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Thinking BIG

New research plan under development for Memorial

Dr. Christopher Loomis

By Jeff Green

Strategic in scope and recognizing the high value Memorial places on diversity in research activity, the seeds have been set for the development of Memorial’s new research plan.

Senior administrators are now hoping to hear from all academic units and external partners in research to help identify major research opportunities and plan how Memorial can build on its strengths and add new research capacity to the university.

Dr. Christopher W. Loomis, president and vice-chancellor pro tempore, announced the launch of the development of the plan – which will be carried out in several phases over the next few months – on Nov. 10.

In a letter to all deans and directors, which is posted online, he said success of the plan will be based on the support it receives from the university community.

The development of the plan is a direct response to Memorial’s Strategic Plan, released in 2007, which included research, creative activity and scholarship as one of five key pillars to advance the university’s mission.

Dr. Loomis said research at a university is fundamentally about the creation of knowledge and the dissemination of the results of this research.

“The research plan will set out objectives and actions that will inform decision making at all levels of the university, enabling us to allocate available resources to support research, creative activity and scholarship,” he wrote in his letter.
He said the plan will include “all aspects of scholarship including research and creative activities, as wellas the translation of knowledge into products,
practices and policies and other forms of community engagement.”

Dr. Ray Gosine, vice-president research pro tempore, and Dr. Reeta Tremblay, vice-president academic pro tempore, are the executive leads, while academic deans and directors are the steering committee.

Dr. Rob Greenwood has been seconded on a part-time basis from his role as director of the Harris Centre to help guide the development of the plan.
Dr. Gosine said the planning process provides an opportunity to think big about the possibilities for research at Memorial.

“The research plan will recognize the value of the full spectrum of research at the university from curiosity-driven inquiry by individual or groups of faculty members that adds to the frontiers of knowledge in and across disciplines through to the research of individuals and interdisciplinary groups working with external partners which is motivated or informed by significant societal issues,” said Dr. Gosine.

“The research plan will enable Memorial to build on its strengths, address needs and seize opportunities across the full spectrum of research activity,” added Dr. Tremblay.

Through the planning process faculties, schools and research units and centres will define their strengths, identify the support mechanisms needed for advancing research and develop a vision for additional research that will be pursued over the next five to 10 years, building upon research strengths at Memorial and emerging opportunities for new fields of research.

The first phase of the plan, which involves taking stock of Memorial’s existing research strengths, is currently underway.

“After Christmas we will consult inside and outside the university on what we have learned from this first phase of our work, and ask stakeholders for advice regarding research opportunities, and ask faculties, schools and research centres to define goals and objectives related to research,” Dr. Greenwood noted.

The intent is to have the consultations completed by spring 2010 with the finalized plan ready for release by next summer.

To learn more about the research plan and to read Dr. Loomis’ full letter, visit