Research at Nipissing University
Nipissing University’s Strategic Research Plan (SRP) is designed to catalogue present research strengths, identify areas for investment and reinvestment, and encourage future research directions. At the center of these efforts is recognition that Nipissing University is situated on the traditional territory of the Anishinabek peoples of Nipissing First Nation and within the lands protected by the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850.
While our researchers have and will continue to achieve research success in many different ways, our research culture must also make a special commitment to highlight the relevance of regional Indigenous knowledge, history and perspectives in relation to the national and international environment. It is through this approach that a growing number of Nipissing researchers have been able to build upon regional community engagement and reciprocal relationships with Indigenous communities toward achieving research excellence.
Our approach to research is founded upon the values of inclusivity, equity and diversity directed by a culture of openness, fairness and tolerance. In turn, we strongly commit to the overarching idea that quality research is an outcome of sharing diverse ideas, experiences, perspectives, and different senses of place.
Nipissing University seeks to maintain and grow our leadership role in research areas relevant to the regional community that have national and global impact. Simultaneously, Nipissing continues to encourage and support groundbreaking research in other areas of strength.
- This mission will be achieved in part through our researchers working in our region with Indigenous and other partners in a way that not only allows us to make a difference in our community but influence discovery and dialogue on important issues around the world.
- The success of this mission depends not only on the researchers themselves but also on institutional support; not solely based on monetary assistance but also human resources at all levels. Continued investment in our research infrastructure is central to the fulfillment of our mission.
- This mission must also include our students; allowing them to participate in forward- looking discussion and debate as well as participate in real groundbreaking research projects, learning research skills that provide the foundation for the next generation of research excellence.
The Context of the Research Plan
The context of all research is more competitive than ever. Whether this means successful applications for limited funds and grants or disseminating research in reputable journals and with scholarly presses, this five-year plan is founded upon a fundamental commitment to support and encourage high quality research outcomes. Of course, no plan can fully anticipate the constantly shifting internal and external variables that influence these outcomes, including the changing complexion of university researchers and/or the dynamics of Tri-Agency priorities.
While the number of institutions and researchers competing for funding have increased significantly, many high profile funding programs have not seen corresponding increases, with others ending without replacement. So, on the one hand, there is a clear necessity to identify alternative sources of research funds, linking established and new researchers with less visible but still relevant programs. Yet, on the other hand, there are also new opportunities that have come with an increased focus on establishing larger scale inter-university research partnerships. This requires comprehensive knowledge of both new funding programs as well as relevant project development at potential partnering institutions. But, such nimbleness and depth requires a better understanding of existent and developing programs and projects among our researchers.
The world of publishing has also changed considerably over the last decade and continues to evolve. As a consequence, researchers have more opportunities to collaborate across disciplines and options for publishing are more diverse. With this proliferation, it has become increasingly important to recognize quality publication outlets that maintain rigorous peer review processes.
Nipissing University fully commits to encouraging a robust publication schedule among our researchers while not compromising individual or institutional reputation.
Altogether, this plan is designed to position Nipissing as a nimble and responsible research institution, identifying and preparing for new opportunities that take full advantage of existing resources and strategically investing new resources in recognition of the dynamic research environment. If successful, this plan will allow our researchers to better focus energy on their research toward making a contribution to the advancement of knowledge and the betterment of society.
The implementation of the above objectives and corresponding policies and strategies will provide a foundation for future tangible research success. In part, this success might manifest in the following accomplishments Nipissing University:
- has a national reputation for excellence in Indigenous and interdisciplinary research across the disciplines. This could be achieved through scholarly publications, grants, and awards as well as media recognition.
- researchers will substantially increase Tri-Agency Grant success.
- will be in a position to receive approval for a fifth Canada Research Chair.
- will be in a position to receive a larger Canadian Foundation for Innovation grant.
- will attract more visiting scholars, postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate researchers.
In good part, implementation of this plan will be overseen by the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, and the Research Council. Reflecting the timeline column in the charts above, these groups will report progress on the constituent elements of this implementation through academic Deans and the academic Senate. New policies, for one, will be introduced and applied on an ongoing basis. Likewise, new internal grants and awards will be announced seeking applicants and nominations.
At appropriate intervals during the 5-year timeline, updates will be provided as we progress toward the broader aspirational goals mentioned just above.
The Strategic Research Plan has been structured upon four main pillars: Identify, Encourage, Support and Oversee.
Along with defining the character of each pillar, a number of associated objectives are provided and then, more specifically, strategies and/or policies that will be implemented over the time horizon of the plan. The effort has been to avoid platitudes and generalizations and focus on tangible opportunities to maintain and improve research success at Nipissing University.
While individual researchers will always be the most aware of and focused upon their own work, the overarching goal of this plan is to grow a research culture that engenders a high-quality and quantity of research success.
The Provost, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, and the Research Council, among other stakeholders and experts, will assist in the development and implementation of the listed strategies and policies.
Pillar 1: Identify
The most basic component to any successful research institution is to have full knowledge of the character and kind of research occurring and emerging.
Year 1 Objectives
Awareness of research expertise - Working on an annual basis, compile a comprehensive list of areas of research expertise for individual researchers.
Understanding of publication success and other areas of scholarship and knowledge dissemination - Working on an annual basis, utilize databases and submissions by individual researchers to accumulate and catalogue recent publications, scholarship and other form of knowledge dissemination.
Accounting for ongoing and developing research projects - Develop a reporting mechanism to provide summaries of current research projects, whether funded or unfunded.
Recognizing collaborations - Maintain an up-to-date list of individual and institutional research collaborations.
Year 2 Objectives
Review of research Labs, Centres and Institutes - Under the current policy on labs, centres and institutes, provide a centralized and comprehensive account of current work and funding.
Assessing Research (Space/Equipment) Infrastructure - Informed in part by the 2017/2018 space audit, develop a infrastructure accounting policy that provides comprehensive picture of current research infrastructure.
Evaluating link between research and classroom success - Within the new Teaching Chair framework, pinpoint ways researchers integrate their research into the classroom.
Assessing funding success - Develop a policy on non-Tri-Agency grant application and reporting toward a full accounting of funds awarded to our researchers.
Pillar 2: Encourage
With full knowledge of the dynamic research profile of the institution, we must be focused on maintaining and growing current research success and developing areas of future success.
Year 1 Objectives
Informing researchers of projects and collaborations - Proactively notify faculty researchers of relevant work in their field.
Year 2 Objectives
Awareness of external funding opportunities - Develop a targeted individual researcher funding strategy that links researchers with funding programs and projects.
Review of internal funding programs - Assess the success rate of our current internal funding programs in relation to later external funding achievements and recast programs if necessary.
Communicate research success - Work with communications and public relations to develop a strategy to comprehensively promote research success and expertise. Provide mass and social media training to allow individual researchers to better promote their research success and expertise.
Celebrate research success - Develop a targeted strategy for the Chancellor’s Research Award that increases the monetary value but also the associated responsibilities of the holder (e.g. mentorship, research talk).
Year 3 Objectives
Mentoring new faculty researchers - Working with CRCs and the Assistant Dean, create a targeted or linked mentoring program that will give faculty the opportunity to work with established researchers to develop projects and grant applications. Integrate mentoring into the Teaching Chairs framework.
Pillar 3: Support
The acquisition and distribution of resources is the most tangible component of research success. Composed of financial and human resources as well as related infrastructure, a healthy research culture requires proper targeting, transparency, consistency and creativity.
Year 1 Objectives
Stabilizing and Enhancing the Undergraduate Research Conference
- Develop a defined policy and steering committee for the undergraduate research conference.
- Review the funding requirements of the conference and provide consistent annual funding.
Year 3 Objectives
Utilizing our Canada Research Chairs to support faculty, graduate, and undergraduate research
- Develop a CRC internal partnership program that will support relevant faculty, post-doctoral and student involvement in ongoing and emerging research projects.
- Develop an exit strategy and succession plan for CRC program.
Year 4 Objectives
Providing targeted internal research funding
- Establish a new program for research projects that engage with regional partners and communities, in line with the broader goals of the Strategic Plan.
Expanding and focusing Research Services
- Under the leadership of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, reinvestment in staff specifically targeted toward external research fund success.
Year 1-5 Objectives
Targeting Infrastructure Funds
- Informed in part by the 2017/2018 space audit, develop a research infrastructure funding strategy that addresses current and emerging needs.
- Develop a transparent internal application and granting process for CFI funds.
- Work with the Provost and the VP Finance to use fundraising to increase donations for research infrastructure projects.
Enhancing support for graduate student research
- Undertake a review of graduate student support with the Provost and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
- Work with the Provost and VP Finance to use fundraising to increase donations for graduate research.
- Improve competitiveness in recruiting graduate students by enhancing financial packages and infrastructure dedicated to graduate research.
Pillar 4: Oversee
The intellectual and societal importance of university research demands that processes and outcomes must meet the highest of professional and ethical standards. Beyond a mere demand for compliance, a healthy research culture recognizes the link between individual and institutional reputation.
Year 1 Objectives
Maintain high standards - Review and articulate a broad policy statement on Responsible Conduct of Research.
Year 2 Objectives
Renewing the mandate of the Research Council - In conjunction with Senate, review and recast the terms of reference of the Research Council.
Year 1-3 Objectives
Publishing high-quality, impactful work - Work with the Executive Director, Library Services and the Scholarly Communications and Research Data Management Librarian to develop an education strategy on how to assess research impact (i.e., knowledge translation). Work with the Provost and the Deans to develop education processes to ensure research publications meet the standard of peer-review.