Unleashing McGill's Full Research Potential

Lead(s)

  • Martha Crago, Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation)

Description

Today’s research landscape is global, interdisciplinary, focused on excellence, and rooted in collaboration with partners of all types (including industry, non-profits, governments, and other universities). This priority area focuses on laying the foundation for McGill to excel in this increasingly competitive and challenging environment.


Long-term goals

  • Ensuring McGill remains one of the world’s top research-intensive universities
  • Extending the global impact of McGill’s research activities
  • Encouraging new and stronger partnerships
  • Delivering efficient support for researchers and quality research experiences for trainees
  • Tapping into, and contributing to, the worldwide pool of knowledge

Projects

  • Moving research administration closer to researchers
  • Facilitating large-scale grant applications
  • Increasing support and targeted seed funding for potential “breakthrough” research
  • Mobilizing research partnerships across the University
  • Supporting and optimizing research facilities

Key Milestones (updated December 2017)

Note: New updates and milestones appear in bold. Status updates will be posted twice a year.

Date Milestone status
Fall 2014

Complete development of toolkits and processes for applying to major grants programs like NCE, Genome Canada, and CFI.

Completed. Information on toolkits can be found here

Fall 2014

Launch Future Earth collaboration with other Montreal universities.

Completed. 

Fall 2014

Repurpose two existing positions within the Strategic Initiatives (SI) unit to focus support on large-scale grants. 

Completed. 

Fall 2014

Finalize reorganization of the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) Grants and Agreements unit into discipline-specific teams.

Completed. 

Fall 2014

Launch the Invention Development and Entrepreneurship Assistance (IDEA) unit.

Completed. 

Fall 2014

Redeploy IDEA Commercialization Officers into Faculties and affiliated hospitals to provide more front-line support for researchers.

Completed. 

Winter 2015

Launch University-wide consultation for Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) projects.

Completed. See below.

Winter 2015

Inaugurate the Institut Nordique du Québec, in partnership with Université Laval and INRS. 

Completed. Learn more about the INQ here

 

Winter 2015

Finish impact assessment of the 2012 seed funding pilot program.

Completed.
Winter 2015

Launch a new McGill Seed Fund 2.0 to support high-risk and interdisciplinary research.

Completed. Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives (HBHL) Neuro-Innovation Program launched. 

Spring-Summer 2015

Complete post-mortem of results from CFI Innovation Fund 2015 competition, led by Strategic Initiatives unit.

Completed. 

 

Fall 2015

Institute full staffing complement of Administration and Awards Management  team within the Office of Sponsored Research to oversee preparations for the Tri-Agency Monitoring Visit.

Completed.

 

 

Fall 2015

Continue to increase “Proximity Support” by moving research administration closer to where research is conducted.

Completed. 

Fall 2015

Promote McGill’s research strengths in the key strategic areas of neuroscience and green chemistry in the context of sustainability.

Completed.

Spring-Summer 2016

Complete mapping exercise of McGill’s research platforms and other shared research facilities and validate with Faculties and Departments.

Completed. 

 

Spring-Summer 2016

Formally launch the Office of Innovation and Partnerships as a single, one-stop shop for McGill innovation- and partnership-oriented services.

Completed.

 

Fall 2016

Continue to increase “Proximity Support” by moving research administration closer to where research is conducted.

In 2016-17, the Office of Sponsored Research organized approximately 40 information sessions related to research funding and grant writing. The sessions were often tailored to the needs of specific Departments or Faculties. Nearly 1,000 people attended in total.

Fifteen Grants Officers spend on average 25% of their time on site in the Faculties, representing the equivalent of four full-time employees.

Fall 2016

Launch the CFREF-funded Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives (HBHL) project.

Completed.

Fall 2016

Launch the Sustainability Sciences and Technologies Initiative (SSTI).

Completed.

Winter 2017

Strengthen McGill's support for Sustainability Sciences researchers as well as outreach related to the field through the INQ and Ouranos partnerships. 

The second edition of the INQ’s Northern Research Day will be held at McGill in January 2018.  

Winter 2017

Achieve strong results in round 9 of the Canada Foundation for Innovation's Innovation Fund competition (CFI-9).

McGill was awarded $76 million for six McGill-led projects and 11 partner-led projects. This represents a success rate of approximately 30%.
Fall 2017

Continue progress toward successfully resolving all findings from the 2016 Tri-Agency Monitoring Visit.

An update to the Audit Committee of the Board of Governors in May 2017 noted that additional internal processes are being put in place and that the University remains on schedule to resolve the Tri-Agency Monitoring findings by December 2018.

Fall 2017

Implement the Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives (HBHL) CFREF initiative to full operations and successfully administer first internal funding calls, respecting the timelines and targets to which we have committed.

Completed. A new HBHL website is expected to launch in winter 2018. 

Fall 2017

Collaborate with and support the leaders of the SSTI team as they connect interested McGill researchers, develop proposals to identify Grand Challenges, and support the development of a first series of SSTI projects.

Completed.

Fall 2017

Increase the success and public awareness of signature outreach events led by R&I.

Renowned philosopher and McGill Prof. Emeritus Charles Taylor delivered the 2017 Beatty Memorial Lecture to an audience of 600 people.

Winter 2017

Continue to increase “Proximity Support” by moving research administration closer to where research is conducted.

Finalize revisions to the Regulations on the Conduct of Research and ensure they are approved by Senate and the Board of Governors during the FY17-18 academic year.

Support Administration and Finance as it ensures that McGill is fully compliant with National Institutes of Health (NIH) audit requirements.

Strengthen front-line services for researchers even further by applying our “proximity support” model to other units within R&I and extending the presence of R&I staff into the Faculties and affiliated hospitals.

Winter 2018

Continue to build on recent best-in-class results in large-scale grant competitions.

McGill’s proposal to Competition 3 of the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) program was successful. The recruitment of a new “CERC in Genomic Medicine: Genes to drug targets for next-generation therapies” is underway.

McGill is recruiting candidates for its approved Canada 150 Research Chair proposals. Commitments are expected by the end of January 2018.

Caroline Palmer, Department of Psychology, received a $1.65 million research grant, to be distributed over six years, from NSERC’s Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) for her research and training program, “Complex Dynamics: Accelerating discoveries in brain and behavior.” Palmer is one of the few researchers to receive two CREATE training grants to date.

R&I aims to achieve strong results in upcoming large-scale grant competitions, including Networks of Centres of Excellence and Genome Canada competitions as well as in collaborative research programs, such as Industrial Research Chairs and partnership grants and contracts.

New Key Performance Indicators related to research funding have been developed and will be presented as part of the Report on Research and Innovation 2017 in January 2018.

R&I will implement a “road-mapping” process for developing large-scale projects in artificial intelligence, sustainability sciences, and other areas of strategic importance for the University. 

Winter 2018

Develop and adopt a University-wide, platform-focused business model, coupled with better support for planning and maintaining research tools and infrastructure, to optimize the use of available research assets over their lifetime.

Draft policy on the management of research assets is under review. Adoption of the new policy is expected by fall 2018. 

Winter – Summer 2018

Streamline, improve and increase communications related to R&I services for researchers.

A project to completely redesign R&I’s website – the main tool for achieving this milestone – is underway. The new website will be launched by fall 2018.

Summer – Fall 2018

Lead a comprehensive consultation process that will become the basis of McGill’s next Strategic Research Plan (SRP).

At its meeting of December 14, 2017, the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors, on the recommendation of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), endorsed the extension of the McGill Strategic Research Plan until December 31, 2018.

Planning for the consultation and drafting processes of a new SRP are underway. A priority is to obtain access to better research data, which will serve as a foundation for the document. 

Summer-Fall 2018

Continue to prioritize support for major national and international, nomination-based prizes and awards for McGill researchers, building on recent successes and the operational changes R&I has made over the past several years.

In 2017, McGill submitted 198 nominations for major prizes and awards, which resulted in 46 winners.

In the past two years, McGill has increased its portion of RSC Fellows per 100 faculty members from 10.1 in 2016 to 10.4 in 2017. In addition, between fall 2015 and fall 2017, McGill increased its share of RSC Fellows overall from 7.2% to 7.5%.