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In Brief

Memorial prepares to release research strategy

Through 2010-11, Memorial has been involved in a process to develop a comprehensive research strategy in response to Memorial's 2007 Strategic Plan. One of the five pillars in the 2007 strategic plan focuses on research, creative activity and scholarship. Under that pillar, there are five goals related to the advancement of research at Memorial.

The new research strategy helps address these goals and includes the identification of strategic research themes that represent areas of existing research strength as well as new areas of significant research opportunity.

Extensive consultation was a cornerstone to the strategy development. The planning committee completed 110 internal and external consultation sessions throughout the province. In total, more than 1,250 individuals provided input into the strategy.

As a growing research institution, Dr. Loomis, vice-president (research) says it is important to build a shared vision for research and to communicate the strategic direction with internal and external stakeholders.

To that end, he, in consultation with senior administration and research staff, has decided to forego a research report for 2010-11 in order to focus on the research strategy. The funding results usually included in the research report will be released when final analysis has been completed.

Faculty appointed to RDC board

Memorial University is well represented on the Research & Development Corporation's (RDC) board of directors.

Dr. Terry-Lynn Young, associate professor (genetics), Faculty of Medicine, has been reappointed as a director, while Dr. Brian Veitch, professor and associate dean of research, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, has been appointed as director.

The announcement was made Aug. 31.

Jackie Sheppard, a prominent energy expert, Rhodes Scholar and leading businesswoman originally from St. John's, has been re-appointed as chair. Ms. Sheppard is retired as executive vice-president, corporate and legal, and corporate secretary of Talisman Energy Inc.

Alan Brown, former vice-president, East Coast Canada, Suncor Energy Inc., has been re-appointed to the board and will serve as vice-chair.

RDC is governed by a board of directors, which is responsible for ensuring accountability and transparency of its programs, priority-setting and management of project funding. Board members were selected based on their knowledge and sector-specific expertise in areas relevant to local industry and the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Understanding the democratic process by committee

Political science professor Kelly Blidook has received a one-year $24,000 SSHRC grant to examine Canadian parliamentary committees.

Dr. Blidook is attempting to answer the question of whether "the people" affect what their representatives in government do, and what factors change the link between the two.

"Committees don't always choose what they do – they have to deal with issues that parliament and the government assign to them," said Dr. Blidook, who is interested in whether the processes and outputs of Canada's parliament "substantively" represent the public interest. Committees are essentially less symbolic than other comparative policy arenas, such as Question Period and Private Members' Business, said Dr. Blidook, but he says they do allow for direct public input, which the others do not.

The topics dealt with by committees are not only the product of current legislation and instructions from parliament to study particular issues, but are also the general housekeeping functions that previous acts, codes and other regulatory structures require.