Members of the Queen’s Community:
April 13th, 2012. There was a time not long ago on a Friday the 13th when I would think about getting on my motorcycle to participate in the Port Dover Motorcycle Rally. The rather remarkable spring weather has only enhanced that urge to get on a bike. Having turned my attention to other distractions and responsibilities, I will be spending this Friday the 13th in Ottawa, along with my other VP Research colleagues, with the heads of the Tri-councils and CFI. There has been considerable speculation on the details that will be shared with us on the fate of core funding programs in view of the investments to be made in industry partnership programs. And, the announced funding for NRC has also led to various rumours on what impact this would have on the Tri-councils, and NSERC in particular. It is fair to say that I along with my colleagues felt pretty good about the budget. We should be pleased that a significant message was conveyed of the value of universities in support of innovation and industry partnerships. Importantly, the budget also provided support for world-class basic research, research in the areas of genomics, health and brain, and further investment in CFI. There may be a devil in the details but we must find ways to build upon the opportunities.
I, along with my other VPR colleagues, first and foremost have strongly advocated for the core programs that support basic and foundational research. We will continue to do so vigorously, and seek to provide input and get clarity on the changes that are occurring in SSHRC and CIHR programs, in addition to NSERC. This is certainly the raison d’etre of our research at Queen’s, and every which way that innovation arises from the research here is deeply connected to research excellence and our foundational research programs. This is a message that resonates in the Strategic Research Plan 2012-17. The penultimate version of the plan is now available and will be presented to Senate on April 17th, along with a notice of motion with the intent to formally approve the plan at the final Senate meeting of 2011-12 in May.
Fifteen months after the SRP review process was approved and after extensive consultation with the community, including discussions with external partners and stakeholders, we are near finalizing a plan that provides a strategic framework for guiding and supporting the research enterprise and the thematic focus of our research and scholarly activity. The plan identifies the underlying value of ongoing support of individual scholarship, and the important contributions to research excellence that continues to be made in this way. We also recognize the potential of individual efforts and interdisciplinary teams working collaboratively, and the value of partnerships, to address the complex and diverse problems faced by society today. We will promote and enhance our research and scholarly activities that provide transformative experiences for undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral trainees.
Our focus is shaped by research clusters reflecting emerging and core strengths as demonstrated by research leadership and international reputation. We will seek to build on these areas and to further develop emerging areas of strength across the spectrum of disciplines. Innovation will reflect the success of our academic programs, quality of our research and international reputation fuelled by discovery, new ideas and insights, creative works and methods, commercialization outcomes, knowledge translation, and international engagement where the outcomes of our research can benefit society broadly and globally, whether directly or indirectly.
This is a vision for the future and one that will guide Queen’s through the next five years. The Strategic Research Plan reflects the University’s response and commitment to finding our balance in a shifting landscape.
Steven N. Liss
Professor and Vice-Principal (Research)
April 13, 2012