interviews, secondary data (government statistics, election observation reports, etc.), and speeches. Emil Nasritdinov is exploring the interplay of urban environments and river morphology in a project that encompasses aerial mapping and drone photography, the latest in a series of projects that have established him as a nuanced scholar of urban landscapes in Kyrgyzstan. Rustam Orozbaev will conduct geological field research in the Aktyuz Complex in the Northern Tien-Shan when conditions permit, with additional travel planned to perform analysis of rock samples in the Johns Hopkins University laboratory. Tomoris Orozoeva is making a documentary film on the Dordoi bazaar, using it as a lens to examine the transition from a planned to a bazaar-centered economy in the Kyrgyz Republic. Adilet Karzhoev will record the social dynamics of coal mining in Sulutku for his documentary, detailing the historical trajectory of a Soviet city that is now termed a Forgotten or Ghost Town. James Plumtree will continue his work on Manas, researching how the epic is taught in Bishkek to understand “whether the internationalizing of universities in the capital has resulted in divergent pedagogical approaches to cultural heritage.” Riyang Phang is studying Upper Echelons Theory and the complex relationship between firm outcomes and CEO personality traits and individual differences. The committee rewarded several additional proposals, including an endeavor to record and catalogue oral histories in Kyrgyzstan under Stalin’s rule. This has since expanded into a broader project involving Professor Marianne Kamp of Indiana University, who will be hosting a series of Zoom workshops with AUCA faculty over the summer to address collecting and indexing oral histories in Central Asia. Jyldyz Bekbalaeva recently completed her research into copyright literacy together with Shirin Tumenbaeva, who also examined the interplay between investment and declining democratic values in a separate project together with Mehrigiul Ablezova. Urmat Ryskulov did work on modernized payment systems and their impact on the economic performance of banks. 

1st round awards

Urmat Ryskulov, “Modernized payment systems and their impact on economic performance”

Mehrigiul Ablezova and Shirin Tumenbaeva, “The decline of democracy in the EU and its impact in Central Asia”

Daniyar Karabaev, “The untold stories of Stalin era Kyrgyzstan” 

Jyldyz Bekbalaeva, Shirin Tumenbaeva, “Copyright literacy in higher education in Kyrgyzstan”

2nd  round awards

Sergey Sklyar and Luibov Altynnikova, “Creating a three-dimensional model to analyze wind currents in reservoirs”                                 

Rustam Orozbaev, “Eclogites and the surrounding gneisses of the Aktyuz complex”

Tomiris Orozoeva, “A documentary film about Dordoi”

Emir Kulov and Medet Tiulegenov, “Party mobilization patterns in Kyrgyzstan’s electoral campaigns”                                       

Emil Nasritdinov, “The mythology and morphology of urban rivers in Bishkek”

3rd  round awards

James Plumtree, ‘Epic Proportions: Teaching Manas in Universities in Kyrgyzstan’

Riyang Phang, “Relationship of CEO and CFO Personality Traits to Employee Satisfaction and

Firm Outcomes”

Adilet Karzhoev, “Suluktu - The Town of Miners”


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