Royal Military Academy
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Goals of the scientific research at the RMA
The RMA provides education on a university level. Research is mandatory to guarantee this university level and to assure its continuity. The requirement for high level research, and its direct link with education, is explicitly mentioned both in the Bologna declaration and in the accreditation guidelines. As a corollary, it is impossible to initiate and follow up Master theses, let alone PhD’s, without the basis of scientific research. Furthermore, the contact with scientific research (through the courses, practical works, laboratory sessions and the Master thesis) enriches the students: it stimulates independent and critical thinking and broadens their horizon.
As all universities, the RMA has an obligation towards the community. The ultimate goal of scientific research being to forward the society, every university should ensure dissemination of knowledge and provide scientific consulting and testing services to the community as a whole. This is even truer for the RMA: as “corporate university” of the Belgian Defence it has the obligation to aid the decision processes in its “community” in every possible way. This can only be done if the RMA disposes of enough scientific knowledge in the specific (military) fields that require expertise. The only way to acquire this knowledge is through dedicated research.
The core research of the RMA should be directed at solving military problems. By extension (and also on the basis of “dual use”) security and safety problems are also eligible. Finally, in a much broader sense, strategic issues such as energy independence can be considered.
Teaching staff at the RMA enjoys academic freedom in all relevant domains, including research. This means that they can initiate research in any scientific field as long as they are not violating any legal constraints.
Being a small institution with limited resources and a limited staff, the RMA focuses on very narrow niches and integrates its specific knowledge in larger research programs (national and international), seeking complementarities with other research institutions.
Finally, the RMA has to participate actively in the promotion of science, inside and outside the Belgian Defence. A better understanding of science (and the role of the RMA in teaching and research) will hopefully attract more young people to invest themselves in a scientific career. It will also enhance the integration of the RMA in the decision making process of the Belgian Defence.