Full steam ahead for Strategic Research Plan

Ta da! After 18 months of extensive consultations with faculties, divisions, deans and other organizational units that support research, as well as external stakeholders, the University of Victoria has its first full-blown Strategic Research Plan.

“This plan marks an important milestone in our ascent to being one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities and a significant contributor internationally,” says Vice-President Research David Castle, who led its development. “It will steer our investment and management decisions for the next five years and further extend our reputation for excellence in research and innovation.

“Future success for UVic research depends on a clear sense of our organizational values, understanding the changing landscape of research, and being nimble enough to channel our existing strengths and resources toward new opportunities,” he says. “This plan is a road map for achieving that.”

The plan affirms UVic’s commitment to vital impact through excellence in research; discovery, creation and invention; community-engaged research; research-inspired educational programs; and international research.

Also detailed are the university’s research resources, including a steady growth in research income; a proven track record in innovation; consistently high placement in national and global research rankings; award-winning researchers; world-class research infrastructure; 17 interdisciplinary research centres, and a strong body of talented graduate students and post-doctorial fellows.

“Taken together, these resources reflect UVic’s accumulation of research expertise and achievements,” says Castle. “They empower us to anticipate and exploit new opportunities in an ever-changing and highly competitive research environment.”

The plan identifies eight broad areas of existing research strength—or dynamic research capabilities—that provide UVic with a strong foundation for future research success. They are (in alphabetical order):

  • creativity and culture
  • data science and cyber physical systems
  • environment, climate and energy
  • global studies and social justice
  • health and life sciences
  • Indigenous research
  • ocean science and technology
  • physical sciences and engineering, mathematics and computer science

These eight areas were discussed during the Strategic Research Plan engagement process, says Castle. They were validated for continued relevance and updated to include newly emerged capabilities.

At the heart of the plan are five high-level priorities that will guide the university’s research-focused investments and management decisions for the next five years. They are:

  • defining and achieving research excellence
  • enhancing the integration of research and education
  • expanding partnerships, innovation and entrepreneurship
  • improving research competitiveness through differentiation and specialization
  • enhancing and optimizing the provision of research services.

Associated with these priority areas are dozens of specific objectives, along with strategies that describe how the objectives will be achieved and how progress will be measured.

Implementation will be aligned with other university planning processes and will take place over the five-year term of the plan, says Castle, adding that strategies taken up in any given year will be subject to resource considerations and other constraints and opportunities that arise.

Castle thanks the UVic research community, and key funders and partners, for the time and effort they invested in the strategic research planning process, as well as the invaluable leadership of the Strategic Research Plan advisory committee.

“All of these contributions have created a plan that will guide our research mission in the coming years and support our researchers as they continue to push new ideas, discoveries and creations forward for the benefit of society and the world around us.”

Browse, print or download a copy of the Strategic Research Plan.

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Keywords: research, administrative, policy

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