Establishing a Research or Education Unit, Centre or Institute Procedures


Application


This policy applies to staff proposing to establish a research unit, research centre, research institute, education centre or centre involved in operating facilities that provide research infrastructure, at the University.

 

Unless specified, centre in this policy refers to all these structures.

Purpose


These procedures seek to ensure that interdisciplinary research and education structures at the University are established in an appropriate and consistent manner.

Procedures


Proposal for the establishment of a unit or centre

 

1.     To establish a unit or centre, a formal proposal must be submitted to the relevant authority

2.     Proposals to establish department/school research units must be submitted to the Academic Head(s) of the department(s) or school(s). Such units are established or disestablished on the recommendation of the head of department or school, and with the approval of the Dean of the host faculty and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

3.     Establishment proposals for department/school research units must include:

  • Any academic and research aims of the group and the activities it will undertake, including any goals and targets
  • How the activities undertaken are likely to be greater than or different from the activity that would be undertaken by the individual members in the absence of the unit
  • Details of the management structure and staff involved, with their departmental/faculty affiliations
  • Any anticipated sources of revenue and how this will be managed.

4.     Proposals to establish faculty centres must be submitted to the dean(s) of the faculty(ies)

5.     Faculty centres are established/disestablished with the approval of Senate following a faculty recommendation through University of Auckland Research Committee (in the case of research centres) or Education Committee (in the case of education centres)

6.     Establishment proposals for faculty centres must include:

  • any academic and research aims of the group and the activities it will undertake, including any goals and targets
  • how the activities undertaken are likely to be multi-disciplinary and greater than or different from the activity that would be undertaken by the individual members in the absence of the centre;
  • how the activities that will be undertaken are of a nature and scale that are likely to substantially contribute to the achievement of the University’s strategic goals, e.g. contribution to the University’s reputation, research profile, or revenue of a sufficient scale:
    • details of the management structure and staff involved, with their department/school and faculty/LSRI affiliations
    • details on the proposed governance structure, if there is to be an oversight board and/or an expert advisory board
    • any anticipated sources of revenue and how they will be managed
    • details of consultation with stakeholders, and anticipated linkages with domestic and international research, business and government groups
    • details of any anticipated support requirements of the centre, including support staff, space, equipment, facilities, and involvement of UniServices where relevant
    • if external parties are involved in the centre, details of the treatment of intellectual property and protection of the right to publish, particularly for students

7.    Before a centre is formally established, the dean(s) of the host faculty/ies must be satisfied with agreements reached between the relevant departments, schools, faculties, LSRIs, UniServices (if appropriate), and any external parties (if appropriate) on resource issues including but not limited to those of the following that apply:

  • Cost/revenue sharing arrangements for the centre director and staff (including support staff); research students; overheads and provision of infrastructure;
  • Distribution of any surplus returns from activity;
  • Funding for student supervision and teaching activities (based on EFTS transfers if appropriate);
  • Any required space, equipment and facilities

8.      Where relevant, memoranda of understanding or deeds of agreement with external bodies will be developed

9.      Proposals to establish University centres must be submitted to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) via the dean of the host faculty (or equivalent). University centres are established/disestablished with the approval of Senate and Council following a faculty recommendation through University of Auckland Research Committee (in the case of research centres) or Education Committee (in the case of education centres)

10. Proposals for University centres must include all information as for faculty centres and also demonstrate how the centre meets the characteristics of a University centre listed in the definitions section of this document

11. In addition, proposals will include information regarding:

  • the level of support to be provided by the faculty/ies and UniServices;
  • how the centre will contribute to the objectives in the University’s Strategic Plan

12.   The term “institute” is only to be used in the names of centres in exceptional circumstances, with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor.  Key criteria are that the centre must:

  • be classified as a University centre; and
  • have strong alignment with the University’s strategic goals; and
  • have the ability to show international participation and significant financial activity

It is envisaged that the University will have relatively few institutes and that use of the term signals a major strategic focus of the University

Definitions


The following definitions apply to this policy:

 

Advisory Board means an organised body appointed to provide advice and direction to the Director of a research centre. The different types of Advisory Boards are:

  • Oversight Boards; organised bodies appointed to provide advice and direction to the Director of a research centre under delegated authority from the dean/VC, e.g. Governance Boards, steering groups.
  • Expert Advisory Boards; organised bodies appointed to provide expert advice about research direction and strategy e.g. scientific advisory boards, industry advisory boards.

 

Centre(s) means a group of academic staff with a commitment to undertake activity that is greater than or different from the activity that would be undertaken by the individual members in the absence of the centre. Centres will usually have research as their main focus.  However, some may be education centres and some may be involved in operating facilities that provide research infrastructure. A centre has a formal management and reporting structure, a number of staff (critical mass) and preferably a group of research students whose work is part of the centre. “Centre” status does not imply permanency of structure in the same way that department or school status does. Centres provide a flexible structure that facilitates an appropriate level of interactions with a range of stakeholders. The following categories of centre exist:

  • department/school research unit
  • faculty research or education centres
  • University research or education centres

Some centres are also called “institutes”.

For the purposes of this policy, the term “research centre” specifically excludes Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs), Large Scale Research Institutes (LSRIs) and National Science Challenges (NSCs).

 

Department/school research unit means a centre that undertakes research activities that are:

  • greater than or different from the activity that would be undertaken by the individual members in the absence of the unit; and
  • of a nature and scale that will make a relatively small contribution to the achievement of the University’s strategic goals

The term “unit” in this policy refers to such research units and not to “academic units”, which are referred to in this policy as “departments” and “schools”.

 

EFTS means equivalent full- time student

 

Faculty centre means a centre that undertakes research or teaching-related activities that are:

  • greater than or different from the activity that would be undertaken by the individual members in the absence of the centre and
  • of a nature and scale that will substantially contribute to the achievement of the University’s strategic goals, eg, contribution to the University’s reputation, research profile, or revenue of a sufficient scale and
  • multi-disciplinary

AND which may have the following characteristics:

  • employs a small core of dedicated support staff, including a part-time or full-time director
  • receives support from the relevant faculties and UniServices where appropriate, given the nature of the research undertaken

 

Institute is a title for a University centre that may only be used in exceptional circumstances, with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor

 

LSRI means large scale research institutes

 

University centre means a centre that undertakes research or teaching-related activities that are:

  • greater than or different from the activity that would be undertaken by the individual members in the absence of the centre and
  • of a nature and scale that will substantially contribute to the achievement of the University’s strategic goals, e.g. contribution to the University’s reputation, research profile, or revenue of a sufficient scale and
  • multi-disciplinary

AND which has the following characteristics:

  • scope and scale of activity similar to that of a department/school
  • international recognition (eg, attraction of researchers, students and visitors from overseas)
  • extensive links with external research, business and government groups
  • revenue from a variety of sources
  • a fully committed Director and relevant administrative support
  • support from the relevant faculties and UniServices where appropriate, given the nature of the research undertaken

 

University means the University of Auckland including all subsidiaries

Document management and control


Content manager: Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Owned by: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Approval Date: February 2015

Review Date: February 2018