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Governing Research Institutes and Centres Procedures

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Section 1 - Overview

(1) Research Institutes and Centres are established for defined periods to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. an enhanced research reputation of UNE and its academics in the wider community;
  2. delivering, where appropriate, on the UNE vision of research-informed teaching and learning, and
  3. maximising the amount of externally funded research conducted at UNE.

(2) All approved Research Institutes and Centres are expected to establish and maintain a current web presence with a link advised to Research Services.

(3) All Research Institutes and Centres, approved under the policy, are bound by the principles set out in the University's Knowledge Assets and Intellectual Property Policy.

Section 2 - Scope

(4) These procedures prescribe the establishment, administration, approval and review of research Institutes and Centres. Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) are not covered by these procedures as they are subject to different approval mechanisms under the auspices of the Commonwealth Government. For further information on CRCs, refer to the Office of the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Joint venture institutes, units and centres are also not covered by these procedures as their constitution and governance must be negotiated between UNE and the other joint venture partners. Such joint ventures would, however, have a formal reporting line to the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

Section 3 - Procedures

Proposals for Establishment

(5) Researchers may make application for the establishment of a Research Institute or Centre at any time by following the steps outlined below.

  1. Appendix 1 provides an outline of the format for a proposal to establish an Institute. The proposal must demonstrate the capacity to meet the criteria for an Institute within a nominated timeframe. Proposals should be forwarded to the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor who will forward the proposal to the Academic Board Research Committee for discussion prior to approval.
  2. Appendix 2 provides an outline of the format for a proposal to establish a Centre. The proposal must demonstrate the capacity to meet the criteria for a Centre within a nominated timeframe. Proposals should be forwarded to the relevant Head(s) of School. Once approved, the Head of School will advise the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
  3. Once a Research Institute or Centre has been approved, arrangements should be made to immediately establish and maintain a current web presence with a link advised to Research Services. This web presence will include, at a minimum, a description of the Research Institute's or Centre's purpose, its research goals and objectives, current projects, information regarding its Director and contact details.

Annual Interim Report

(6) Institutes and Centres will provide an annual interim report based on the template provided at Appendix 3. In the case of a Research Institute, this interim report will be submitted to the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. In the case of a Research Centre, this interim report will be submitted to the relevant Head of School with a copy to the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. The annual interim reports will be submitted in March of each year, and will address the entire preceding year's activities.

(7) The annual interim reports will provide a key component of the self-review document for the performance review of a Research Institute or Centre.

Performance Review

Institutes

(8) Institutes will be reviewed every three years, by a Review Committee established by the Academic Board Research Committee (ABRC). Six months' notice of a performance review will be provided to the Institute by the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. At that time, ABRC will constitute a Review Committee and clarify its terms of reference, after consultation with the Director of the Institute.

(9) The Review Committee will include:

  1. an external professor who has experience as a director of a research institute at another university;
  2. Research Director;
  3. two professors from within the University, nominated by the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

(10) The Director of the Institute will produce a self-review document to be considered by the Review Committee. This document will contain at least the following information:

  1. all annual interim reports since the time of last performance review or establishment, as appropriate;
  2. a summary of all achievements and financial position since the time of last performance review, or establishment, as appropriate, linked clearly to the performance KPIs;
  3. the plans for the Institute over the next three-year period, showing how this plan linked to the University's overall strategic plan.

(11) The Review Committee will report to the ABRC providing recommendations as to continuation, disestablishment or change of focus, informed by evidence of performance against nominated performance indicators prior to the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor making a decision.

Centres

(12) Centres will be reviewed within the review and reporting cycle for Schools under the Academic Quality Management Policy. The Review Committee will report to the Head of School providing recommendations as to continuation, disestablishment or change of focus, informed by evidence of performance against nominated performance indicators, prior to the Head of School making a decision and informing the ABRC and Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

(13) Where a Centre operates across Schools, the primary School of alignment for the Centre as well as the review cycle will be specified at the time of establishment by the relevant Head of School, but in no case will reviews be less frequent than every three years.

(14) For a review of a Centre, the minimum information to be considered will be all annual interim reports since the time of last performance review or establishment, as appropriate.

Section 4 - APPENDIX 1

Proforma: Proposal to Establish a Research Institute

(15) Those proposing to establish a Research Institute must read the Policy Governing Research Institutes and Centres and Procedures Governing Research Institutes and Centres and provide the following information.

Objectives

(16) This section should contain statements on the:

  1. strategic objectives of the Institute;
  2. relationships with the University's Strategic Plan and Research Plan;
  3. operational objectives, including the timescale for achieving these objectives and outcomes (milestones) of the Institute.
Nature of Work to be Undertaken

(17) This section should explain the major research, teaching, consultancy and community/industry/ profession-based service programs to be undertaken by the Institute.

(18) A performance plan should define key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets such as external grants, publications, higher research degree completions, and other income if appropriate. Non-quantified KPIs may include external relationships and partnerships, and reflections of research impact, including, for example, innovation adoption, policy influence, and community/industry/ profession development and change, where appropriate. This section should also argue for the desired weighting of key performance criteria given the objectives set out in the first section.

(19) Information should be provided on arrangements for the enrolment and supervision of students. (All students will be enrolled through Schools.)

Arrangements for Administration

(20) This section should contain the operational details of the Institute including:

  1. selection of the Director;
  2. the role and contribution of the Institute Director to the Institute;
  3. key academic staff — their reporting lines and their time commitment to proposed activities (including other commitments);
  4. organisational structure and governance considerations, and
  5. organisational links and support.

(21) Recommendations regarding the composition of any management committee or independent advisory board must be provided, but final approval of the composition will rest with the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

(22) Agreements with external parties must be approved by the UNE Legal Office, and signed by the University.

Required Resources

(23) This section should detail the resources required to operate the institute, such as:

  1. funding;
  2. space, and
  3. other specific resources (e.g. computing infrastructure).
Budget

(24) The budget should cover an establishment period and the first three years of operation of the Institute. The principles for the budget should be agreed with the Chief Financial Officer or their delegate.

(25) Where appropriate, the following resource management principles should be clearly documented, with assurances that all relevant stakeholders (including those external to the University) are in agreement:

  1. amount, source and duration of any University contribution to the Institute;
  2. cost/income splitting arrangements for research activities;
  3. cost/income splitting arrangements for teaching students;
  4. cost/income splitting arrangements for Institute staff and, in particular, the Institute Director, and
  5. the distribution of returns, including Research Block Funding, from activity, based on outputs.

Arrangements for Review and Termination

(26) A sunset period for the Institute should be specified (usually 5 years), at which time an independent review should be conducted prior to continuation or disestablishment of the Institute.

Support

(27) The proposal should be accompanied by letters of support from the relevant Heads of School and other stakeholders indicating the level of their commitment, financial or otherwise, to the proposed institute.

Section 5 - APPENDIX 2

Proforma: Proposal to Establish a Research Centre

(28) Those proposing to establish a Research Centre must read the Policy Governing Research Institutes and Centres and Procedures Governing Research Institutes and Centres and provide the following information.

Objectives

(29) This section should contain statements on the:

  1. strategic objectives of the Centre;
  2. relationships with the University's Strategic Plan, Research Plan and School research priorities;
  3. operational objectives, including the timescale for achieving these objectives and outcomes (milestones) of the Centre.
Nature of Work to be Undertaken

(30) This section should explain the major research, teaching, consultancy and community/industry/profession-based service programs to be undertaken by the Centre.

(31) A performance plan should define key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets such as external grants, publications, higher research degree completions, and other income if appropriate. Non-quantified KPIs may include external relationships and partnerships, and impact, including innovation adoption where appropriate. This section should also argue for the desired weighting of key performance criteria given the objectives set out in the first section.

(32) Information should be provided on arrangements for the enrolment and supervision of students. (All students will be enrolled through Schools.)

Arrangements for Administration

(33) This section should contain the operational details of the Centre including:

  1. selection of the Director and reporting lines;
  2. the role and contribution of the Centre Director to the Centre;
  3. key academic staff — their reporting lines and their time commitment to proposed activities (including commitments to other Schools/Centres);
  4. organisational structure and governance considerations, and
  5. organisational links and support.

(34) Agreements with external parties must be approved by the UNE Legal Office, and signed by the University.

Required Resources

(35) This section should detail the resources required to operate the Centre, such as:

  1. funding;
  2. space, and
  3. other specific resources (e.g. computing infrastructure).
Budget

(36) The budget should cover an establishment period and the first three years of operation of the Centre. The principles for the budget should be agreed with the UNE Chief Finance Officer or their delegate.

(37) Where appropriate, the following resource management principles should be clearly documented, with assurances that all relevant stakeholders (including those external to the University) are in agreement:

  1. amount, source and duration of any School contribution to the Centre;
  2. cost/income splitting arrangements for research students;
  3. cost/income splitting arrangements for teaching activities;
  4. cost/income splitting arrangements for Centre staff and, in particular, the Centre Director, and
  5. the distribution of returns, including Research Block Funding, from activity, based on outputs.
Arrangements for Review and Termination

(38) A sunset period for the Centre should be specified, at which time an independent review should be conducted prior to continuation of the Centre.

Support

(39) The proposal should be accompanied by letters of support from the relevant Head of School and, where appropriate, other stakeholders indicating the level of their commitment, financial or otherwise, to the proposed Centre.

Section 6 - Appendix 3

Annual Interim Reporting Template for Research Institutes/Centres (click here for template).