seal Research

It is essential to Western's aspirations as a major international university to demonstrate a significant profile in innovative research in its broadest definition. Although comparability of specific data among universities is difficult to ascertain, many indicators suggest that in recent years the University has not kept pace in attracting external research funding with other Canadian universities which have historically served as Western's peers. One important deficiency has been Western's performance relative to that of our competitors in attracting alternative sources of research funding, particularly from industry. Another is that we have not moved rapidly enough to take advantage of funding initiatives in multidisciplinary research. Western is fortunate to have outstanding scholars in many disciplines, so the potential for cross-disciplinary collaboration at this time is excellent.

The Office of the Vice-President (Research) has a crucial role in promoting and facilitating the cross-Departmental and cross-Faculty collaborative and interdisciplinary research that is a focus of a growing share of government and private research funding. Large research initiatives commonly require the identification of suitable project leaders, the coordination of researchers from more than a single faculty, and senior institutional representation in dealings with off-campus partners, tasks most readily taken on by the Vice-President (Research). If the office is to be effective in these and related functions, the Vice-President (Research) must have access to resources to assist with the preparation and support of complex research proposals which have the potential for major pay-offs in research and teaching. The Vice-President (Research) should have a major role in the allocation of category "A" of the Academic Development Fund (ADF) in support of innovation in teaching and research.

The University of Western Ontario Library System constitutes the fifth largest research library in Canada and is listed by the Association of Research Libraries as among the sixty largest in North America. As a resource for scholarship, the libraries lie at the heart of Western's academic enterprise. Specific funding provisions to address the inflationary costs of acquisitions and to provide a buffer against fluctuations in international currency exchange rates have been in place in recent years. It is imperative that Western maintain the integrity of the University Library System if the academic needs and aspirations of students, faculty, and staff are to be addressed.

Western requires better coordination and planning of academic computing in support of both research and teaching. The combination of the growing ease of use of individual computers, the growing sophistication of networking individual machines and providing access to a wide range of services on-campus and off, and the significant potential to use computers in instruction, all require new and innovative leadership in academic computing.

At the heart of research excellence and the training of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows lies the recruitment, promotion, tenure and rewarding of Western's faculty. There is no substitute for leadership on the part of the Provost, Vice-President (Research), Deans, and Chairs in setting high academic standards for faculty performance in research and scholarship. The quality of this performance should be an important part of selective budgetary allocation. The Provost and Vice-President (Research) should develop and use a set of indicators that, properly interpreted in light of disciplinary differences, play a role in the annual distribution of Western's operating and capital resources.

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3.1 The Office of the Vice-President (Research) should be provided the resources and support necessary to facilitate research through activities such as assisting with the preparation of complex proposals for collaborative and interdisciplinary research, University investment required to attract external funding support, and short-term bridge funding for outstanding post-doctoral fellows who are likely to attract support from major granting councils.

3.2 The Provost and the Vice-President (Research) should develop a set of research activity indicators (including the training of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows) that can be used in an Annual Report and as a factor in the annual budget planning process. These indicators should be used in the annual assessment of both academic units and the Office of Research Services.

3.3 The Provost, Vice-President (Research), and the Vice-President (Administration) should bring forward a proposal for a structure for renewed leadership in academic computing and the coordination of information technology on campus. With due respect for the need for specialized services in some areas, coordination must include the computing facilities across the campus (e.g., Social Science Computing Laboratory, Engineering, Music, Education, Medicine, Business). In collaboration with the Director of Libraries and the Senate Committee on Information Technology Services, a plan should be developed for the coordination of information technology services, including the University Library System. The plan should include a five-year estimate of budgetary requirements in this area.

3.4 The University Research Park has the potential to become an important catalyst for collaborative research and strong scholarly partnerships. The University must build upon its strong partnership with the City of London to ensure the long-term success of the Research Park. A long-term plan for the Park should be developed by the Vice-Presidents (Administration) and (Research) which includes both a realistic financial strategy and a policy to ensure that activities in the Research Park support and complement the academic Mission and Principles of the University.

***UWO, "Leadership in Learning", November 1995***