In 2009, Dr. Christopher W. Loomis, then president and vice chancellor pro tempore of Memorial University, launched the development of a comprehensive research strategy in response to Memorial's 2007 Strategic Plan.

The research strategy, later renamed the Research Strategy Framework, was developed through an iterative and collegial process, with extensive opportunities for active engagement with and input from internal and external stakeholders.

The process was based on the principle of freedom for researchers to pursue research which is based on their individual and collective intelligence, curiosity, inventiveness and creativity. It considered all aspects of scholarship, including research and creative activities, as well as the translation of knowledge into products, practices and policies, and other forms of community engagement.

The process was led by the Vice President (Research) pro tempore, Dr. Ray Gosine, and the Vice Presidents (Academic) pro tempore, Dr. Reeta Tremblay and Dr. Evan Simpson. Dr. Rob Greenwood was seconded to the Office of the Vice-President (Research) from the Harris Centre to manage the planning process, coordinate the internal and external consultations and assist in drafting the Research Strategy Framework.

Academic Deans and Directors (or their delegates) formed a Steering Committee and an External Advisory Committee was established to provide diverse external perspectives on the planning process and the draft strategy. The External Advisory Committee included individuals from the community, industry and governments.

The final document, which was endorsed by Senate in September 2011, identifies the principles, goals and objectives that will guide Memorial's pursuit of research excellence, translation and impact. It also identified 10 cross-cutting strategic themes that represent areas of existing research strength and/or emerging opportunity in which Memorial is particularly well-positioned to enhance its national and international reputation.