New strategic research plan in the works

Final draft expected to be presented to Queen’s Senate in the next four weeks, says vice-principal

Steven Liss
Image by: Alexandra Petre
Steven Liss

The first section of the newly-revised Strategic Research Plan was brought to a Town Hall meeting last Tuesday looking to shift Queen’s research to an international focus.

The plan hadn’t been revised since 2006 and will be presented to Senate within the next six weeks.

“Research has to be independently taken and looked at,” Steven Liss, vice-principal of research, said.

“This plan is different because it attempts to put research in the context of an integrated plan for the University and provides a link to our academic plan.”

One of the plan’s proposals is to develop an institute for advanced research, Liss said.

“Creating a place where we’re attracting visitors and facilitating discussion allows students to interact with others who they would never have had the opportunity to interact with otherwise,” Liss said.

The plan emphasized an internationalization strategy for research at Queen’s.

“Queen’s has always been a nationally-oriented university but more importantly we’re also an international university and we have to try and move in that direction,” Liss said.

In the past six months, Liss travelled to the France, Germany, the U.K. and Washington D.C. He is currently in China with Principal Daniel Woolf.

Queen’s has been working in collaboration with institutions such as the University of Durham

in England. “We are connecting to a complement of institutions of shared values and history. It’s a limited number right now but it’s providing us with a window to the world,” Liss said.

Under the plan the Queen’s Research Chair program will be phased out and replaced with a more flexible Research Leaders award.

“The Research Chair program at Queen’s needed to evolve as it’s not possible to sustain in the present form,” Liss said.

One proposal is that funding earmarked for the Research Chair program be reinvested into research through the new Research Leaders award — the program is meant to be more flexible in terms of the duration.

The research plan detailed that research opportunities be provided for students of all levels, including continued support for programs such as Inquiry@Queen’s, an annual undergraduate research conference held at Queen’s.

“There’s a wide variety of research opportunities for students and we need to be able to galvanize that and give it more prominence,” Liss said.

In general terms, the research plan also mentioned a need for improved communication and Liss said he now meets with faculty deans on a monthly basis.

“Deans are the academic leaders of the university in terms of the aspirations of their faculty,” Liss said, adding that this kind of interaction and community is critical.

Queen’s will also publish its first research magazine this spring, which will be committed to two publications per year with the possibility for student involvement and contribution.

“We want to advocate our research. It should also help engage our community,” Liss said.



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