Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Processes/Mechanisms to Advance Research at Queen’s

Vice-Principal (Research) (VPR) Portfolio

Bookshelves in the Queen's University Law LibraryVarious critical research services are provided by the VPR portfolio, including: communication of funding opportunities; proposal development and application review prior to submission to external funding agencies/sources; negotiation of sponsored research and collaborative research agreements and contracts; promotion of researchers through national and international research award nominations, researcher recognition events and other communication opportunities; guidance and support to Research Centres and Institutes; certifications associated with compliance requirements (ethics, animal care and biohazards); post-award changes, workshops, financial management, monitoring and reporting; and the development of research partnerships.

Working with Internal Audit, the VPR provides yearly feedback on the research enterprise, flagging potential concerns or soliciting support in keeping issues impacting research moving forward through the appropriate administrative channels. Queen’s, as with all universities, is subject to ongoing audits by the Tri-Council, CFI and the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI – formerly MRI).

Changing regulations and economics in higher learning institutions have put increasing pressure on universities to produce accurate and detailed reporting.  It is critical and essential that Queen’s University have a robust electronic research system to manage research projects (up to 4,700/year) and the millions of associated dollars. A new system, Tools for Research Administration at Queen’s (TRAQ), has been implemented to:

  • Capture data on research awards, contracts, and clinical trials
  • Manage daily workflow
  • Manage certifications (e.g. human ethics, environmental health and safety, and animal care)
  • Provide efficient customer service

Given the important role of communications in promoting our research programs and success, both internally and externally, greater emphasis will be given to digital content, development, maintenance, and renewal of the VPR website, and implementation of internal and external communication strategies. We are committed to reintroducing an annual report of our activities and successes, to producing strategic publications for the purposes of promoting and advancing research strengths, to hosting researcher recognition events, and to strengthening our communications with internal, as well as external, stakeholders.

Enhancing Research: Undergraduate, Graduate, and Post-Doctoral Contributions

Queen’s is dedicated to providing opportunities for students at all levels and in all academic areas to participate in research regardless of discipline. For example, the University fosters undergraduate research experiences, such as with the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship (USSRF) launched in 2011, as well as through programs such as Inquiry@Queen’s.

Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are also essential contributors to quality research and teaching at Queen’s. To compete both nationally and internationally for qualified graduates and post-doctoral fellows, we must provide top facilities for conducting research and attract and retain stellar faculty.

Research Infrastructure

State-of-the-art research facilities such as the High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory (HPCVL), SNOLAB, and the Magnetic Resonance Imaging facility, and other unique initiatives including the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS), Innovation Park and The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts are key ingredients for delivery of high-quality research and training programs in support of the University’s strategic research priorities.

Greater coordination and engagement of all stakeholders in planning and governance of our research infrastructure is required. The requirements to initiate, sustain and enhance these facilities are often unique. The infrastructure must be of the highest calibre at the time it is acquired/established, its operation must be adequately resourced, maintained and staffed.  Appropriate mechanisms must also be in place to support sun-setting and decommissioning of facilities when these are no longer required or can no longer be supported.

Libraries and Technology

Looking down on the spiral staircase in Stauffer Library from the top floorSince its inception, Queen’s has invested in its libraries, developing excellent research collections, services and facilities. In addition to our physical libraries, the Internet and other advances in technology have provided unparalleled opportunities for expanding the availability of research resources.

Queen’s researchers must be able to participate fully in the emerging e-research paradigm, which encompasses all digital research creation and output. Working together and in collaboration with regional and national groups, the Library and IT Services are working towards a seamless distributed infrastructure of services for the deposit and repurposing of data.

Queen’s is already part of an advanced data infrastructure. Scholars Portal stores and provides access to over 11 million journal articles and has developed a robust numeric data infrastructure and a geospatial portal. Scholars Portal is in the final steps towards ISO certified Trusted Digital Repository status. Locally, Queen’s has substantial experience with data infrastructure, such as with the HPCVL, a Statistics Canada Research Data Centre and a strong social sciences data service in the Library.

Moving forward, Open Access models will provide rapid, free access over the internet to works that scholars have traditionally produced without expectation of payment. Many academic institutions, including Queen’s (through QShare), are supporting Open Access by building digital repositories to distribute faculty scholarly articles and other research outputs that are also peer-reviewed and published.