How does Western build upon its strong research history to become a university that is globally recognized for research excellence? This is the question John Capone, Vice-President, Research posed as he tapped into the collective insights of the nearly 200 academic and administrative leaders in attendance at the January 24, 2013 Leaders’ Forum.
While Western consistently ranks 9th or 10th in Canada in terms of national research metrics, the University is looking to increase its research profile and overall impact at a global level in selected areas of strength, says Capone. There is a commitment to building upon our research foundation to foster a culture that encourages and supports innovation.
At the forum participants held table discussions on ways to facilitate Western’s future research success. Some of the suggestions included:
Capone suggests “clustering” areas of research strength will be an increasingly important strategy for Western. Clustering allows a convergence of disciplines to tackle issues in very integrated ways. This new way of organizing our research in areas of global significance will be part of our planning process.
With a changing research funding climate, Western will need to be bold and flexible in securing new areas of funding. In addition to an aggressive approach to external funding, our internal allocation processes need to align with our strategic directions and institutional barriers must be reduced.
Another critical area to accelerate Western’s research reputation is a commitment to bringing in the world’s best and brightest. This includes faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.
Along with the input and suggestions provided at the Leaders’ Forum, Capone and his team continue to work with the research community and institutional leaders to develop goals and objectives for the next strategic planning cycle.
In his concluding comments, Capone drew strong parallels between how Western developed strategies over the past 15 years to become a university focused and known for the student experience and now developing strategies designed to make Western a research “powerhouse.”