By Meaghan Whelan
Researchers at Memorial University have been transformed into illustrated characters of a graphic novel in The League of Extraordinary Researchers, the university's newly released creative retelling of the Research Strategy Framework.
Select images from the graphic novel are featured on this page and pages 6-7.
The Research Strategy Framework sets the vision, mission and guiding principles for research at Memorial and identifies the goals and objectives necessary to achieve success. Its development marks a significant step in the university's growth and evolution as a research-focused institution.
"Our new research framework, developed using an inclusive and highly consultative process, defines the principles and goals with which we will build even greater capacity, impact and reputation in research," said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor, Memorial University. "It identifies areas where we have clear cross-disciplinary strengths on which to build, as well as emerging themes with significant potential for growth and importance. All can and will strengthen Memorial's historic and continued contributions to the economic, social, cultural and scientific well-being of this province and the country."
Ten strategic research themes identified in the framework can be found on page 8.
Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research), said the framework is a first for Memorial University.
"As an aspirational document, it pushes us to pursue, support and celebrate research excellence in all its forms at Memorial," he said. "As a working document, it will shape specific action plans in the academic units and the recruitment of new faculty to achieve the vision set out in the framework. It will also inform Memorial's future investments in support of research."
The framework was guided by the feedback received in more than 100 consultation sessions within the university and around the province. Overall, approximately 2,000 individual participants contributed to its development.
The League of Extraordinary Researchers, featuring original art by local illustrator Paul Tucker, a graduate of the visual arts program at Grenfell Campus, tells the story of research at Memorial. Read a profile of Paul Tucker on page 8.
"Graphic novels often deal with themes of overcoming challenges, perseverance, and triumph in the face of adversity – traits also important for success in research," said Dr. Loomis. "Graphic novels often tell the story of everyday people, working to affect positive change in their world. We wanted to share our story in a creative and compelling way, reflecting the talents and ingenuity of our research community. We decided to use original artwork and storytelling to bring both their research work and the Research Strategy Framework to life. This first volume of Illustrating Memorial is called The League of Extraordinary Researchers."
The Strategic Research Framework, along with the Teaching and Learning Framework and the Public Engagement Framework, will be used to guide Memorial's overall planning process and will inform the institution's decision-making and strategic direction.
The document and graphic novel is available online at www.mun.ca/research/framework.
Strategic research themes
The Strategic research themes identify both new areas of significant research opportunity for which Memorial is strategically positioned to achieve research excellence and existing areas of research strength which could hold considerable potential for expansion of expertise, resources and contributions from our researchers in areas that offer potential to grow.
The 10 themes, in alphabetical order:
• Aboriginal Peoples
• Arctic and northern regions
• Community, regional and enterprise development
• Creative arts, culture and heritage
• Environment, energy and natural resources
• Governance and public policy
• Information and communication technology
• Oceans, fisheries aquaculture
• Social justice
• Well-being, health and biomedical discovery