Scope, Structure and Governance

The university is committed to research excellence and innovation. It has recognized that some topics of investigation pose challenges that require more complex, collaborative and interdisciplinary models of research. To meet this challenge, the university encourages the formation of Western Research Institutes, approved and recognized by the Board of Governors, to accelerate research excellence and impact beyond what can be achieved from the efforts of individual scholars within established scholarly discipline. 


The goal of research institutes is to foster and support complex models of research that aim to address a wide array of challenging topics of investigation. They are interdisciplinary in nature and their programming aims to mobilize experts within and across traditional disciplinary boundaries, bringing unique perspectives (researchers, trainees, knowledge users) together to tackle grand research challenges, deep problems and/or wicked problems. Research institutes support engagement and outreach by hosting networking and promotions activities and creating links between and working closely with faculties, existing centres, groups, training programs and state-of-the-art facilities on campus. With an overarching focus on societal benefit, research institutes use interdisciplinary and adaptive approaches to advance research excellence and innovation.


Western's research institutes report directly to the University’s Research Institute Governing Board (GB), chaired by the Vice-President (Research). With a Director, a governance structure, an administrative structure, a budget and potentially an assignment of space. Institutes typically have significant financial implications for the university. These implications must be sustained through various sources. Direct and indirect institute costs may be supported through internal funding that will typically come through the Vice-President (Research) office, supplemented by decanal contributions, advancement contributions and other existing internal funding programs. Research institute programs and activities may also be supported through major external funding and/or research partnership/sponsorships.

Resource Documents

Terms of Reference Guidelines