Senate Policy on Organized Research Units
Notes: Approved by Senate: 2012/03/22
Approval Authority: Senate
Signed: "Harriet Lewis"
(Has associated Guidelines and Procedures)
1. Policy Statement
It shall be the policy of York University to provide for the establishment of Organized Research Units (ORUs) within the scope, terms and conditions of this Policy and its associated guidelines and procedures.
2. Vision, Principles and Objectives
2.1. Research in Academic Planning
York’s University Academic Plan identifies research intensification as a primary planning objective in the quest for York to ascend to the fore of Canada’s leading comprehensive research intensive institutions. York’s creative and scholarly research endeavours also provide a stimulating and innovative environment that enriches all other academic activities, are vital to attracting highly motivated students seeking innovative experiential and other high quality learning experiences, and strengthen the University’s commitments to external engagement and social justice.
2.2 Collaborative Research and Organized Research Units
While the promotion and encouragement of individual research excellence remains at the forefront of research development at York, in an increasingly complex research environment, the quest for excellence and leadership also depends on collaboration and interaction between researchers from often diverse backgrounds in pursuit of common goals. Indeed, collaboration and interdisciplinarity are hallmarks of the distinctiveness and leadership of York that provide the University with the expectation of a natural competitive advantage in realizing its research aspirations.
While collegial collaborative activity within and across disciplines occurs broadly and arises organically, there are many instances where the scope or scale of the research opportunity can best be developed through formal collaborative association and the strategic investment of resources. Further, as no academic institution can expect to provide leadership in all areas of research endeavors, it is important for the institution to develop appropriate mechanisms to enable it to invest strategically in the development of larger-scale research initiatives.
York’s collaborative research goals are furthered by a number of key activities, which include:
- the development and implementation of strategic research plans of the University and Faculties
- strategic investments in larger-scale research initiatives
- responsiveness to external research opportunities, such as are established by the federal and provincial governments and other major funders of research, as well as by civil society, communities, industry, and business.
Opportunities typically follow natural cycles, and their duration and evolution will vary according to their purpose and nature.
York University sees the Organized Research Unit (ORU) as an important formal mechanism through which it can work to achieve its aspirations of collaborative strategic research leadership and development as well as other important research goals. Research Institutes and Centres chartered by Senate are expected to:
- foster vibrant and ongoing programs of collaborative research that explicitly incorporate York’s tradition of interdisciplinary collegial scholarship
- provide communities to support individual researchers
- add value and promote quality by bringing together critical masses of scholars aspiring to national leadership and international recognition in clearly identified areas of research consistent with York’s values and traditions of community engagement and the translation and mobilization of knowledge, broadly construed and including the methods used in the Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Fine Arts, to the greater benefit of society
- provide institutional platforms, including specialized administrative expertise, from which to apply for grant and infrastructure support for collaborative and individual projects, and an institutional framework within which to administer them when granted
- provide the means and the encouragement to co-operate with scholars at other universities and institutions, as well as with community and private-sector-based researchers
- enhance and extend teaching, foster the training of future researchers, in a rich environment for graduate student learning and research.
- contribute to building the external reputation and raising the external profile of York research and researchers
3. Nature of Organized Research Units
All ORUs are expected to seek and obtain support from a variety of internal and external sources. ORUs are normally expected to assist in the attainment of University research plans. They may be organized exclusively within York or established jointly with another university or institution (within Canada or internationally) through formal agreement. Research Centres/Institutes may be developed either within the Faculties on the Keele and Glendon campuses or through the office of the Vice President Research and Innovation (VPRI), as warranted by the size, degree of interdisciplinarity, and impact of the initiative.
4. Senate Authority
Organized Research Units are established by means of Charters approved by Senate on recommendations from its Academic Policy Planning and Research Committee (APPRC), which oversees the application and evolution of this policy.
5. Nature and Duration of Charters
No entity shall have or use the designation of Research Centre/Research Institute unless it has been chartered by Senate. ORU charters are approved by Senate. ORU charters are approved by Senate based on recommendations of its Academic Policy, Planning and Research Committee (APPRC). Charters are for a fixed term of five years.
6. Role of the Vice-President Research and Innovation
York’s research is conducted by individuals and groups working within and across Faculties and academic units. A key role is assigned to the Vice-President Research. ORUs at both the Institutional and Faculty level are expected to be supported by the Faculties and normally reflect the strategic objectives of the Faculty as well as the Institution. The VPRI is responsible for issuing calls for ORU applications and overseeing their review, and is expected to play a major role in supporting the seeding and nucleating of ORUs and in providing the ORUs with access to the tools needed to reach their objectives and sustain their success for the duration of the opportunity. The VPRI also has a primary role in ensuring the accountability and sound management of ORUs, according to its mandated responsibilities. In applying this policy, the VPRI coordinates efforts with the Academic Policy, Planning and Research Committee of Senate and its Sub-Committee on ORUs.
7. Effective Date of this Policy / Transition Provisions
This Policy, and attendant operational changes, comes into effect on the date it is approved by Senate. In the interest of a gradual and orderly transition to the chartering model set out in this Policy, all current charters shall continue until each ORU’s next scheduled review or June 30, 2015, whichever comes first.