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‘Accelerate and expand’

Memorial's Board of Regents approves new five-year research strategy

By Jeff Green

Memorial has a new institutional research strategy.

At its Oct. 18 meeting, the Board of Regents approved Research Strategy 2023–28

The pan-university document aligns with Transforming Our Horizons, the university’s strategic plan, as well as other institutional strategic priorities, such as the Strategic Framework for Indigenization 2021–26.

It also emphasizes Memorial’s commitment to indigenization, equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism (EDI-AR) and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The strategy’s new vision is: To improve and advance our understanding of our place in the world.

Its mission is: We use curiosity, creativity and critical inquiry to develop and apply expertise for the betterment of people, place and economy.

Solid foundation

“Leading-edge research has been critical to Memorial’s development over the last several decades. This new strategy embraces that success and lays the foundation for our continued growth as an internationally respected, research-intensive university,” said Dr. Tana Allen, vice-president (research). “The innovative work being led by our faculty, staff and students positively impacts our communities and world in so many ways as they push the boundaries of knowledge. As our diverse research activities accelerate and expand, this strategy provides strategic guidance and inspiration for our community to grow our research activities and impacts.”

Core principles focus

Included in the strategy is a series of core principles to guide research at Memorial.

These include the following:

  • strengthening indigenization and EDI-AR in all aspects of the research enterprise
  • valuing research and its outcomes including, but not limited to, knowledge, innovation, diversity and excellence
  • upholding Memorial’s obligations to global challenges as well as the strategic priorities of the country, province and people of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • acknowledging the freedom of researchers to ethically pursue research that is based on their individual and collective curiosity, ingenuity and creativity
  • cultivating an ecosystem to support all aspects of research at Memorial University

As research efforts intensify and diversify, inspiration will come from four goals and several key objectives.

The strategy also includes three new overarching research themes: sustaining people; sustaining place; and sustaining economy.

The themes identify Memorial’s research priorities to funders and partners in areas where Memorial has strengths to build on and where there are opportunities for growth.

The themes also include research areas where there is a need for fundamental and applied research in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Research themes and current strengths

Sustaining people

  • Indigenous Peoples
  • social justice and human rights
  • health and wellness

Sustaining place

  • Arctic and northern regions
  • creative arts, culture and heritage
  • community and regional development

Sustaining economy

  • environment, energy and natural resources
  • technology for a knowledge economy
  • enterprise development

The planning and consultation process for the strategy also confirmed Memorial’s special connection and obligations to ocean-related research and, as such, vital oceans research is present in each of the themes.

Dr. Allen credits the considerable input from internal and external stakeholders provided over the past two years for helping shape the new document.

“Through an open dialogue and opportunity for feedback and ideas, our community provided foundational input and direction for this strategy.,” she said. “I particularly want to thank our working groups and staff from the research portfolio who helped guide this entire process.”

Dr. Allen says implementation of the strategy will rely on support from and collaboration with the Memorial community.

More details will be shared as they become available. The university and wider communities are encouraged to provide feedback about the Research Strategy via email.

Comments and ideas will help inform implementation, future operations and strategic planning.

Memorial’s previous Research Strategy Framework was endorsed in Sept. 2011. The university’s Strategic Research Intensity Plan 2014–20 built on the framework to support Memorial’s vision.

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