Centres & Institutes

The U of L is home to research centres and institutes that bring leading researchers together from across disciplines to address issues that affect our world and beyond.

We encourage the development of specialized research centres and institutes as a means of fostering and promoting research expertise and capabilities while also providing a platform for trans-disciplinary research. These centres and institutes facilitate the formation of unique and creative research and teaching partnerships inside and outside of the university. They serve as a vehicle to attract alternate funding for research, teaching and training for undergraduate and graduate students. It is anticipated that the research findings, collaborations and training will lead to significant positive contributions to the needs of community, government and business in Alberta, nationally and globally.

If you are interested in establishing a Centre or Institute, please consult the Centres and Institutes policy for guidance.

 

A research group that wishes to formalize their existing collaborations into a Centre/Institute must submit a proposal to the Dean of the Lead Faculty in which it will be based.  The Research Group should have informed discussions with the Relevant Dean, at a minimum, before proceeding with a proposal.  The Relevant Dean will review the proposal in consultation with the Vice-President (Research) and any other party relevant to the proposal. The Relevant Dean may ask the Research Group for additional information.  Where there is concensus that the proposed Centre/Institute builds on an existing area of expertise or has the potential to enhance an emerging strength, the Relevant Dean will submit a motion to the General Faculties Council recommending Centre/Institute establishment.

Research Groups should demonstrate an ability to meet the following baseline criteria:

  • Have a critical mass of scholars,
  • Have clearly defined goals and objectives,
  • Have a high-level of research productivity,
  • Provide research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and
  • Raise the profile of the research through outreach and knowledge mobilization activities.

Applications should be clear and concise, written for a lay audience, and should not exceed 8 pages. Proposals should address the following:

Section

Required Content

Identification

  • Provide the name of the proposed Centre/Institute and the Faculty/School (or Lead Faculty if more than one faculty is involved)

Objectives and strategic fit

  • Describe the objectives of the Centre/Institute and explain how it aligns with the Faculty(ies)/School(s) strategic priorities.
  • If the activities of the proposed Centre/Institute overlap with an existing Centre or Institute, discuss how the proposed Centre/Institute complements the existing Centre or Institute, the niche that it fills and/or its distinctive characteristics.

Membership

  • Provide a description of the membership categories.
  • List the founding faculty members, their areas of expertise and a brief description of the commitments they are prepared to make to support the Centre/Institute.
  • Describe the collaborative history of the inaugural members relevant to the Centre/Institute.

Governance

  • Describe the proposed management and administrative structure. Include a description of committees as appropriate.

Five year plan

  • Provide a detailed research plan for the next five years, including short- and long-term goals.
  • Provide a five-year operating budget (staff salaries, equipment maintenance, etc.) and note sources of funds as appropriate (confirmed or anticipated).
  • Outline the Centre/Institute’s communication plan and strategy for raising its external profile.
  • Outline the plan for involving undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows?

Performance measures

  • Provide an indication of the qualitative and quantitative measures, as appropriate, to measure the outputs/impacts of the Centre/Institute.

External partnerships

  • Will the Institute collaborate with external organizations in order to support/operate the Institute? If so, is a memorandum of understanding in place (or in development).

 

    A Centre/Institute that wishes to reclassify itself as a University Centre/Institute may submit a request to the Vice-President (Research).  

    Centres/ Institutes should demonstrate an ability to meet the following criteria:

    • Have a critical mass of scholars,
    • Have clearly defined goals and objectives,
    • Have a high-level of research productivity,
    • Provide research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, 
    • Raise the profile of the research through outreach and knowledge mobilization activities,
    • Be publicly recognized as nationally- or world-leading in an established area of expertise,
    • Have national and international collaborations,
    • Partner extensively with government, industry, not-for-profits etc. as appropriate for the Centre/Institute,
    • Be led by a Director of international stature.

    Requests should be clear and concise, written for a lay audience, and should not exceed 8 pages.  Requests should address the following:

    Section

    Required Content

    Rationale

    • Outline the rationale for the request to reclassify the existing Centre/Institute and provide evidence that the Centre/Institute meets the additional characteristics expected of a University Centre/Institute (as outlined below).

    Five year plan

    • Provide a detailed research plan for the next five years, including short- and long-term goals.
    • Provide a five-year operating budget (staff salaries, equipment maintenance, etc.) and note sources of funds as appropriate (confirmed or anticipated).
    • Outline the Centre/Institute’s communication plan and strategy for raising its external profile.
    • Outline the plan for involving undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows?

    Performance measures

    • Provide an indication of the qualitative and quantitative measures, as appropriate, to measure the outputs/impacts of the Centre/Institute.

     

       

      Annual reports should provide an overview of the centre/institute’s activities during the past financial year (April 1 to March 31).  Reports should be submitted to the Vice-President (Research) by June 30.

      The annual report should be clear and concise and written for a lay audience.  Reports should include the following information:

      • Briefly summarize the major achievements and other notable centre/institute activities over the past year.  Do not discuss the activities of individual centre/institute members; but rather, focus the synopsis on initiatives undertaken by the centre/institute. Where appropriate include a list of publications, presentations, workshops, and other outreach activities attributable to centre/institute activities.
      • Assess the centre/institute’s progress, based on the specific performance measures found in the centre/institute’s formation proposal.
      • List all members actively involved in the centre/institute.  For members external to the University, include affiliation details.
      • Describe the training opportunities within the centre/institute.  Please include a list of the undergraduate, masters and doctoral students, as well as trainees, mentored by centre/institute members.

      University Centres/Institutes are reviewed every five years or sooner at the request of the Vice-President (Research).  The review is comprised of three phases: self-assessment, review, and follow-up.

      Phase 1: Self-assessment

      Annually, the Vice-President (Research) will determine which University Centres/Institutes will be reviewed, taking into consideration that all Centres/Institutes should be reviewed at least every five years.  The Vice-President (Research) will advise the University Centre/Institute of the upcoming review and outline the review process.  The Director of the University Centre/Institute should prepare the self-assessement report in consultation with the University Centre/Institute members.   

      The self-assessment report is an opportunity to summarize the University Centre/Institute's activities during the period under review as well as outline future goals and activities.  The report is limited to 15 pages and should address the following: 

      Section

      Required Content

      Executive Summary

      • Provide a brief summary of the Centre/Institute.

      Strategic objectives

      • Outline the strategic objectives and goals of the Centre/Institute and indicate the degree to which they are being met. If the goals and/or objectives are different than initially proposed, discuss why they were revised.

      Progress report

      • Provide an overview of the Centre/Institute’s performance.  The narrative should address: (1) the alignment of member research and scholarly activity with the Institute’s goals, (2) the impact of the scholarly contributions to achieving the level of excellence to which the Institute aspires, and (3) the contributions to student training/preparation.
      • Assess how the Centre/Institute is performing relative to its identified metrics and performance indicators.

      Research-led teaching

      • Describe the supports provided by the Centre/Institute to enhance the student experience and involve students and trainees in the research activities of the Institute.

      Internal/external engagement

      • Outline activities pursued by the Centre/Institute to develop a collegial spirit amongst its members and within the University of Lethbridge community.
      • Discuss the effectiveness of the Centre/Institute efforts to engage the following groups locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally (as appropriate): (1) relevant professional communities; (2) public sector, (3) private sector, and (4) not-for-profit sector.

      Resources

      • Provide details on the infrastructure (space, equipment, etc.) used or made available to the Centre/Institute.
      • Outline funding received, from both internal and external sources, to support its operations, research goals, and outreach activities.  
      • Provide details on the Centre/Institute operating budget.  Where actual expenditures deviated significantly from the budget plan, provide details as to why.

      Future plans

      • Present a plan for the next five years that identifies future research directions and development strategies.  Where appropriate, include details on anticipated grant applications or other sources of funding support.
      • Comment on the sustainability of the Institute, noting the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to its operation.

      Past issues

      • Provide a brief overview of issues addressed since that last review.

      Appendices

      • The following information should be appended to the report or made available to the Review Panel:
        • Organizational chart of the Centre/Institute
        • Membership of the Centre/Institute’s Steering Committee
        • A summary table of grants/contracts received to support the Centre/Institute’s research themes.
        • A list of Institute members by role (e.g., principal investigators, postdoctoral fellows, students, staff)
        • An overview of outreach and engagement activities during the period under review.  This may include, but are not limited to, public engagement events, professional activities (conferences, symposia, editorial boards etc.)

      Phase 2: Review

       The Vice-President (Research) reviews the self-assessment report and may request additional information from the University Centre/Institute. If no additional information is needed, the Vice-President (Research) will convene a review panel.  The panel is comprised of three researchers whose research expertise is related the University Centre/Institute under review but are not members of the University Centre/Institute.  At least one member should be external to the University of Lethbridge.  The review panel will assess the strengths and weaknesses of the University Centre/Institute throught a review of the self-assessment report and interviews with relevant University Centre/Institute members and partners.

      Current Centres and Institutes

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      Canadian Centre for Research in Advanced Flourine Technologies (C-CRAFT)

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      Institute for Space Imaging Science (ISIS)

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      Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy

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      Southern Alberta Genome Sciences Centre

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      Water Institute for Sustainable Environments (WISE)

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