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Exceeding expectations

Impressive turn out for regional research conference


By Jeff Green

Delegates attending a conference at Memorial recently were reminded of the importance of collaborations and partnerships when it comes to the diverse work of research administration.

Memorial hosted Research on the Rock from Nov. 14-15. The event was organized in partnership with the Canadian Association of Research Administrators.

Research on the Rock attracted nearly 160 delegates from Atlantic Canada and beyond.
Research on the Rock attracted nearly 160 delegates from Atlantic Canada and beyond.
Photo: Submitted

Organizers hoped to attract 50-75 delegates but surpassed those expectations with nearly 160 participants from Atlantic Canada and beyond.

Staff and faculty members from post-secondary institutions, members of the research and ethics communities, and representatives from the federal and Nunatsiavut governments were among those in attendance. The event took place in the Medical Education Building on the St. John’s campus.

‘Share ideas’

Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research), welcomed participants and highlighted the important roles research administrators play at post-secondary institutions: everything from providing financial oversight to project management to contracting.

Ellen Steinhauer, manager, awards and honours, presents during Research on the Rock.
Ellen Steinhauer, manager, awards and honours, presents during Research on the Rock.
Photo: Submitted

“Events such as this conference provide research administrators from throughout Atlantic Canada the opportunity to meet, share ideas and learn from one another,” he said.

“A key part of this is bringing our researchers with us along on this journey, informing them of the increased complexity of the funding environment and putting in place a partnership to achieve the best outcomes. I encourage you to get to know your neighbour, provide feedback to your presenters and, most importantly, collaborate.”

Learning new information

The conference was organized by a committee consisting of employees from the St. John’s campus, the Marine Institute, Grenfell Campus and the provincial Health Research Ethics Authority, along with a working group composed of regional representatives from post-secondary institutions from the Atlantic provinces.

“Based on some of the initial feedback and dialogue, I think we met those expectations,” said Julie Rideout, operations manager with the Ocean Frontier Institute and chair of the local organizing committee.

“We had a series of sessions from presenters that included everything from the use of personal health information for research purposes to research engagement with Indigenous communities to promoting and celebrating innovation. I think delegates were able to learn some new information, make new contacts and share ideas.”

Memorial representation

Several members of the Memorial community presented and spoke during the event, including Capt. Christopher Hearn, director, Centre for Marine Simulation at the Marine Institute, who provided one of the keynote addresses.

Others included Don Belanger, associate director, technology transfer, commercialization, project management, Research Grant and Contract Services; Robert Trask, program manager, Research Grant and Contract Services; Ellen Steinhauer, manager, awards and honours, Office of the Vice-President (Research); Kate Hogan, knowledge translation lead, and Eva Vat, patient engagement co-ordinator and training and capacity development lead, Newfoundland and Labrador SUpport for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials Unit, Faculty of Medicine; Catharyn Andersen, special advisor to the president on Aboriginal affairs; Tina Hickey, employment equity officer, Human Resources; Drs. Scott Harding and Raluca Barac, grants facilitation officers, Faculty of Science; Michelle Simms, president and CEO, Genesis Group; Dr. Jacqueline Walsh, assistant professor, Grenfell Campus; Dr. Brett Favaro, research scientist, Marine Institute; and Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo, director, Labrador Institute.

Slides from some of the presenters will be posted to the conference website in the coming days.

Research on the Rock was sponsored in part by the City of St. John’s, the Panel on Research Ethics, Terrapure, ProcessPathways, Springboard, VWR and Memorial.

During the conference, it was announced that Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia will host Research Atlantic 2018 next fall.

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