RAC Terms of Reference

Mandate and purpose

The Research Advisory Council (RAC) is the primary advisory body to the Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation (VPRI) and is consulted on University-wide research related dossiers under the portfolio of research activities at McGill. Although RAC is not a formal sub-committee of the Academic Policy Committee (APC), it reports to APC on matters such as research policy and the creation of new research centres.

Chaired by the VPRI, members of RAC provide feedback, advice, and recommendations on strategic and operational dossiers including (but not limited to): development of policy and procedures; strategic research plans, Research Centres, major programs for research funding, and, processes for research administration.

Dossiers are presented to RAC members at various stages of development: early stage for open discussion, brainstorming, and collection of data; for review over several meetings in the case of draft documents requiring specific input; and consultation in the final phase to solicit a recommendation by RAC to submit for approval through standard McGill governance channels. Members are also encouraged and welcome to suggest any top of mind issues for discussion at meetings.

RAC is a valuable forum for information sharing with Faculties and senior administrators in other sectors of the university on the research agenda and upcoming activities.


RAC documentation

The Office of the VPRI prepares materials in advance, tracks agenda items, and reports on progress. Standard documents distributed at each meeting are:

  • Agenda and notes from previous meeting
  • VP-RI Report with highlights of the sector's activities since the last meeting
  • Update on major grant competitions - mainly large-scale networks and team grants which require strategic selection of applicants and financial support
  • Update of RI events


Frequency of meetings

The RAC meets four (4) times per academic year. Members may be consulted via email between meetings on matters that require a fast turnaround time.



Ex-officio Members

  • Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), Chair
  • Provost (or delegate)
  • Associate Vice-Principal(s) (Research and Innovation)
  • Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (or delegate)



  • One nominee from each of the Faculty Deans, usually Associate Dean (Research and/or Graduate Studies)
  • Directors of hospital research institutes (or delegates)
  • Five distinguished researchers, appointed for either a one- or two-year term
  • Two graduate student and one postdoctoral fellow, named by the Post-Graduate Students' Society (PGSS)