Faculty Research Centres

Faculty Research Centres

SUMMARY

The Faculty Research Centres Policy establishes the principles that underpin the University’s approach to the establishment, management, performance, review and extension of Faculty Research Centres at Macquarie University.

The Procedure and Guideline provide further information concerning the expectations of the University regarding the operation of such Centres.

POLICY

1     PURPOSE

To detail the requirements associated with the establishment, management, performance, review and extension of Faculty Research Centres at Macquarie University.

2     BACKGROUND

Macquarie University will recognise the following research centre categories:

  • National Research Centres (including ARC Centres of Excellence) (NRCs) – whose core funding is provided from external sources;
  • Macquarie University Research Centres (MQRCs) – with operational funding provided by the University;
  • Faculty Research Centres – Faculty research centres established and maintained in accordance with this Policy and associated Procedures; and
  • the Australian Institute for Health Innovation.

Over time Faculty Research Centres may develop into either MQRCs or NRCs. It is important that Faculty Research Centres not only demonstrate cohesive character, but also meet ongoing high standards of performance, with quality and excellence in their declared field.

3     SCOPE

This Policy applies to:

  • new groupings of researchers aspiring to Faculty Research Centre status
  • staff in an existing Faculty Research Centre anticipating a scheduled review of its performance.

4     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary.

In this Policy, the term “Faculty Research Centres” will be read to include Macquarie Graduate School of Management research centres.

5     POLICY STATEMENT

Faculty Research Centres will be expected to play a vital role in the University’s activities.
In accordance with Delegation of Authority 6.2, all Faculty Research Centres require approval by the Vice-Chancellor in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and on the recommendation of the Executive Dean/Dean. 

ELIGIBILITY AND FUNCTIONS
A Faculty Research Centre must advance the excellence and impact of research at the University, enable the development of critical mass and provide a focus for activities that are consistent with the University’s and the Faculty’s Strategic Plans. The focus must be in an established or emerging area of research specified by the Faculty.
A Faculty Research Centre will be expected to:

  • form a cohesive group of researchers with a demonstrable record of collaboration;
  • focus the activities of its research staff and students, and in so doing, use available research infrastructure more efficiently;
  • foster collaborative research efforts between individuals and research teams within and outside the Faculty Research Centre;
  • encourage inter-disciplinary approaches to particular research problems;
  • establish and maintain regional, national, and international links with individuals and teams conducting research in similar, or complementary fields;
  • complement and enrich the higher degree/research training programs of the University;
  • where possible, strengthen the links between research activities and teaching within the various Departments/Faculties of the University;
  • enhance the status of the University by raising the level and public profile of research activity;
  • seek to attract funds from the public and private sectors to help support the University's research program;
  • provide opportunities for the professional development of staff, particularly new and early career researchers; and
  • undertake research and/or consultancy activities on behalf of industry, government, and/or the community.

ESTABLISHMENT
Each Faculty will determine and set its own procedures and requirements for the establishment of a Faculty Research Centre consistent with this Policy.

MANAGEMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
A Faculty Research Centre must have:

  • a Director (or co-Directors) with a track record of high-level performance of relevance to the Faculty Research Centre's goals
  • an Advisory Board or Management Committee
  • a minimum of three full-time-equivalent (3.0 FTE) continuing University academic staff members.

Once the establishment of a Faculty Research Centre has been approved in accordance with this Policy and where it involves one or more external organisations, all participating organisations will enter into a written agreement regarding the management of the Faculty Research Centre. The University will require approval by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).   

FINANCIAL SUPPORT
A Faculty Research Centre must not impose any financial cost on the host Faculty (other than the salary costs of its members), unless specifically approved by the Executive Dean/Dean. 

REPORT
Upon establishment, a Faculty Research Centre will be set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), in negotiation with the Executive Dean/Dean. Each Faculty will determine the reporting requirements for KPIs and the required program for review provided always that KPIs are reviewed by no later than the date of the third anniversary of their being set.  The Faculty Research Centre must report to the Executive Dean/Dean on the KPIs in accordance with the Faculty’s reporting requirements and their required program for review (Report). The form of the Report will be at the discretion of the Executive Dean/Dean, but as a minimum it will include information on how the Centre has performed against the KPIs set at the establishment of the Faculty Research Centre or (if applicable) against any key performance indicators set in subsequent years.

REVIEW, EXTENSION, DISESTABLISHMENT
The Executive Dean/Dean will review the Centre every three years to assess the extent to which it has met its KPIs and the degree to which it has achieved the expected outcomes of the Faculty Research Centres scheme.  The Executive Dean/Dean will determine (in accordance with Faculty requirements) whether the Centre (i) will be extended for a further term of three years or (ii) will be invited to apply for renewal of its status via the submission of a new Faculty Research Centre application, and if the application is not made or is unsuccessful, the Centre will be disestablished as a Faculty Research Centre.  Extension of the term of a Faculty Research Centre will be subject to the approval of the Vice-Chancellor in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) upon recommendation of the Executive Dean/Dean.

6     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

7     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Faculty Research Centres Procedure (see tab above)
Our University: A Framing of Futures
Strategic Research Framework: 2015-2024
Faculty Strategic Research Plans

8     NOTES

8.1Contact OfficerDirector, Research Office
8.2Implementation OfficerDirector, Strategic Research Partnerships and Pre Award
8.3Approval Authority / AuthoritiesDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
8.4Date Approved20 October 2016
8.5Date of Commencement20 October 2016
8.6Date for ReviewOctober 2019
8.7Documents Superseded by this PolicyFaculty Research Centres Policy approved 27 November 2009. 
Paper on Faculty Research Centres by DVCRO
8.8Amendment Historyna

PROCEDURE

Purpose

To supplement the University’s Policy on Faculty Research Centres and detail the expectations of the University regarding the operation of such Centres.
Note: Faculty Research Centres are not separate budget units of the University unless specifically approved. Faculty Research Centres do not receive direct funding from Commonwealth Infrastructure Block Grants (IBG). Any IBG funding ‘earnt’ by a Faculty Research Centre is provided to the Faculty. In addition, Centres are not usually treated as separate units for the purposes of student enrolment, whether undergraduate or postgraduate.

Procedure

This procedure requires actions by the following: This document details procedures for:

Researcher

ESTABLISHING A FACULTY RESEARCH CENTRE
Researchers proposing to form a Faculty Research Centre must submit a detailed written proposal to their Executive Dean, usually via their respective Head(s) of Department(s). In proposing a Centre, academic staff must be able to demonstrate that the benefits arising from the Centre’s establishment can be shown in terms of significant research outcomes, and that the performance of the whole of the proposed Centre (in terms of outputs, benefits and economies) is greater than the sum of the parts.

Content of Proposals for the establishment of a Faculty Research Centre
A Centre must provide a focus for activities which are consistent with the established Mission of the University (as expressed in its current Strategic Plans). It must be in an established or emerging area of research specified by the University. The proposal for the Centre must be able to demonstrate that there is real need for the creation of a formally-named organisation to house it – that is there are significant advantages to the University in the “branding” for the group. This is especially so where the activities are interdisciplinary, or where the activities involve interaction with institutions and organisations outside the University.
The proposal must include the following information:
  • the mission and objectives of the Centre
  • justification for the establishment of the Centre in terms of these procedures, including evidence of need, and quality/excellence track record of the proposed members in terms of relevant grants, awards, and outputs for the past three years
  • a Strategic Plan for the first five years of the Centre’s operation, including the specification of objectives, strategies and performance indicators by which the Centre’s performance can be assessed. Note that the continued existence of the Centre will depend upon it meeting these criteria
  • details of any funding, including a business plan and full budget with cash flow projections for the first year, and an outline of budgets for the following two years
  • a proposed Centre Constitution
  • details of the management of the Centre, including responsibilities of the Director, arrangements for the establishment of an advisory committee and/or management committee and details of the proposed membership of such a committee
  • a list of the initial members of the Centre, including brief (one-page) CVs and details of the time commitments of each member to the activities of the Centre (note that major relevant outputs are also dealt with under the second dot point, above)
  • an indication as to whether the proposed Centre will require accommodation, special facilities and/or equipment above and beyond that already readily available from the Faculty/Faculties concerned, and, if so, what steps have been taken to address this matter.

Once complete the proposal is to be submitted to the Executive Dean via the respective Head (s) of Department.

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Executive Dean

Assess a Proposal
The Executive Dean will assess all proposals for the establishment of a new Faculty Research Centre in accordance with the University Policy on Faculty Research Centres and the Faculty’s Strategic Plans.
Where a proposal is acceptable to the Executive Dean, the Executive Dean will recommend the establishment of the Centre to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Approve a Proposal
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) will ensure the establishment of the new Centre is in accordance with the University’s Strategic Goals and will be an asset to the Faculty.
Where approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) will report the establishment of the Centre to Academic Senate.

Faculty Research Centre Director

REPORT PERFORMANCE
Each year, upon the anniversary of its establishment, the Faculty Research Centre Director will provide an Annual Report to the Executive Dean for each calendar year of its existence. This report is intended to check on the Centre’s performance against the agreed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) established at the inception of the Centre. The Report should also include proposed KPIs for the following year. Therefore, as a minimum, the Report should include the following:
  • progress against objectives and agreed performance indicators specified in the Centre’s Strategic Plan for the past year
  • proposed activities for the coming year, and performance indicators for that year, amended as necessary.

Executive Dean

EVALUATE AGAINST PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
Upon receipt of an Annual Report, the Executive Dean will evaluate the performance of the Centre against the indicators specified in the original proposal (first year) or the previous Annual Report (subsequent years). The Dean will also assess the proposed performance indicators for the subsequent year.
The Executive Dean will convey their conclusion to the Centre Director in writing.
Where the Centre’s proposed performance indicators for the following year are deemed insufficient, new performance indicators will be negotiated with the Centre Director
Where the Annual Report is deemed inadequate, and/or the Centre’s performance is deemed unsatisfactory, the Executive Dean will put the Centre Director on notice and, in the extreme, consider disestablishment of the Centre.

REVIEW
Centres may be reviewed at any time at the discretion of the Executive Dean. In all cases they must be reviewed every five years. Such a review will determine whether the Centre:
  • has continued to effectively and efficiently pursue its functions and goals (as measured by its established performance indicators outlined in the original proposal pr subsequent Annual Reports) during the period of review
  • has functions and goals that continue to be relevant, and therefore that the Centre has demonstrated a case for its continuation
  • has strategic and operational planning is in place for the subsequent period, including succession planning
  • does not replicate functions of existing Departments in the same or another Faculty.

The Executive Dean may, at their discretion, set up a panel to assist with such Reviews.

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Faculty Research Centre
Director

Reviews – Terms of Reference
The Terms of Reference for each Review instituted by an Executive Dean must include:
  • the activities of the Centre since its establishment or the last review, including a statement of income and expenditure, the extent to which the goals of the Centre have been achieved, and evaluation of performance based on the agreed indicators
  • the Centre’s strategic plan for the next five years, including contributions the Centre expects to make to the University, goals and performance indicators accessible to external review and an indication of the staff involved in the Centre’s activities
  • recommendations for the future management of the Centre, including nomination of a Director and the membership of the Centre’s Management/Advisory Committee.

Executive Dean

DISESTABLISH A FACULTY RESEARCH CENTRE
Where a Centre does not meet its declared objectives, or where the continued existence of a Centre no longer has relevance to the University, then disestablishment of the Centre is to be considered by the respective Executive Dean. 
As a minimum, Faculty Research Centres must justify their continuing existence on a regular basis (every five years).
The recommendation to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) for disestablishment of a Faculty Research Centre by an Executive Dean may be made at any time. Such a recommendation should follow the completion of the Review process outlined above.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

The authority to establish and disestablish a Faculty Research Centre rests with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), upon advice received form the respective Executive Dean.
Where an Executive Dean recommends disestablishment of a Faculty Research Centre, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) will consider the recommendation and, if in agreement, shall notify Academic Senate of the decision.

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Procedure Information

Contact OfficerDirector, Research and Research Training Services,
Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Date Approved27 November 2009
Approval AuthorityDeputy  Vice- Chancellor (Research)
Date of Commencement27 November 2009
Amendment Historyn/a
Date for Next ReviewNovember 2012
Related DocumentsFaculty Research Centres Policy / Guideline (see tabs above)
University Strategic Plans
Faculty Strategic Plans'
Organisational Unit Reviews Procedure
KeywordsFaculty Research Centre, Establish, Monitor, Review, Disestablish

GUIDELINE

Purpose

To provide additional information to that set out in the University’s Policy and its associated Procedure on the establishment and management of Faculty Research Centres.
Note: Faculty Research Centres are not separate budget units of the University unless specifically approved. Allocation of resources from the Faculty Funding Model (for example, from Commonwealth Infrastructure Block Grant allocations, such as IGS and RTS funding) are at the discretion of the Executive Dean. In addition, Centres are not usually treated as separate units for the purposes of student enrolment, whether undergraduate or postgraduate.

Guideline

ESTABLISHMENT OF A FACULTY RESEARCH CENTRE
A Faculty Research Centre may be established when its proposed program can demonstrate that it will have a recognisably separate structure within a Faculty or Department. That is to say, it has to add some thing to the existing academic structure rather than duplicate or partition off a special area of interest. For example, Centres may fall across traditional Faculty or Departmental boundaries and may be interdisciplinary - involving members of different Faculties or Departments. Where this is the case, one Faculty should take the lead and be responsible for Centre financial matters, while student enrolments will be handled via the normal departmental structure. In other cases Centres may have major interactions outside the University, where the focus is assisted by having a separate identity or where the grouping is better able to attract outside resources than traditional Faculties or Departments.
The objectives of the proposed Centre should be clearly specified in its Constitution and must be in accord with the University’s overall Mission and Goals (as expressed in the University’s Strategic Plans), and must also be demonstrably in accord with the objectives set out in the Strategic Plan(s) of the Faculty/Faculties involved.
More specifically, the following objectives of the Centre are to be addressed:
  • to focus the activities of its staff and students, and in so doing, use available infrastructure more efficiently
  • to foster collaborative efforts between individuals and research teams within and outside the Centre, and thereby establish and maintain regional, national, and international links with individuals and teams conducting activities in similar, or complementary fields
  • to promote and conduct activities which are demonstrably of the highest quality and excellence (e.g. where the activities involve research, the objectives must explain how they will enhance the University’s performance under the ERA or other national assessment process)
  • to enhance the Centre’s status by way of publications and to otherwise widely disseminate the outputs of the Centre within the confines of University Rules and Policies (e.g. the policies on protection of intellectual property and commercialisation)
  • to introduce strategies which will lead to high quality outcomes, especially those leading to income from external sources, and to undertake consulting, training and community activities on a sound financial basis to the benefit of the University
  • to engage in training (especially by way of supervision of Higher Degree Research (HDR) students), research end-user engagement and knowledge transfer, and where appropriate the commercialisation of outputs
  • to provide opportunities for the professional development of staff, particularly new and early career researchers, and
  • to provide a structure to facilitate the provision of formal courses and seminars, as appropriate.
PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
Each Faculty Research Centre is expected to identify performance indicators to measure progress of its activities towards its objectives. The indicators will vary according to the nature of the Centre, but will usually address some of the following items:
  • international and national collaboration and cooperative arrangements, including visits to overseas institutions, international conferences and exchange agreements
  • inter-institutional collaboration, and collaboration with industry, government agencies and the community generally
  • external financial support - e.g. award of National Competitive Grants, funding from the public/private sectors including contracts and/or consultancies
  • extent of contribution to the public good and/or to industry (“Impact”) – e.g. publications (including commissioned Reports), input into the development of social and/or economic policy, press coverage or other media exposure, and participation in public debate
  • development of academic impact (e.g. publications citations), and patents or other registrable intellectual property with the potential for commercialisation
  • quality education and training – including training of HDR students, HDR completions, workshops and short courses for academic, industrial and the wider communities
  • peer Recognition - in terms of award of prizes to Centre members, invitations to present keynote addresses at major forums, election to learned societies and academies, and other Esteem Factors
  • marketing of Centre activities - awareness of the Centre’s activities among industry and government and the community, media attention, participation in industry forums, and
  • leadership, management and effectiveness - financial management, people and skill development.

MANAGEMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Each Faculty Research Centre will have a Director (or Co-Directors), appointed by the Executive Dean of the respective Faculty (Faculties). The terms and membership of the Centre’s Advisory Committee and/or Management Committee will also be approved by the relevant Executive Dean(s). It would be expected that the respective Executive Dean(s) would be ex officio member(s) of such Centre Committees.

Centres with External Collaborative Partners
If a Faculty Research Centre involves one or more outside bodies, a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) should be signed by all participating agencies/institutions. Note that such MoUs must be signed on behalf of Macquarie by an officer of the University with formal delegated authority to do so (usually a Deputy-Vice-Chancellor) – other staff may not commit the University.
Accountability
For administrative purposes, Faculty Research Centres will be accountable to the relevant Executive Dean(s).
Financial Support
In terms of their operating budgets, Faculty Research Centres are not supposed to impose any additional financial burden on the Faculty that hosts it, or upon the University. Wherever Faculty Research Centres have significant research and/or administrative Centre costs, they are expected to attract a significant part of their operating budget from outside funding (e.g. from infrastructure costs components of grants or consulting activities). It is expected that a Faculty will take into account the component of the Faculty’s budget “earned” by a Centre (for example by way of income from Commonwealth research infrastructure Block Grants), and provide them funding for research infrastructure accordingly.
CENTRE MEMBERS
The members of a Centre are:
  • research and support staff who are recommended for appointment to a position in the Centre by the Director of the Centre and the appointment approved by the respective Executive Dean;
  • normally research staff appointed to the Centre would be expected to be research active and whose participation in the Centre would enhance the Centre’s research performance along the lines cited in these Guidelines (see: “Performance Indicators”);
  • persons from outside the University with appropriate expertise who accept the invitation of the Director of the Centre to become members (this includes Honorary staff approved by the Faculty).

Each Faculty Research Centre will normally have at least two full-time-equivalent (FTE) University staff members, exclusive of the nominated Director).

ANNUAL REPORTS
Each year, upon the Anniversary of its establishment, a Faculty Research Centre should provide an Annual Report to the Executive Dean for each calendar year of its existence. The format of such a report will be specified by the Dean. However, there should be three major sections to such reports:
  • general reference to the expected performance indicators for the year as expressed in the original proposal (first year) or the previous Annual Report (subsequent years)
  • report on actual performance against these indicators during the year including statistics on output trends, where appropriate
  • outline of performance indicators for the coming year
PUBLICITY AND IDENTIFICATION OF FACULTY RESEARCH CENTRES
Faculty Research Centres may develop distinctive letterhead incorporating the title of the Centre only after the Centre has been formally established and subject to continuing status as a Faculty Research Centre, but such letterhead must conform to the University’s Style Guide and incorporate the University’s logo.

Guideline Information

Contact OfficerDirector, Research and Research Training Services,
Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Date Approved27 November 2009
Approval AuthorityDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Date of Commencement27 November 2009
Amendment Historyn/a
Date for Next ReviewNovember 2012
Related DocumentsFaculty Research Centre Policy / Procedure (see tabs above)
Macquarie University Strategic Plans
Esteem Factors
KeywordsFaculty Research Centre – Establishment, Performance Indicators, Management, Accountability, Membership, Annual Reporting, Identification.
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