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University of Otago Research Centres Policy

Category Research
Type Policy
Approved by Council, 13 June 2006
Date Policy Took Effect 1 January 2007
Last Approved Revision 12 April 2016
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)
Responsible Officer Senior Research Analyst, Research and Enterprise
Review Date 12 April 2021

Purpose

The policy seeks to ensure that interdisciplinary research continues to be fostered and supported within the university to address broad, complex problems of national and international importance. Such interdisciplinary research will advance the University’s research culture and ethos and develop its national and international research profile.

Organisational Scope

This policy applies to University of Otago Research Centres established under the authority of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) on recommendation of the University of Otago Research Committee.

Definitions

University of Otago Research Centre

A University of Otago Research Centre is a research flagship for the University. By giving particular recognition and support, the University is signalling that a Research Centre will:

•    demonstrate national leadership and international recognition for excellence;
•    remain a major contributor to the field of research in the foreseeable future;
•    normally attract significant external research income.

University of Otago Research Institute

University of Otago Research Institute is a title for a University Research Centre that may be used only in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor on recommendation of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise).

A Cost Centre
is a part of the University to which costs may be charged for accounting purposes.

Policy Content

1.  Characteristics of a University of Otago Research Centre

(a)    A University of Otago Research Centre is a significant group of University scholars, with an integrated research platform or programme, who have already achieved international recognition for excellence in a particular area. The research platform or programme may address a set of problems, hypotheses or approaches that have major theoretical, empirical, social, or applied significance.

(b)    A Centre normally collaborates across disciplines and traditional departmental and/or divisional boundaries. It is engaged with external groups, such as government, industry, iwi/Māori, community, and has national and international collaborations. Recognition as a Centre signals the excellence and coherence of the research group and leverages support for the research conducted by the group.

(c)    A University of Otago Research Centre provides unique training opportunities for students, and may support coordination of activities not readily undertaken within the University's department and divisional structure.

(d)    While a University of Otago Centre may be awarded funding at a central level, the title of and recognition as a University of Otago Research Centre is not dependent on such funding.

(e)    A University of Otago Research Centre may, in exceptional circumstances, be designated as a University of Otago Research Institute. It will be approved as such only by the Vice-
 Chancellor on the recommendation of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise).

2.  Establishing (or Disestablishing) a Univesity of Otago Research Centre

(a)    Proposals to establish University of Otago Research Centres are invited from time to time by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise). The processes for application and assessment are detailed in the Procedures for Establishing University of Otago Research Centres.

(b)    University of Otago Research Centres will normally be hosted by a department or school. Administrative arrangements must be approved by the relevant Head(s) of Department or Dean of School and endorsed by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor(s) and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise).

(c)    University of Otago Research Centres will be established for up to five years. At the end of the period, Centres may re-apply to be University of Otago Research Centres provided that they meet any criteria as determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) on the advice of the University of Otago Research Committee.

(d)    Where a Centre has been disestablished, it may continue to be named as a University of Otago Research Centre for a period of up to two years.

3.   Management of University of Otago Research Centres

(a) Personnel

(i)    A University of Otago Research Centre is administered by a management group led by a Director who holds an appointment in an academic department. Appointment of a Director is approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) on recommendation of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor(s) and endorsed by the University of Otago Research Committee.

(ii)    The management group should be drawn predominantly from members who hold appointments in academic departments at the University of Otago.

(iii)    In addition to the Director and the management group, University of Otago Research Centres should have an Advisory Board that normally includes representatives from external organisations.

(iv)    University of Otago Research Centres are encouraged to include members such as from Crown Research Institutes, other universities, business, community groups, iwi or Māori organisations to facilitate collaborations and translational research opportunities.

(v)    Contributions from early-career researchers and research students should be encouraged through opportunities for research and, where appropriate, research management.

(b) Administration and Operations

(i)    University of Otago Research Centres are permitted to establish a separate research account, normally within a department or school for the purposes of budget administration and financial reporting. Although University of Otago Research Centres are not normally cost centres, they may be administered in the same way as major research programmes (eg HRC Programme Grants).

(ii)    Centre Directors and their departmental or school host will need to plan for the following:

a.    support for administration, research management, project management, financial administration/management;
b.    support for the development and review of strategic plans;
c.    partial FTE support for the director;
d.    support for external engagement and attracting external research funding;
e.    provision of adequate and appropriate space;
f.    training and career development for the director and staff.

(c) Relationships and Marketing

(i)    A University of Otago Research Centre will be identified as a research flagship for publication, public information and marketing purposes.

(ii)    University of Otago Research Centre website, marketing and promotional material should adhere to the University of Otago Brand Policy.

(iii)    University of Otago Research Centres may establish formal partnerships with other universities or institutions subject to agreement from all universities.

4.  Funding

(a)    It is expected that Heads of cost centres hosting University of Otago Research Centres and Centre Directors will have formal agreements about resource allocations to strategically support the activities of the Centre. Such agreements should be detailed in any application to be considered as a Centre.

(b)    University of Otago Research Centres are expected to become self-sustaining over time through external cost recovery and/or recognition of contributions to wider University activities.

(c)    Support for University of Otago Research Centre activities may also be provided centrally, and may include direct funding at a level to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise).

5.  Reporting

(a)   All University of Otago Research Centres will report annually to the Deputy Vice- Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) through the University of Otago Research Committee.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Contact for Further Information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the Secretary to the Research Committee, Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, email katharina.ruckstuhl@otago.ac.nz .