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Research plan moving forward

Public consultation sessions set for coming weeks

Dr. Katherine Side, head of the Department of Women’s Studies, was one of the presenters during a workshop on April 6 focused on the university’s research strengths in the area of social justice. More than 300 people took part in 12 meetings on the St. John’s campus focused on specific research cluster areas. The meetings were held as part of the university’s ongoing consultation process for the development of its new research plan.

By Jeff Green

Cyril Farrell got a chance recently to see first-hand how his tax dollars are put to use.

The Grand Falls-Windsor resident participated in one of a series of workshops, which just wrapped up, focused on Memorial’s research strengths.

The meetings were held as part of the university’s ongoing consultation process for the development of its new research plan.

Members of the public, as well as government, community organizations, business and industry representatives, along with faculty and staff from across the university including the Marine Institute (MI) and Grenfell College, are helping identify areas of university research strengths which are of strategic importance to the province. Their feedback and input will help guide the development of the new plan which will support future growth in research at the university.

“These meetings provide the institution with an opportunity to gauge the community’s reaction to its research agenda and to help shape it going forward,” said Mr. Farrell, a retired administrator with the College of the North Atlantic.

“In most cases, it is taxpayer’s dollars that are being used. By engaging the community it can only strengthen the institution’s relationship with funding agencies.”

More than 300 people took part in 12 meetings on the St. John’s campus, which were co-chaired by a member of the university and the wider community. Each session focused on specific research cluster areas such as energy, the environment, oceans, health and wellbeing and Aboriginal Peoples.

The aim was to provide overviews of current research strengths, get participants talking about opportunities to build on those strengths, and discuss gaps in research.

Reports from each session will be available on the research plan website – – in the coming weeks. A feedback e-mail address has also been added to the site, allowing people to submit comments, and a short online survey is also available.

It all adds up to plenty of ways people from both the university and wider community can provide input, said Dr. Rob Greenwood, who facilitated the consultation sessions.

Next month there will be consultation sessions with every faculty and school, as well as the MI and Grenfell. The entire planning process will also be extended into the fall, allowing every unit to a chance to submit their input based on findings from all the consultations this spring.

“If you weren’t able to make it to these sessions, read the reports on the website, submit your own comments, attend the faculty consultations in May, but most important, stay tuned for ways to engage in the ongoing dialogue on research that the research plan will foster in many ways,” added Dr. Greenwood.
Meanwhile, five public consultation sessions will take place across the province allowing communities and individuals a chance to have input on the plan’s development.

The meetings will take place on Monday, April 12, at the Forest Centre Lecture Theatre, room, FC2014, at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook; Tuesday, April 13, at the Mount Peyton Hotel in Grand Falls-Windsor; Wednesday, April 14 at the Clarenville Inn; Monday, April 19, at Hotel North 2 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay; and Tuesday, April 27, at the Fluvarium in St. John’s. All meetings take place from 7-9 p.m. For those unable to make a session, they’re being encouraged to complete the online survey at