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1.0                Purpose and Scope

This Policy outlines the principles for the establishment, management and closure of Centres, Institutes and Research Networks.

The policy applies to new and established Institutes, Centres and Research Networks under the categories outlined in this Policy.

2.0                Principles and Key Requirements

The University establishes Institutes, Centres and Research Networks to create the critical mass and leadership to build capacity and capabilities across the University, and advance strategic priorities for the University.  They provide a readily identifiable face to external users, the means to raise profile and visibility of activities, and are an important mechanism to enable multi-disciplinary activities.

The University encourages all researchers to collaborate within Schools and Faculties, and across School and Faculty boundaries.  Institutes, Centres and Research Networks are required to formalise infrastructure and funding commitments, and to provide the accompanying management and governance arrangements for activities that cannot be delivered within existing structures.  Researchers may use names other than “Institute” and “Centre” to recognise and differentiate their collaborative efforts, including “Unit” or “Group”.

Institutes, Centres and Research Networks must:

  • provide added value to the University’s profile and performance in a manner that cannot be met through a business-as-usual approach within existing academic organisational units;

  • have a critical mass of activity;

  • be financially sustainable;

  • be fixed term requiring regular review and renewal.

3.0                Types

There are a number of types of Institutes, Centres and Research Networks.  The Procedures detail the establishment, management and closure of each type.

3.1                 Institutes

Institutes are prominent, large-scale, multi-disciplinary research structures, which may include multiple Centres.  They must have significant linkages with business/industry, government or other external organisations. It is envisaged that the University would have relatively few such entities.

3.2                 Centres

There are five distinct types of Centres.

3.2.1              Research Centres

A coalition of high quality researchers who intend to focus their activities on a specific area of at least national significance. Centres should involve strong partnerships with other universities, government, business/industry or publicly funded research organisations.

3.2.2              Academic Centres

Academic Centres are established as a focus for specialised types of academic activity.  Although certain types of research and development may be carried out in Academic Centres, research is a minor activity.  Academic Centres may facilitate the building of strong links between various external agencies and a number of academic (and in some cases administrative) elements within the University. The range of functions and possible forms of Academic Centres is intended to be wide. They may undertake multi-disciplinary teaching and/or community service activities that involve significant cooperation across School and/or Faculty boundaries. 

3.2.3              Central Research Platforms

Central Research Platforms house technology research platforms for use by internal and external users (including industry) to enable leading research.

3.2.4              Externally-funded Research Centres

Externally-funded Research Centres (or Nodes of Centres) are externally supported by a time-limited research grant and managed according to the rules of the major external funding body.  For an Externally-funded Research Centre to be established the University must be the administering agent (or node) for a single large external grant.

3.2.5              Affiliate Centres

Affiliate Centres are those where the University has agreed to recognise a joint mission with one or more organisations through a formal relationship.  The purpose and scope of activities involving affiliates may take a number of forms and these are defined through the terms of an Affiliate Agreement. Participation in Affiliate Centres requires careful evaluation of the associated benefits and risks.

The types of organisations may include hospitals, research organisations, industry, government and institutional partners.

3.3                 Research Networks

Research Networks are member based (at individual or organisational level) collaborative entities that build research capacity by connecting and involving persons/institutions in mutually beneficial research activities. Research Networks operate in a virtual fashion and will promote a breadth of multi-disciplinary collaboration, an external profile and linkages, and research endeavours that span organisational units. 

4.0                Establishment and Operation

Institutes, Centres and Research Networks must comply with the requirements for application and approval, governance, management, review and closure as outlined in the Procedure.

The naming of entities is independent of the type of entity and is at the discretion of the Approval Authority.

4.1              Transition Period

It is recognised that the University has existing Institutes and Centres at the date of approval of this Policy (6 September 2018) Extant Institutes and Centres.  At the implementation of this Policy all Extant Institutes and Centres will continue to exist and be governed as per existing arrangements until such time that they are considered by the Transition Period procedure.  The University will undertake a two year Transition Period that will include the consideration of each Extant Institute and Centre under the updated Policy.  Those that fail to meet the criteria will enter into the Notice Period, which will provide three years for the Extant Institute and Centre to take corrective action in order to satisfy the requirements of the Policy.

If there are any Extant Institutes and Centres that have not been considered at the end of the Transition Period they will be disestablished.

The Vice-Chancellor has ultimate discretion to determine how each Extant Institute and Centre will be treated.  The Vice-Chancellor must seek the approval of the Senate for the establishment, reclassification or closure of Institutes.

5.0                Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

5.1                 Senate

On the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellor, Senate is responsible for the approval, renaming or closure of Institutes.

5.2                 Vice-Chancellor

On the recommendation of the relevant Delegate, the Vice-Chancellor is responsible for:

  • Providing recommendations to the Senate on the establishment or closure of Institutes.

  • Approving the establishment of new Research Centres, Academic Centres and Affiliate Centres.

  • Approving the renaming or closure of existing Research Centres, Academic Centres and Affiliate Centres.

  • Approving the approach for Extant Institutes and Centres recommended during the Transition Period.

5.3                 Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research):

  • Is responsible for approving the establishment of Central Research Platforms, Externally-funded Research Centres, and Research Networks, and for monitoring their performance.  The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) must seek endorsement of the Vice-Chancellor if the establishment cannot be supported from existing budgetary sources.

  • Is the Delegate that provides recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor on the establishment of Institutes, Research Centres and Affiliate Centres that primarily focussed on research.

  • Is responsible for overseeing the Transition Period activities.

5.4                 Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is the Delegate that provides recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor on the establishment of Academic Centres and Affiliate Centres that are primarily focussed on teaching and learning.

5.5                 Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement)

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) is the Delegate that provides recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor on the establishment of Academic Centres and Affiliate Centres that are primarily focussed on non-research or non-teaching related engagement activities.

5.6                 Host 

The Host is responsible for ensuring the establishment of approved Institutes, Centres or Research Networks in the University’s systems and monitoring its performance as outlined in the Procedures.  They provide the oversight of the governance and management of the Institute, Centre or Research Network, as well as monitor performance against agreed Key Performance Indicators.

6.0                Monitoring, Review and Assurance

6.1                 Governance

Institutes, Centres and Research Networks are required to have a clear governance structure and reporting lines (Host) within the University, agreed upon at the time of establishment that enable monitoring of performance against approved Key Performance Indicators.

6.2                 Review and Assurance

Institutes, Centres and Research Networks are subject to a regular cycle of review as outlined in the Procedure.

7.0                Recording and Reporting

7.1                 Recording

Institutes, Centres and Research Networks must be listed in the University’s Register for Institutes, Centres and Research Networks in accordance with the Procedure. 

7.2                 Reports

Institutes, Centres and Research Networks must provide regular reports as detailed in the Procedure.

8.0                Appendix

Affiliate Agreement: formally describes the relationship between The University of Queensland and an independent legal entity as it pertains to the pursuit of research, educational or other activities undertaken for mutual benefit.

Approval Authority: The designated authority for approving changes to the University’s organisational structure.  Senate for Institutes. Vice-Chancellor for Research Centres, Academic Centres and Affiliate Centres.  Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) for Central Research Platforms, Externally-funded Research Centres and Research Networks.

Delegate: An officer of the University responsible for providing recommendations to the Approval Authority.

Designated Officer: An officer of the University designated as having responsibility for an organisational unit, and to whom the unit leader reports.

Extant Institutes and Centres: Institutes and Centres established prior to 6 September 2018 under the previous Policy framework.

Host: Is the Faculty, School, Institute or Central Portfolio responsible for the management of the Institute, Centre or Research Network.

Notice Period: A period of three years afforded to Extant Institutes and Centres that do not meet the criteria for existence under this policy to take corrective action in order to satisfy the requirements.

Proposal: The document that justifies the establishment of an Institute, Centre or Research Network.

Register: An official record of the established Institutes, Centres and Research Networks.

Transition Period: 6 September 2018 - 6 September 2020.

Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bronwyn Harch