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Proposed changes to the Centres and Institutes Policy

The revised policy proposes a number of changes, but the most significant are as follows:

1. The current policy provides a mechanism for a centre or institute to be established as either a GFC- or Board-approved research entity.  In the revised policy, all centres and institutes must first be a GFC-approved centre/institute and must provide a rationale to become a Board-approved centre or institute.

Research Groups should provide sufficient information to justify the creation of a new Centre or Institute.  Applications should be clear and concise, written for a lay audience and should not exceed 8 pages (excluding the letters of support). Table 1 outlines required content.

Table 1. Content required in an application to establish a Centre or Institute

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)

Rationale 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 overlaps 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).

Centres/Institutes should provide sufficient information to justify the reclassification to a University Centre/Institute.  Applications should be clear and concise, written for a lay audience and should not exceed 8 pages (excluding the letters of support). Table 2 outlines required content.

Table 2. Content required in an application to be classified as a  University Centre or Institute

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.

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.

2. The revised policy includes a discussion on the type of institutional resources that would be made available to support Centres/Institutes.

The guidelines for Catalyst Grants are still under development but the program is envisioned to be a flexible program designed to provide support for a wide range of activities, provided the activities align with the goals outlined by the Centre/Institute.  There is an expectation that the grants will be used to enable the Centre/Institute to have a more significant impact than otherwise possible.  Funds are not intended to support ‘business as usual’ operations, but rather provide resources to catalyze research and knowledge creation initiatives that will be used strategically to attract further external opportunities.  This may include, but is not limited to, partnerships, grants, community engagement, etc.

Centre/Institute Directors will be invited to submit a proposal highlighting how the requested funding will be used to advance the Centre/Institute.  The goals to be achieved with Catalyst funding will vary by Centre/Institute, but applications should clearly demonstrate how the requested funds will achieve the desired outcomes.

The inaugural competition will be launched in November 2019 with applications due in January 2020.