Strategic Vision for the Research at AUST
The American University of Science and Technology (AUST) is an institution of higher learning that is committed to excellence and freedom in research within an environment that fosters humane and ethical values and practice. AUST strives to create visibility in basic and applied research works that engage both faculty and students in various disciplines, with an ultimate focus on innovative solutions which impact individuals, communities, and the world. AUST also strives to create partnership with the industry and to enrich its culture by building a research network with well recognized international universities.
Research and Ethics Council
The Research and Ethics Council (REC) is an advisory body whose main role is to provide consultation and guidance and to recommend policies and procedures to the Executive Council of the American University of Science and Technology with the aim of augmenting the Institution's ability to fulfill its potential for distinction in research, creative, and scholarly activities. The REC also aims to foster and motivate research efforts and creative developments that address the multiple societal challenges faced nationally, regionally, and across the world in all disciplines within the University. The REC ascertains that research conducted at AUST is in accordance with the university’s moto of Commitment to Excellence and that it meets with the high standards of research ethics, integrity, and conduct.
Institutional Review Board
The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is an ethical university body that ensures that beneficence, justice, and respect for persons are upheld in research practice. The IRB is responsible for protecting the rights, welfare, and privacy of the individuals involved in human subject research—whether interventional or observational. This is achieved by ensuring that: i) research participants receive sufficient information that can be easily understood, and ii) appropriate strategies are in place to protect participants from potential adverse consequences of the research. Accordingly, the IRB possesses the authority to approve, disapprove, monitor, and request modifications in all research activities that fall within its jurisdiction as specified by both international and national standard and regulatory means as well as institutional policy.
Hence, the IRB is responsible for providing independent evaluation of proposed research studies, and deliberating on whether: i) the proposed research topic is innovative and relevant to the field in question; ii) the time requested for the implementation of the proposed research project is adequate; iii) the proposed research project has ethical and/or physical implications; and, iv) release time for research and/or seed funds are to be granted or not.
University Support for Researchers
The American University of Science and Technology encourages research faculty members to design, supervise, and conduct novel research projects in specific areas in their field of expertise. AUST shall ensure that the goals of these projects are aligned with the vision, mission, values, and goals of the university.
Upon the approval of the Research and Ethics Council, AUST may provide a range of support for these projects that encompasses the following: i) seed funds for research; ii) travel funds to deliver research outcomes; iii) support to organize conferences, symposia, seminars, and workshops; iv) assistance in writing research proposals to funding agencies; and, v) support for publication fees.
Types of Research
The American University of Science and Technology fosters the two major types of empirical research: qualitative and quantitative. The choice of qualitative or quantitative methods is commensurate with the nature of the research topic that the researcher wants to investigate as well as the research questions he/she aims to address. Quantitative research is of four types: i) descriptive; ii) correlational; iii) quasi-experimental; and, iv) experimental. Qualitative research is of six types: i) phenomenological model; ii) the ethnographic model; iii) grounded theory; iv) case study; v) historical model; and, vi) the narrative model.
Laboratory and Research Facilities
The American University of Science and Technology encompasses a vast number of laboratory and research facilities distributed over more than 3000 m2. These facilities furnish researchers with the needed tools to hone their applied skills in the various areas of their expertise.
General safety rules and regulations are also posted in all laboratory and research facilities; special safety measures are also posted next to all hazardous equipment. The tools and equipment in all laboratory and research facilities are maintained and upgraded by the laboratory technicians who are always present. With regard to the computing facilities, software upgrades and updates are handled periodically by the IT Department. Hardware upgrades are done every three to four years or as need arises.
The American University of Science and Technolgoy fosters ethical principles that govern human rights, animal protection, and respect for the environment, and expects these principles to be exercised and maintained at all times, by its researchers, in all related activities, within or outside its premises:
i) When conducting research on human subjects, AUST expects that the researcher minimizes harm and risks and maximizes benefits. It also expects its researcher to respect human dignity, privacy, and autonomy.
ii) AUST requests that investigators, who are frequently involved with tests on human subjects as part of their research, attain the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certification.
iii) AUST does not encourage its researcher to conduct unnecessary or poorly designed animal experiments.
iv) AUST does not encourage its researcher to inflict harm on the environment despite the relevance of the research topic.
Accordingly, AUST expects that all researchers have a clear disclosure of ethical issues in their grant proposals as well as in their publications of research studies, in a transparent non-conflicting manner. In case there is an evident breach to the abovementioned ethical principles, the IRB shall intervene and deliberate on whether the research study in question is temporarily suspended and redesigned, or terminated.
AUST requests that the following documents be submitted to the IRB:
a- Research Grant Proposal
b- Application to Conduct Research Involving Human Participants/Subjects
c- Agreement of Consent for Research Subjects
d- Partnership Agreement if the prospective research involves multiple institutions (Note: In this case the above documents b and c are also required for every participating institution)
Freedom of Research
The American University of Science and Technolgoy believes that the freedom in pursuing intellectual inquiry is a core value for the researcher and for the institution. Accordingly, AUST encourages its researchers to engage in intellectual inquiry and carry out scholarly research in any field of their interest as long as the proposed study encompasses the necessary expertise at the levels of Principal Investigator and/or Co-Investigator(s).
The American University of Science and Technolgoy encourages the concept of interdisciplinary research whether by individuals or teams so as to integrate information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and theories from more than a single discipline with the aim of advancing fundamental understanding or solving problems whose solutions are not attainable from a single area or discipline of research practice.
Collaborative Research and Visiting Research Scholars
The American University of Science and Technolgoy encourages research that is undertaken through the collective efforts of several researchers who work together from the same or different academic departments. AUST also encourages research involving multiple institutions to work together on the same project. In this sense, AUST welcomes visiting research scholars from international institutions, after securing the approval of the Executive Council.
The American University of Science and Technolgoy encourages its researchers to solicit project funding from the industry. In this sense, a Sponsored Research Agreement is established between AUST and the industrial partner for the purpose of funding and conducting research at AUST. The Sponsored Research Agreement shall include terms governing the following: i) the scope of work to be conducted; ii) the budget for the research; iii) the payment obligations and timing; and, iv) the intellectual property rights.
Students and Research
The American University of Science and Technology encourages its faculty members to supervise the senior design work of undergraduate students and the exploratory works of M.S. and potentially Ph.D. students, and guide/prepare them through the basics of research and its different types, namely: i) the identification of new areas for research with follow-up literature reviews and subsequent delineation of research plans; ii) performing pilot studies to support proposed areas of research; iii) being aware of research risks (human subjects, laboratory animals, biosafety, etc.); iv) filling out Institutional Review Board (IRB) applications; v) grant proposal writing; and, vi) publishing and disseminating research findings in highly regarded peer-reviewed literature.
Protection of Intellectual Property
Intellectual property is considered as an intangible property which results from creative and innovative undertakings, and can be owned in a similar manner as to that of physical property. Some examples of intellectual property rights include copyright, patents, and trademarks.
For the American University of Science and Technology, intellectual property can be envisioned as the results and outcomes of research. As with other property, intellectual property may have a commercial value that may be materialized by several means, including licensing or selling of intellectual property rights. AUST can offer legal assistance to researchers so as to protect and commercialize their intellectual properties.
Visibility of Research
The American University of Science and Technology encourages its researchers to strengthen their visibility in research and development, be it on a local, regional, or international scale with the objective of improving their h-index and i10-index. As such, AUST favors that all journal articles and conference papers be submitted to publishers or conferences with high impact factors and that are recognized by Scopus and similar abstract and citation databases. AUST also recommends that its researchers subscribe to one or more of these platforms: Google Scholar Citations, ORCID, ResearchGate, Loop, etc.
Conflict of Interest
The American University of Science and Technology requests that its researchers not to engage in situations that might result in conflict of interest in research. These refer to situations in which financial or other personal considerations that may compromise, or may take the form of compromising a researcher's professional judgment in conducting or reporting research. Accordingly, AUST requires that its researchers submit conflict of interest disclosure forms at the time of proposal submission for research funding. Disclosed situations that call for a financial interest and possible conflict of interest will be reviewed by the Research and Ethics Council of the University.