Administrators at Grenfell’s Research Office attended the 38th annual conference of the Canadian Association of University Administrators (CAURA) and learned they are well equipped to meet the changes being forecasted in their field.
Dr. Ivan Emke, Peter Davis, and Dean Strickland joined more than 400 other delegates in Ottawa to participate in sessions that discussed the complex field of research administration in Canada. The theme of this year’s conference was “Change.”
“The choice of theme was very timely considering the changes in our Research Office and the identification of an increase in research activity as a strategic direction for Grenfell,” said Dr. Emke, who took over the portfolio of associate vice-principal (research) on May 1.
Four days of multiple concurrent sessions highlighted the enormous forces of change that are poised to sweep through university research administration and challenge the fundamental assumptions under which research has been performed in Canada.
“The enormous pressures for accountability and transparency from a broad suite of stakeholders will necessitate a fundamental shift in the relationships and processes that actually facilitate how a faculty member does his or her work,” said Peter Davis, research development officer. “The research landscape of the future will be dramatically different from that of the past.”
Dean Strickland, project manager of the Humber River Basin Project, agreed.
“We are at the cusp of a great reconfiguration of the ways and means of how we administer research; this extends to the roles each of us plays in the administration process,” he said. “We have to become more pro-active and partner with faculty, such that we help them navigate the increasingly demanding standards for administration, with the aim of allowing our faculty to do what they do best: conducting research and teaching.”
Another key theme to emerge from CAURA 2009 is the imperative for faculty and institutions to pursue more interdisciplinary and partner-based research as the complexity of the questions being asked continues to increase.
“Our office and institution are ideally positioned to capitalize on this trend,” said Mr. Strickland, adding the basin project is an interdisciplinary and multi-partner research initiative. He said the project has developed administration strategies that are robust and innovative, allowing staff to meet basic research needs as well as respond to policy objectives of our provincial and federal governments and agencies.
“Like any university, Grenfell has always relied on the creativity and hard work of individual faculty as the bedrock of its research profile – that remains the case today,” concluded Dr. Emke. “But with an increase in collaborative relationships, and the support that we can offer from the Research Office, Grenfell’s research future has never looked brighter.”
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