The Strategic Research Intensity Plan (SRIP) was initiated 18 months ago to implement the research strategy framework’s vision of transforming Memorial into one of the most distinguished public universities in Canada and beyond by 2020. Some of the highlights of SRIP achievements during the 2015 academic year follow below:
Fogo Island Research Fellowship Program: In partnership with the Shorefast Foundation, Memorial will select up to 10 faculty members annually to spend four weeks in residence on Fogo Island to complete a significant manuscript on major research results or a work of artistic creation. Following the first competition, which closed in May, four fellowships were awarded for 2015-16 to faculty members at Grenfell Campus and in the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education and Faculty of Business Administration.
Core Research Equipment and Instrument Training Network: A number of changes were completed this year to give CREAIT a stronger financial foundation and to deliver top-notch services to researchers and external stakeholders. This pan-university network has reinvigorated its governance structure, re-engaged faculty members and implemented measures to increase transparency and accessibility, and to improve collegial decision-making. These measures include quarterly meetings with the scientific advisory committees to facilitate ongoing improvements, the online publication of a revised rate structure and improved business planning of operations to enhance customer service.
The Seed, Bridge and Multidisciplinary Fund: The fund seeds new, “early days” innovative research projects, provides valuable bridge funding for researchers who are between grants and encourages the development of multidisciplinary research activities. Two competition rounds were held in 2015. The January round attracted 48 applications, of which 31 were awarded funding. The May competition attracted 50 applications, of which 28 received funding.
The University Summer Internship Program: USSIP provides students with the opportunity to carry out a 13- or 16-week research work term under the supervision of a full-time faculty member or regular term appointee. The first competition held in February 2015 received considerable interest from Memorial’s undergraduates: 45 applications were received and 15 awards were given to support research-based summer internships for students in the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Science and the School of Pharmacy.
Memorial Undergraduate Career Experience Program: Through MUCEP, the Office of the Vice-President (Research) has supported 56 student-research positions since January 2015. Offered through Career Development and Experiential Learning, the program provides students with career experience while they pursue their studies. It supports greater opportunities for undergraduate training and engagement and is intended to stimulate interest among Memorial undergrads in pursuing graduate studies and research careers.
Research Grant and Contract Services: RGCS now uses a “one-stop shop” approach to integrate pre- and post-award administration. The unit has streamlined its processes and improved the facilitation of grants and awards services, with an enhanced emphasis on quality customer service. Significant improvements have also been made in reducing the processing time for contracts and disbursements. Service improvements are ongoing and more changes will be implemented as RGCS moves toward more IT-based processes.
The Research Portal: A new, web-based research portal developed by RGCS and the Office of the Vice-President (Research) will improve accessibility of services and facilitation of awards for researchers. The research portal will manage and report on all of Memorial’s research awards and ethics certifications activities. It will be rolled out in two phases: Researchers will be able to submit applications for human research ethics certification starting Nov. 30, 2015. In the second phase scheduled for winter 2016, research teams will be able to submit applications for funding through RGCS.
Technology Transfer and Commercialization Strategy: Formerly known as the Innovation Strategy, the Technology Transfer and Commercialization Strategy will guide Memorial in its efforts to become one of the most progressive innovation environments in Canada. An extended round of consultations ended in August with more than 100 industry associations, government agencies and industrial partners indicating their desire to see Memorial increase its contribution toward advancing the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador. The name of the strategy was changed to more accurately reflect its goals and the constructive feedback received during the first round of consultations. A final round of consultations wrapped up in October and the final strategy report will be presented to the Board of Regents in December 2015.