The Nahrein Network



AcademIQ - Strengthening research capacity in Iraq


AcademIQ is a multi-year programme designed to support Iraqi researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences with academic skills development. Decades of neglect, conflict and the repercussions of brain-drain have taken a heavy toll on the quality of higher education in Iraq. This programme builds on a British Academy funded Iraq Writing Workshop project which was implemented in Iraq in 2019. AcademIQ consists of online research courses, provision of academic writing workshops and academic mentoring.

Academic Research Course

An integrated online academic research course, designed specifically for academics in Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, to strengthen their skills in humanities and social sciences research & academic publishing. It comprises sixteen units designed to be studied independently over the course of an academic year.

Academic Mentorship Programme

The Academic Mentorship Programme is designed for Iraqi researchers in the fields of arts, social sciences and humanities. Applicants who apply should be interested in strengthening their knowledge of academic skills, writing, publishing and research collaboration. 

AcademIQ’s courses and activities to support Iraqi academics are not University College London credit-bearing.

The Team

A team of UK-based academics will work closely with Iraqi universities and researchers to strengthen academic skills. AcademIQ Programme Lead is Dr Mehiyar Kathem, Deputy Director of The Nahrein Network and Senior Research Fellow at UCL History Department.

Julia Molinari

Julia Molinari is a Lecturer in Professional Academic Communication in English at the Open University in the UK. She is responsible for the Graduate School’s academic literacies programme, which supports doctoral researchers throughout their research writing journeys. She received a PhD in Academic Writing from the University of Nottingham in 2019 and is author of  What Makes Writing Academic: Re-thinking  Theory for Practice (Bloomsbury, 2022). Her academic background and interests are in Education and Philosophy. She has taught EAP (English for Academic Purposes), academic literacies and research writing at several universities in Italy and the UK. Before joining the Open University’s Graduate School, she taught EAP and research writing for 13 years at the University of Nottingham’s School of Education, UK. Julia is bilingual in English and Italian and fluent in French. Her current research interests lie in the ethical and epistemic impact that machine generated texts may and will have on academic writing and knowledge creation.

ariane smart
Ariane Smart is an Associate Professor at UCL’s Academic Communication Centre. After a Masters in Political History in Paris, she completed her PhD at UCL. Ariane has over 20 years' experience teaching history as well as academic communication. She has designed and delivered courses and programmes for UCL in the UK, Kazakhstan and Qatar, including Pre-Masters in Heritage (UCL Qatar) and in Architecture (UCL Bartlett). In 2019, she was invited to join the British Academy-funded Writing and Publishing Workshops in Iraq. Ariane is a recipient of UCL Provost Teaching Award, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her research interests include modern myths, collective memory and representations of the past, as well as international higher education, with a focus on academic literacies, criticality and reflexivity.
Ersun N Kurtuluş

Ersun N Kurtuluş is an Asscociate Professor at the Department of International Relations, Social Sciences University of Ankara (ASBU). Prior to his appointment at ASBU, he held academic positions at TED University, University of Kent, Imperial College London, Open University and Stockholm University. He has published extensively in Review of International Studies, The Middle East Journal, Global Society, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Third World Quarterly and Critical Studies on Terrorism. Kurtuluş is also the author of State Sovereignty – Concept, Phenomenon and Ramifications published by Palgrave/Macmillan. His research interests include contemporary trends in terrorism and counterterrorism, Lebanese politics, state sovereignty, politics of the Middle East and collapsed states. He has been an Associate Editor of the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (BJMES) since 2007.

Sharon Pointer

Sharon Pointer has 27 years experience as an English language teacher, both in the UK and abroad, working mainly as a teacher of academic writing for doctoral and master's students. Although she began teaching in 1995, she has been working with international students since 1990. She holds a first class bachelor's degree in Combined Honors (history, ancient history and English literature) from Newcastle University, master's degrees in American History and Race Relations (Newcastle, British Academy scholarship) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Sunderland), and a diploma in English language teaching to adults (RSA DELTA). She now splits her time between university teaching and self-employed work language editing, formatting and proofreading journal articles, books, theses and dissertations.