Policy 44 - Research Centres and Institutes

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Established: 22 October 2014
Revised: N/A
Mandatory Review Date: 22 October 2016
Supersedes: N/A
Class: G
Responsible/Originating Department: Office of Research
Executive Contact: Vice-President, University Research

Related Policies, Guidelines & Procedures:

  1. Guidelines for the Establishment of Centres and Institutes
  2. Guidelines for the Review of Centres and Institutes
  3. Template for the Organization and Management of Centres and Institutes
  4. Senate Bylaw 2
  5. Policy 7 – Gift Acceptance
  6. Policy 14 – Pregnancy and Parental Leaves (including Adoption)
  7. Policy 18 – Staff Employment
  8. Policy 40 – The Chair
  9. Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments
  10. Policy 77 – Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members
  11. Procedures Re: University Contracts
  12. Procedure 1, Contracts and Agreements – Excluding Research
  13. Procedure 1A, Contracts and Agreements – Research
  14. Procedure 25, Contracts and Agreements – Zero or Unspecified Dollar Amount

1. Introduction

The University of Waterloo is committed to fostering high quality Research Centres and Institutes that enhance the research and scholarship of the institution.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all Research Centres and Institutes at the University. It does not apply to centres and institutes whose function is primarily administrative (even though some collateral research activities may be pursued from time to time).

3. Legal framework

In addition to the abovementioned “Related Policies, Guidelines & Procedures”, the policy must be construed in accordance with the following legal provisions:

  • Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19
  • Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41

If any of these legal provisions are modified, abrogated, superseded, or added to, the policy will be interpreted in accordance with this new legal framework.

4. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define Research Centres and Institutes at the University, the scope of their activities, and their required governance and reporting structures in order to support and facilitate the attainment of excellence and realization of their missions.

5. Definitions

In this policy and its appendices, if any, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

Governing Body has the meaning given to such term in section 10.3.

Member means a member of a Research Centre/Institute as set out in section 11. The term Member includes Regular Members.

Regular Members are a class of Members defined in section 11.2.

Research Centres/Institutes are units that facilitate collaborative research across departments, schools, and/or Faculties, as well as engage in appropriate international research collaborations. The terms “centre” and “institute” are interchangeable; however, some centres and institutes are supported and governed at the university level while others are housed within individual Faculties. A centre or institute is entitled to identify itself as a part of the University of Waterloo and to use the University’s name and address in the conduct of its activities. These rights are granted at the discretion of Senate for fixed, renewable terms.

Responsible Officers are individuals with designated responsibility for overseeing a Research Centre or Institute’s financial viability and compliance with University policies, procedures and guidelines.

University Research Centres/Institutes are cross-Faculty, University-supported Research Centres/Institutes that facilitate collaborative research across departments, schools, and/or Faculties, as well as engage in appropriate international research collaborations.

6. General

6.1. Research Centres and Institutes are formed to promote and encourage collaborative and multi-disciplinary research and related activities in academic areas that are not accommodated conveniently within single academic departments or schools.
6.2. The function of a Research Centre or Institute is to facilitate the development and promotion of its particular academic area. In pursuit of this objective, Research Centres and Institutes may: establish links inside and outside the University, organize seminars and symposia, solicit funds in the University’s name, and maintain an appropriate administrative infrastructure.
6.3. Research Centres and Institutes are expected to operate with transparency and accountability, and are subject to all applicable University policies, procedures and guidelines.

7. Establishing Research Centres and Institutes

7.1. All Research Centres and Institutes at the University must be approved by Senate on the recommendation of Senate Graduate & Research Council. They are normally established for a five-year renewable term.
7.2. Proposals for new Research Centres and Institutes are submitted to the vice-president, university research and must include the information set out in the Guidelines for the Establishment of Centres and Institutes
7.3. When considering establishing a new Research Centre or Institute, Senate will take into account: the potential academic importance of the work, the proposed governance structure, the degree of financial support and/or financial risk involved in start-up, and projected ongoing costs.
7.4. Prior to Senate approval, individuals and groups may not refer to themselves as a Research Centre or Institute unless they clearly identify the entity as “proposed” or “subject to Senate approval.”
7.5. Research groups do not require Senate approval. Formal research groups that have the characteristics of Research Centres or Institutes and would benefit from that designation are encouraged to pursue formal approval from Senate as Research Centres or Institutes.
7.6. Research groups that represent themselves as “centres” or “institutes”, but are not Senate-approved, are required to seek that approval.

8. Funding

8.1. The University allocates central funds to support the operation of University Research Centres/Institutes on a competitive basis. The University Research Centre/Institute is approved for a period of five years, but it is subject to an annual budgetary process. Operating support for the subsequent fiscal year is determined annually by the vice-president, academic & provost in consultation with the vice-president, university research, based on review of a detailed budget and annual report submitted and approved by the University Research Centre/Institute’s Governing Body. Operating support for the following fiscal year may be withdrawn at the discretion of the vice-president, academic & provost, subject to an appropriate review, upon provision of written notice.
8.2. Research Centres and Institutes are entitled to solicit funds from internal and external sources, and to generate income through activities such as seminars, symposia, membership dues and affiliates programs.
8.3. Any advancement or philanthropic activity involving Research Centres and Institutes must follow University policies, procedures and guidelines, including prospect management and signing authority procedures. Questions from University Research Centres/Institutes should be addressed to the Office of Advancement. Questions from Research Centres/Institutes that are housed within a Faculty should be addressed to the respective Faculty’s advancement office.

9. Oversight

9.1. The University maintains appropriate and sufficient authority over the governance and operation of Research Centres and Institutes.
9.2. All Research Centres and Institutes report to one or more Responsible Officers who are responsible for overseeing financial viability and compliance with University policies, procedures and guidelines.
9.3. The Responsible Officer(s) are the participating Faculty dean(s) or, in the case of University Research Centres/Institutes, the vice-president, university research.
9.4. All Research Centres and Institutes are reviewed at least once every five years by Senate Graduate & Research Council, which recommends to Senate that the Research Centre or Institute: continue with review in another five years; continue with review in one, two or three years; or be wound up. Review criteria established by Senate Graduate & Research Council are available in the Guidelines for the Review of Centres and Institutes.

10. Governance

10.1. Research Centres and Institutes have governance structures that safeguard the independence of scholarship associated with the Research Centre or Institute and the academic freedom of its Members.
10.2. The governance structure of each Research Centre or Institute is set out in a constitution or charter approved by Senate that includes:
  • objectives
  • organizational and reporting structure
  • composition of its Governing Body
  • criteria for and categories of membership
  • privileges and responsibilities of membership
  • terms and conditions of affiliates program, if any
Any changes to a Research Centre or Institute’s constitution must be approved by Senate on the advice of Senate Graduate & Research Council.
10.3. Governing Body
Each Research Centre or Institute has a central Governing Body, such as a board of directors or a steering committee that serves as its primary executive authority and oversees its activities.
Composition
10.3.1. The Governing Body is chaired by the Responsible Officer or his/her delegate who, in the case of University Research Centres/Institutes is the vice-president, university research or delegate and in the case of other Research Centres and Institutes is the appropriate Faculty dean(s). Where there are multiple Responsible Officers, they may elect to serve as co-chairs or to alternate.
10.3.2. In the case of a University Research Centre/Institute, the participating Faculty deans are ex officio voting members of the Governing Body.
10.3.3. A majority of voting members of the Governing Body shall be Regular Faculty at the University of Waterloo as defined in Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments, unless special dispensation is obtained from Senate.
10.3.4. The Regular Members of a Research Centre or Institute shall be represented sufficiently on the Governing Body.
Meetings
10.3.5. The Governing Body is required to meet at least once per year and additionally as appropriate. For Research Centres and Institutes with complex budgetary and/or reporting requirements, meeting at least quarterly is preferable.
10.3.6. Research Centres and Institutes may establish their own rules regarding quorum for meetings of the Governing Body, provided that quorum shall consist of a majority of Regular Faculty at the University of Waterloo as defined in Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments.
10.3.7. The Governing Body will conduct its business transparently. Meetings of the Governing Body will be open to Members of the Research Centre or Institute. Minutes will be taken at all meetings of the Governing Body and will be available to the Members of the Research Centre or Institute.
Powers
10.3.8. The Governing Body has the authority to execute and monitor the affairs of the Research Centre or Institute, subject to all applicable University policies, procedures and guidelines. This includes the ability to:
  • Enact rules and regulations for membership of the Governing Body and the conduct of its affairs;
  • Recommend appointment of the Director and other leaders to the Responsible Officer;
  • Recommend appointment and removal of staff to the Responsible Officer;
  • Appoint and remove Members, and establish categories of membership and associated fees;
  • Plan and implement the Research Centre or Institute’s development;
  • Establish processes to manage and monitor the Research Centre or Institute’s financial affairs;
  • Establish and enforce rules and regulations governing the Research Centre or Institute’s activities, provided such rules and regulations are consistent with University policies, procedures and guidelines; and
  • Establish such committees as it deems necessary to discharge its responsibilities; this may include establishing advisory bodies comprised primarily of external Members for the purpose of providing strategic or scientific advice to the Governing Body or the Director.
10.4. Director
10.4.1. Research Centres and Institutes must have adequate research/scientific/academic leadership and administrative leadership.
10.4.2. Each Research Centre or Institute has a Director who is appointed by the Responsible Officer on the recommendation of the Governing Body. In making its recommendation, the Governing Body will seek the views of the Research Centre or Institute’s Members.
10.4.3. The Director shall hold a University of Waterloo faculty appointment.
10.4.4. The Director’s term is determined by the Responsible Officer, and is normally for a five-year period. A Director’s term may be extended or renewed by the Responsible Officer with the support of the Governing Body.
10.4.5. If permitted by the Governing Body, the Director may delegate some of his/her responsibilities to one or more Associate Directors and/or in the case of University Research Centres/Institutes and other Research Centres or Institutes with sufficient resources, to one or more staff members. 
10.4.6. The Director is responsible for:
  • overseeing the Research Centre or Institute’s operations and managing its budget;
  • supervising staff members;
  • establishing working groups or committees to provide appropriate guidance and advice in support of his/her responsibilities;
  • preparing an Annual Report to the Governing Body; and
  • discharging all responsibilities set out in the constitution or charter, and as directed by the Governing Body.
10.4.7 The procedures followed by the Director in all matters shall be governed by prevailing departmental and/or Faculty practices, as applicable, and by University policies, procedures and guidelines.
10.4.8. The Director’s performance is reviewed annually by the Responsible Officer. With prior knowledge of the Director, the Responsible Office will seek confidential input from the Governing Body, Members of the Research Centre or Institute, and its staff by any means s/he deems appropriate.
10.4.9. In the event of the Director’s absence for any prolonged period, arrangements should be made for the Responsible Officer to appoint an Acting Director for a period of no more than one year.
10.4.10. If the office of Director becomes unexpectedly vacant, the Responsible Officer will appoint, after appropriate consultation, an interim Director and initiate the process of filling the vacancy.
10.4.11. A Director may only be removed from office for cause, which is to be understood in relation to the duties of the Director as described herein. Causes for removal include negligence, incompetence, unprofessional conduct, and inability to maintain the confidence of the Members. The procedures governing removal for cause shall be those set out in section 4 of Policy 40 – The Chair, except that all references to the “Chair” shall mean the Director and references to the “Dean” shall mean the Responsible Officer.

11. Membership and appointments

11.1. Research Centres and Institutes may define categories of membership and establish associated rights and obligations, including membership fees (if any), qualifications for membership, and length of term.
11.2. Each Research Centre or Institute shall have a defined category of Regular Members who are University faculty conducting research or scholarship in the area of Research Centre or Institute. The Regular Members are entitled to participate in the Research Centre or Institute’s governance.
11.3. The following categories of individuals may be appointed directly to a Research Centre or Institute on a definite-term or contingent-upon-funding basis as appropriate, provided that the Research Centre or Institute possesses sufficient governance processes and resources to cover associated financial, space and other commitments. All such appointments must follow University policies, procedures and guidelines including, but not limited to policies 14, 18, 76 and 77; involve academic units appropriately; and be approved by the Research Centre or Institute’s Governing Body and the participating Faculty dean(s):
  • research professors
  • technicians and administrative staff
  • research assistants
11.4. Regardless of their affiliation with a Research Centre or Institute, the following categories of individuals must be appointed to or registered in a department, school and/or Faculty:
  • tenured or tenure track faculty members
  • graduate students
  • postdoctoral fellows

12. Participation in academic programs

12.1. Research Centres and Institutes do not have autonomy to administer for-credit academic courses or programs leading to University of Waterloo degrees or diplomas. All such academic courses and programs must be formally housed in one or more department(s), school(s), and/or Faculty(ies) and governed in accordance with their policies, procedures and regulations, subject to Senate oversight.
12.2. Research Centres and Institutes serve as catalysts for collaborations that may develop into academic programs based in departments, schools and/or Faculties.
12.3. Research Centres and Institutes may be used to enhance, facilitate and/or deliver academic programming offered by departments, schools and/or Faculties, including assisting with course or program implementation, attracting students and funding, and providing expertise to program advisory committees.
12.4. Faculty Members of Research Centres and Institutes may represent their academic disciplines, areas, and/or problem foci on program advisory committees established by academic unit(s) in order to help shape and define the nature of interdisciplinary academic programs and facilitate engagement with Research Centres and Institutes.
12.5. Research Centres and Institutes may develop and deliver continuing education programs, subject to the approval of and managed in conjunction with the Centre for Extended Learning. However, as outlined in 12.1, they do not have autonomy to administer for-credit academic courses or programs leading to University of Waterloo degrees or diplomas.