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Faculty Research Centres Guideline

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Guideline provides additional information to that set out in the University’s Faculty Research Centres Policy and Faculty Research Centres Procedure on the establishment and management of Faculty Research Centres.

(2) Note: Faculty Research Centres are not separate budget units of the University unless specifically approved. Allocation of resources from the Faculty Funding Model (for example, from Commonwealth Infrastructure Block Grant allocations, such as IGS and RTS funding) are at the discretion of the Executive Dean. In addition, Centres are not usually treated as separate units for the purposes of student enrolment, whether undergraduate or postgraduate.

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Section 2 - Policy

(3) Refer to the Faculty Research Centres Policy.

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Section 3 - Procedure

(4) Refer to the Faculty Research Centres Procedure.

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Section 4 - Guideline

Establishment of a Faculty Research Centre

(5) A Faculty Research Centre may be established when its proposed program can demonstrate that it will have a recognisably separate structure within a Faculty or Department. That is to say, it has to add some thing to the existing academic structure rather than duplicate or partition off a special area of interest. For example, Centres may fall across traditional Faculty or Departmental boundaries and may be interdisciplinary - involving members of different Faculties or Departments. Where this is the case, one Faculty should take the lead and be responsible for Centre financial matters, while student enrolments will be handled via the normal departmental structure. In other cases Centres may have major interactions outside the University, where the focus is assisted by having a separate identity or where the grouping is better able to attract outside resources than traditional Faculties or Departments.

(6) The objectives of the proposed Centre should be clearly specified in its Constitution and must be in accord with the University’s overall Mission and Goals (as expressed in the University’s Strategic Plans), and must also be demonstrably in accord with the objectives set out in the Strategic Plan(s) of the Faculty / Faculties involved.

(7) More specifically, the following objectives of the Centre are to be addressed:

  1. to focus the activities of its staff and students, and in so doing, use available infrastructure more efficiently;
  2. to foster collaborative efforts between individuals and research teams within and outside the Centre, and thereby establish and maintain regional, national, and international links with individuals and teams conducting activities in similar, or complementary fields;
  3. to promote and conduct activities which are demonstrably of the highest quality and excellence (e.g. where the activities involve research, the objectives must explain how they will enhance the University’s performance under the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) or other national assessment process);
  4. to enhance the Centre’s status by way of publications and to otherwise widely disseminate the outputs of the Centre within the confines of University Rules and Policies (e.g. the policies on protection of intellectual property and commercialisation);
  5. to introduce strategies which will lead to high quality outcomes, especially those leading to income from external sources, and to undertake consulting, training and community activities on a sound financial basis to the benefit of the University;
  6. to engage in training (especially by way of supervision of Higher Degree Research (HDR) students), research end-user engagement and knowledge transfer, and where appropriate the commercialisation of outputs;
  7. to provide opportunities for the professional development of staff, particularly new and early career researchers; and
  8. to provide a structure to facilitate the provision of formal courses and seminars, as appropriate.

Performance Indicators

(8) Each Faculty Research Centre is expected to identify performance indicators to measure progress of its activities towards its objectives. The indicators will vary according to the nature of the Centre, but will usually address some of the following items:

  1. international and national collaboration and cooperative arrangements, including visits to overseas institutions, international conferences and exchange agreements;
  2. inter-institutional collaboration, and collaboration with industry, government agencies and the community generally;
  3. external financial support e.g. award of National Competitive Grants, funding from the public / private sectors including contracts and / or consultancies;
  4. extent of contribution to the public good and / or to industry (“Impact”) e.g. publications (including commissioned Reports), input into the development of social and / or economic policy, press coverage or other media exposure, and participation in public debate;
  5. development of academic impact (e.g. publications citations), and patents or other registrable intellectual property with the potential for commercialisation;
  6. quality education and training – including training of HDR students, HDR completions, workshops and short courses for academic, industrial and the wider communities;
  7. peer Recognition - in terms of award of prizes to Centre members, invitations to present keynote addresses at major forums, election to learned societies and academies, and other Esteem Factors;
  8. marketing of Centre activities - awareness of the Centre’s activities among industry and government and the community, media attention, participation in industry forums; and
  9. leadership, management and effectiveness - financial management, people and skill development.

Management and Accountability

(9) Each Faculty Research Centre will have a Director (or Co-Directors), appointed by the Executive Dean of the respective Faculty (Faculties). The terms and membership of the Centre’s Advisory Committee and / or Management Committee will also be approved by the relevant Executive Dean(s). It would be expected that the respective Executive Dean(s) would be ex officio member(s) of such Centre Committees.

Centres with External Collaborative Partners

(10) If a Faculty Research Centre involves one or more outside bodies, a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) should be signed by all participating agencies / institutions. Note that such MoUs must be signed on behalf of Macquarie by an officer of the University with formal delegated authority to do so (usually a Deputy Vice-Chancellor) – other staff may not commit the University.


(11) For administrative purposes, Faculty Research Centres will be accountable to the relevant Executive Dean(s).

Financial Support

(12) In terms of their operating budgets, Faculty Research Centres are not supposed to impose any additional financial burden on the Faculty that hosts it, or upon the University. Wherever Faculty Research Centres have significant research and / or administrative Centre costs, they are expected to attract a significant part of their operating budget from outside funding (e.g. from infrastructure costs components of grants or consulting activities). It is expected that a Faculty will take into account the component of the Faculty’s budget “earned” by a Centre (for example by way of income from Commonwealth research infrastructure Block Grants), and provide them funding for research infrastructure accordingly.

Centre Members

(13) The members of a Centre are:

  1. research and support staff who are recommended for appointment to a position in the Centre by the Director of the Centre and the appointment approved by the respective Executive Dean;
  2. normally research staff appointed to the Centre would be expected to be Research Active and whose participation in the Centre would enhance the Centre’s research performance along the lines cited in these Guidelines (see: “Performance Indicators”); and
  3. persons from outside the University with appropriate expertise who accept the invitation of the Director of the Centre to become members (this includes Honorary staff approved by the Faculty).

(14) Each Faculty Research Centre will normally have at least two full-time-equivalent (FTE) University staff members, exclusive of the nominated Director).

Annual Reports

(15) Each year, upon the Anniversary of its establishment, a Faculty Research Centre should provide an Annual Report to the Executive Dean for each calendar year of its existence. The format of such a report will be specified by the Executive Dean. However, there should be three major sections to such reports:

  1. general reference to the expected performance indicators for the year as expressed in the original proposal (first year) or the previous Annual Report (subsequent years);
  2. report on actual performance against these indicators during the year including statistics on output trends, where appropriate; and
  3. outline of performance indicators for the coming year.

Publicity and Identification of Faculty Research Centres

(16) Faculty Research Centres may develop distinctive letterhead incorporating the title of the Centre only after the Centre has been formally established and subject to continuing status as a Faculty Research Centre, but such letterhead must conform to the University’s Style Guide and incorporate the University’s logo.