The Griffith Asia Institute recently hosted a successful workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on the theme of Contemporary Research Challenges in Southeast Asia.
The workshop was for early career researchers and PhD students working on the region to build collaborative linkages and research capacity in both Australia and Cambodia within their discipline.
Participants included Griffith Asia Institute members and Griffith University PhDs and early career researchers, senior academics and early career researchers from Northern Illinois University, Murdoch University, the Royal University of Phnom Penh, the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, as well as postgraduate scholars conducting research in country and based at the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Westminster, and at the University College of London.
The workshop addressed a diversity of topics in the region including the political economy of Southeast Asia; research challenges in transitional settings; governance and foreign policy issues; rule of law and justice in Southeast Asia; regional environmental and transboundary governance; and human security.
The event was particularly beneficial to Cambodian early career researchers. Heavy teaching schedules and a lack of funding are significant challenges to conducting research in Cambodia. This workshop gave local participants the opportunity to rehearse their research proposals and papers, receive feedback from colleagues and senior academics, and to build connections with other scholars working on the region.
By bringing together local researchers and those based outside the region, the workshop was intended to support the production of future collaborative research projects driven by both innovative theoretical and empirical scholarship. Those attending the workshop exchanged information on professional development, career opportunities, research practices and upcoming research projects.
Helpful advice was also offered to early career researchers by the Director of the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University, Professor Garry Rodan, on how to publish in academic outlets, and by Associate Professor Kheang Un from Northern Illinois University on the need for young Cambodian scholars to develop their research areas and interests.
The Griffith Asia Institute also supported the donation of over 30 academic textbooks and journals to the Royal University of Phnom Penh’s International Studies department. The texts will be used by both students and staff in the department to build research capacity. Huot Sokunthea, a lecturer in the department who accepted the books said that because funding was limited the donation was “significant and highly appreciated”.
While in Cambodia, Dr Stephen McCarthy and Adjunct Associate Professor Andrew Selth also held talks with senior university staff, research centre directors, and managers at the American University of Phnom Penh and the Center for Khmer Studies on exploring the possibilities for future research collaboration with GAI.
Article written by Griffith Asia Institute members Dr Stephen McCarthy and PhD candidate, Ms Lucy West.