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Memorial University of Newfoundland

  Memorial University of Newfoundland

University Centres: Establishment, Operation and Termination

Approval Date: 2022-07-07

Effective Date: 2022-07-07

Review Date: 2026-07-07


Board of Regents


To provide a framework for the establishment, review and closure of Centres at Memorial University.


All organized, non-incorporated entities using the Memorial University name or inferring a relationship with Memorial University.


Centres: In the context of this policy “Centre” includes distinguished groups, centres, institutes, centres-of-excellence and similar organizational constructs that are not separately incorporated (and therefore covered by the Affiliations section of the Act) and evoke a specific association with Memorial University. Cases in which the word “centre” is solely applied to a building or physical space are excluded from this policy. Similarly, operating units (e.g. those established by Senior Leadership, funded entirely through the operating budget of the University, a permanent presence, and integrated with ongoing operations at the university) that contain the word “Centre” in their title are excluded from this policy. A list of these entities excluded from this policy is referenced in the related documents section.

Vice-President of Record: The Vice-President whose portfolio focus aligns with the purpose of the Centre and who will be responsible for the oversight and review of the Centre under consideration. The Vice-President of Record will normally be selected from among the Vice-President (Academic), Vice-President (Research), Vice-President (Indigenous), and Vice-President (Advancement and External Relations). The Vice- President of Record will be assigned by the President’s Advisory Team upon receipt of the proposal to establish a Centre, and will work jointly with campus leaders for the Grenfell Campus, Marine Institute Campus and Labrador Institute Campus for oversight of Centres on those campuses.

President’s Advisory Team (PAT): The senior administrative committee of the University. It is a decision-making body with responsibility for pan-university operations and affairs, for matters that cross over vice-presidential portfolios, and for making recommendations to the President on matters within their sole authority.

University: Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Act: the Memorial University of Newfoundland Act RSNL 1990 c. M-7, as amended.


Memorial University encourages the development of Centres that have the potential to enhance the reputation and support the core mission of the University: the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge.

This policy intends to further protect the reputation, finances, and efficient function of the University by overseeing Centres that identify with the Institution. Specifically, this policy establishes requirements for the creation, operation, and closure of such entities.

Further key aspects of this policy are as follows:

  1. Only approved Centres may share the University identity, further details regarding the use of the University identity can be found in the Visual Identity policy. Approval is granted exclusively by the Board of Regents and the Board requires recommendations from the Senate and from President’s Advisory Team to consider establishing a Centre.
  2. All Centres at the University are subject to this policy even if they pre-date this policy. Organizations may not claim to be Centres at the University or avail of any benefits relating to Centre status (opportunities for funding, space, formal association, etc.) if they have not completed the Procedure for Establishing Centres. A list of entities excluded from this policy is referenced in the related documents section.
  3. Intended impact: Reputational and financial risk management for the Institution permitting intellectual collaboration beyond established organizational structures through the creation of Institutes and Centres dedicated to particular academic purposes.
  4. The process of establishing a Centre requires multi-level endorsement. This includes Unit Heads, Deans, Senate, President’s Advisory Team as appropriate for each Centre. See procedure for the Establishment, Review and Closure of University Centres.
  5. Every Centre within the scope of this policy requires the endorsement of President’s Advisory Team. The President’s Advisory Team will bring the application to the University Planning and Budget Committee of Senate (PBC) for review and to the Board of Regents for approval.
  6. Centres whose activities reach beyond their faculty/school will provide annual reporting directly to the appropriate Vice-President of Record (or designate) who will report into the President’s Advisory Team. In Centres whose activities span multiple academic units, all appropriate Deans should be copied on correspondence/decisions for information. Centres whose activities primarily are contained within their faculty/school will report through their Unit Head to the Dean. The Dean will report for each Centre to the Vice-President of Record (or designate), as per the Establishment, Review and Closure of University Centres procedure. The Vice-President of Record would normally be selected from among the Vice-Presidents depending on the primary role for the Centre and its relationship to the Vice-President’s portfolio

Related Documents


For inquiries related to this policy:

Office of the Vice-President (Research): 709-864-2530

Sponsor: Vice-President (Academic) & Vice-President (Research)

Category: Academic Affairs

Previous Versions:

There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)

Approval Date 0000-00-00   Effective Date 2001-04-01

Procedure for the Establishment, Review, and Closure of Centres

Approval Date: 2022-07-07

Responsible Unit: Office of the Vice-President (Research)

Purposes, Objectives, Structure and Governance of Centres

Each Centre will develop its own objectives and measurable goals to meet these purposes, as appropriate for the size and scope of its mandate and constituency. These objectives and purposes should exceed the scale and scope of activity that could be carried out by existing University organizations.

  1. The University will maintain on its website a list of all Centres:
  2. Centres operate on five-year renewable terms. Annual reports are required and form part of the continuous evaluation process.
  3. The proposed or actual name of a Centre does not play a role in determining its inclusion or exclusion.
  4. Should there be any question as to whether this policy applies to an existing or proposed Centre, the President’s Advisory Team will make the determination.
  5. Centres are part of the University’s organization and therefore subject to its direction, oversight, and strategic plans.
  6. Centres will have a governance structure dependent on its needs and contexts. This may include a director; a board of advisors; or other appropriate governance structures. Governing structures will be determined in consultation with relevant stakeholders by the initial steering committee.
  7. Centres have a strategic/ operating plan and provide annual reports of the progress toward meeting the objectives set out in that plan. The Plan and subsequent annual reports must be filed with the Vice-President of Record. Since Centres are established for five-year terms, the strategic plan must be updated every five years.
  8. Centre staff must be hired through the University.
  9. A Centre may occupy space obtained specifically for its own use, or its activities may be carried out without assigned space.
  10. Use of off-campus facilities must be specifically approved by the assigned Vice President.
  11. Centres must identify any funding required and provide a budget plan.
  12. Renewal of University funding and/or resource/space allocation is subject to satisfactory annual review. Renewal of a funding/space allocation is not guaranteed.
  13. Third party agreements defining the obligations and liability of the University with respect to the activities of, and with respect to the other participants in, the Centre will require the specific approval of the Vice-President of Record. Such agreements shall comply with the signing and research policies and procedures of the University.
  14. Centres must submit annual reports for review by Senate’s Planning and Budget Committee (PBC) and the Vice-President of Record.

Establishing a Centre

  1. File a notice of intent using the template Notice of Intent to Establish or Renew a Centre. Note that there are signature lines for the relevant Department Head(s), School Head(s), Dean(s), VP(s).
  2. If approval in principle is granted, the full proposal, following the template Proposal To Establish or Renew a Centre may be submitted to President’s Advisory Team.
  3. The President’s Advisory Team will convene a committee to advance the proposal through the submission process. Membership of the committee will include:
    1. the Dean(s) or applicable Associate Vice-President(s) (or equivalent)
    2. Department/School Head(s) (or equivalent), where applicable
    3. a principal associated with the proposed Centre
  4. The review will ensure:
    1. the final proposal is consistent with the academic priorities of the University
    2. the resource requirements and sources have been properly estimated and described. In some instances an external review or assessment of the proposal may be warranted.

Note: Until the President’s Advisory Team has provided signed approval indicating that the Board of Regents has created the Centre, no commitment may be made to any external agency or group that may be interested in supporting or cooperating with the proposed Centre.

Modifications to Centres

Centres wishing to modify their main mission, governance structure or leadership within a five-year term must submit a new proposal to President’s Advisory Team. The new proposal must be supported by the relevant Department Head(s), School Head(s), Dean(s), VP(s) (or equivalent) of the units participating.

Closure of Centres

The Board of Regents may close or terminate a Centre. A Centre shall be considered for closure before the end of its current term, should one of the following occur:

  1. President’s Advisory Team may recommend closure to the Board if:
    1. The Centre failed to meet proposed goals, achievements, or make significant advancements as laid out in its mission or proposal.
    2. The Centre no longer complies with the University’s Strategic Plan/ Frameworks.
    3. The Centre may terminate operations following notice to the Vice-President of Record. The Vice-President will ensure that appropriate consultation has occurred prior to a decision to terminate the entity.
    4. The relevant Department Head(s), School Head(s) and Dean(s) who have created or maintain the Centre recommend closure and an evaluation has been conducted by the Vice-President indicating that closure is appropriate.
    5. The Centre does not report activity as required by the Procedure for Reporting, Review, and Renewal of Centres. If the annual report is not received when due, a notice of non-compliance will be issued, and an additional three months granted to fulfill the reporting requirements. If a satisfactory report is not received the VP may recommend that the Board terminate the Centre.
    6. The Centre fails to reapply for continuance.

Note: When closure of a Centre is under consideration, the Vice-President of Record will consult with the Centre where possible.

Reporting, Review, and Renewal of Centres

Before June 30th, Centres must submit to President’s Advisory Team an annual report covering activities in the preceding April 1 to March 31 internal. The Template for the Annual Report of University Centres can be found here. The reports will include:

  1. an overview of the entity’s vision and mission;
  2. activities and achievements of the previous year;
  3. list of governance body meetings and attendance;
  4. changes in direction or operations
  5. and a financial report

Reports must demonstrate consultation with Centre members, partners, collaborators, and appropriate Department Head(s), School Head(s), Dean(s) (or equivalent), VP(s) as applicable.

Note: Centres with existing annual reporting processes should align annual reporting with this procedure where possible. The annual report template for this procedure may be used for parallel reporting processes.

Note: June 30th is a hard deadline as the the review of Annual Reports is done in collaboration with Senate’s Planning and Budget Committee (PBC) at their July and August meetings. Additional information and/or a presentation may be requested.

PBC will provide the President’s Advisory Team, Senate and the Board of Regents a summary of its findings.

As a consequence of this process, failure to provide annual reports by June 30th will result in:

  1. A formal notice of missing application.
  2. The VP will engage the Centre with the following potential consequences:
  3. a short extension may be granted.
  4. end of financing, removal of space, closure of centre, end of association with the University and use of the University name.

Note: No later than the fourth annual report the Centre must indicate if they will seek renewal. If renewal is requested, the subsequent (normally the fifth) annual report must append an updated Establishment or Renewal of University Centre.

Terminating a University Centre

Notice of intent to terminate, prepared using the Template for the Notice of Request to Close a Centre should be submitted to the Vice-President of Record six months prior to the planned termination.