Evidence for Soft Power Created Via Scholarship Schemes
While there is widespread endorsement of a view that scholarships are effective tools in promoting and enhancing a country’s soft power, investing in future leaders, providing access and equity, and increasing research excellence in a nation’s academic institutions it is at least possible that in part this derives in past from positive reinforcing trends amongst those delivering and receiving scholarships (for example Wilton Park conference attendees, 2016). Published, stand-alone evaluations of specific country scholarship programmes were not easily located, although there are references in the academic literature to several such studies. The most comprehensive commentary on evaluation research published between 2006 and 2016 (Mawer, 2018) is, therefore, an important summative document. This notes that the quality of evidence and the methods used to assess scholarship programmes vary enormously and that there is lack of evidence to substantiate the link that is claimed for such programmes and any soft power created.