U.S. Department of State's Middle East Partnership Initiative
In October 2016, the first-ever U.S.-Palestinian Higher Education Dialogue was held in Washington, D.C., bringing together private sector stakeholders, academic professionals, university officials, and diplomats to discuss the need for new university partnerships, private sector engagement, and extended research capacity; and encouraging development of critical thinking and employment skills as tools for Palestinian universities to produce first-rate graduates. The U.S.-Palestinian Higher Education Dialogue highlighted the limited research capacity within Palestinian universities in the West Bank to drive projects which encourage innovation and new approaches to problems as ways to facilitate private sector involvement and economic growth.
As a result of these Dialogues, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Office of Assistance Coordination (NEA/AC) sought proposals to strengthen partnerships among Palestinian universities in the West Bank to reinforce research and critical thinking as core competencies within Palestinian universities and drive innovation and private sector partnerships within the Palestinian economy.
In 2017, the Pulte Institute was awarded a grant to support the Creating a Palestinian University Research Hub project, which aimed to create a research hub of universities in the West Bank comprised of collaborators from the private sector, university researchers and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The project focused on establishing research methods that adhere to international standards, building research capacity, employing innovative methods of scholarship, and strengthening partnerships among Palestinian researchers and institutions.
The role of Pulte Institute was to help facilitate the creation of the Research Hub among West Bank universities by leveraging existing talent within Palestinian higher education, private sector and civil society institutions, as well as empowering new talent to foster collaboration in Palestine and abroad. Under the direction of a Research Hub Steering Committee, project activities focused on workshops, exchanges and mentoring between international scholars and Palestinian stakeholders. The Pulte Institute delivered several workshops in research ethics, research administration, and information technology.
Unfortunately, the project was terminated in January 2019 due to USG cessation of assistance programs in the West Bank.