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Faculty Research Centres Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Procedure supplements the University’s Faculty Research Centres Policy and details the expectations of the University regarding the operation of such Centres.

(2) 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.

Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to:

  1. new groupings of researchers aspiring to Faculty Research Centre status; and
  2. staff in an existing Faculty Research Centre anticipating a scheduled review of its performance.
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Section 2 - Policy

(4) Refer to the Faculty Research Centres Policy.

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Section 3 - Procedure

Responsibilities and Required Actions

(5) This procedure requires actions by the following:

  1. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research);
  2. Executive Dean Faculty;
  3. Research Centre Director; and
  4. Researcher.

(6) This document details procedures for:

  1. establishing a Faculty Research Centre;
  2. reporting on performance;
  3. evaluating against performance indicators;
  4. formal review of Faculty Research Centres to ensure their objectives are being met; and
  5. a Faculty Research Centre’s disestablishment, where necessary.

Researcher

Establishing A Faculty Research Centre

(7) 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 signi´Čücant 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

(8) 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.

(9) The proposal must include the following information:

  1. the mission and objectives of the Centre;
  2. 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 (3) years;
  3. a Strategic Plan for the first five (5) 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;
  4. 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 (2) years;
  5. a proposed Centre Constitution;
  6. 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;
  7. 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 point (b), above);
  8. 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.

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

Executive Dean

Assess a Proposal

(11) The Executive Dean will assess all proposals for the establishment of a new Faculty Research Centre in accordance with the University’s Faculty Research Centres Policy and the Faculty’s Strategic Plans.

(12) 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

(13) 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.

(14) 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

(15) 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:

  1. progress against objectives and agreed performance indicators specified in the Centre’s Strategic Plan for the past year; and
  2. proposed activities for the coming year, and performance indicators for that year, amended as necessary.

Executive Dean

Evaluate Against Performance Indicators

(16) 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 Executive Dean will also assess the proposed performance indicators for the subsequent year.

(17) The Executive Dean will convey their conclusion to the Centre Director in writing.

(18) Where the Centre’s proposed performance indicators for the following year are deemed insufficient, new performance indicators will be negotiated with the Centre Director.

(19) 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

(20) Centres may be reviewed at any time at the discretion of the Executive Dean. In all cases they must be reviewed every five (5) years. Such a review will determine whether the Centre:

  1. has continued to effectively and efficiently pursue its functions and goals (as measured by its established performance indicators outlined in the original proposal or subsequent Annual Reports) during the period of review;
  2. has functions and goals that continue to be relevant, and therefore that the Centre has demonstrated a case for its continuation;
  3. has strategic and operational planning in place for the subsequent period, including succession planning; and
  4. does not replicate functions of existing Departments in the same or another Faculty.

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

Faculty Research Centre Director

Reviews – Terms of Reference

(22) The Terms of Reference for each Review instituted by an Executive Dean must include:

  1. 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;
  2. the Centre’s strategic plan for the next five (5) 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; and
  3. 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

(23) 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.

(24) As a minimum, Faculty Research Centres must justify their continuing existence on a regular basis (every five (5) years).

(25) 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)

(26) The authority to establish and disestablish a Faculty Research Centre rests with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), upon advice received from the respective Executive Dean.

(27) 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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Section 4 - Guidelines

(28) Refer to the Faculty Research Centres Guideline.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(29) Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. Definitions specific to this Procedure are contained in the accompanying Faculty Research Centres Policy.