Centre for Research & Innovation Support (CRIS) and Call for Nominations for Academic Advisor (PDAD&C #65)

From: Professor Vivek Goel, Vice-President, Research & Innovation
Date: March 21, 2019
Re: Centre for Research & Innovation Support (CRIS) and Call for Nominations for Academic Advisor (PDAD&C #65)

Supporting the success of researchers is critical to garnering research funding in an increasingly competitive landscape and to ensuring this research generates the impact it deserves. This past academic year, we have been consulting with members of vice/associate dean/principal offices, as well as with faculty, librarians and staff, regarding how to best make visible and co-ordinate the supports that the Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI), and other central portfolios, offer to faculty members in support of their research and innovation endeavours. In an informal survey, we found that our division, along with the UofT Libraries and the Office of the Chief Information Officer, currently offer more than 140 courses, workshops, certificates, online modules and one-on-one services. However, identifying a path and navigating this rich ecosystem spread across multiple offices is a challenge for seasoned and new faculty alike.

I am pleased to let you know that we have received approval for the Centre for Research & Innovation Support (CRIS). CRIS will serve as a visible hub and tri-campus connector where faculty can learn about, and easily access the many existing services, training, research tools and expertise offered across the university. CRIS is intended to increase the effectiveness and visibility of research and innovation supports by collaborating with central units and academic divisions to identify gaps and develop services and resources for emerging needs and to ensure programming is current, complementary and supportive and, to provide centralized access / training for research and innovation information and analytics tools. By creating a one-stop resource hub, including a website and physical location at the Gerstein Library, CRIS will help support successful and competitive research that attracts funding and garners public recognition. Consultations with principals and deans have also indicated the importance of integrating support for mentorship and leadership of research initiatives, including how to build and navigate cross-disciplinary and cross-divisional collaborations.

A joint endeavour between VPRI, U of T Libraries (UTL) and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the centre will be integrated with existing services, creating a lean operational structure. CRIS will provide a common online registration process, and consolidated financial, HR and operational functions will be provided between the sponsoring portfolios. UTL has allocated space within the Gerstein Science Information Centre for office space, a meeting room, and a flexible teaching / training space.

CRIS leadership will report to the Vice-President, Research & Innovation, in collaboration with the Chief Librarian and CIO. An Academic Advisor, a U of T faculty member with demonstrated leadership in research and innovation, will be responsible for the overall mandate and strategic direction of the Centre, including connecting with senior academic administrators across the university. They will chair a CRIS Advisory Committee charged with informing on programmatic issues. They will be an effective mentor, coach, and communicator of the University’s commitment to research and innovation, with a vision for building capacity in leadership related to research and research impact. The Academic Advisor will also have strong collaborative skills in building partnerships and implementing projects university-wide. I look forward to receiving suggestions for individuals to consider for the role. Please send suggestions and comments to Helen Lasthiotakis, Executive Director, OVPRI at h.lasthiotakis@utoronto.ca / 416.978.6475.