A look at UTM’s recently launched Strategic Framework 
Last month, the Office of the Vice-Principal for Research at UTM released a Research Strategic Framework, outlining U of T’s goals in maintaining and creating a “pipeline of talent.”

In October 2023, the Office of the Vice-Principal, Research (OVPR) launched its inaugural Strategic Framework. Developed between October 2022 and April 2023, the framework serves to support, promote, and inspire the research and scholarship of the UTM community.   

Over the past few years, funding for UTM’s research sector has increased in tandem with the growth of U of T faculty. Currently, UTM comprises more than 16,000 students and 1,200 faculty, librarians, and staff. 

The Research Strategic Framework benefits graduate and undergraduate students alike. The framework prioritizes interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research related to sustainability, providing undergraduates with real-world research opportunities.

According to the report, in 2022 alone, scholars were awarded over C$15 million in research funding, produced more than 550 journal articles and over 10 books, and received numerous local and national honours. In addition, U of T remains one of eight universities that rank top 25 globally in 34 fields of research. 

As outlined in the report, the research framework highlights “the need to empower research discovery and impact.” As U of T strives to uphold its reputable research sector, the OVPR remains committed to empowering its faculty and staff. 

The framework is built on five equally important pillars: strengthening capacity, equipping trainees, empowering people, cultivating partnerships, and sharing knowledge. To achieve its goals, the framework is focused on increasing external research funding by providing programs that allow for more grants and funding for new faculty in research or the teaching stream. 

With 13 Canada Research Chair holders, UTM hosts a wide range of research programs. The university is committed to empowering researchers through initiatives such as the Black Research Network, Critical Digital Humanities Initiative, Robotics Institute, Centre for Medicinal Chemistry, and Novo Nordisk Network for Healthy Populations

The university is confident that these investments coupled with the ongoing expansion of research infrastructure will further cement UTM’s position as a hub of innovation, breakthroughs, and meaningful societal impact.

Jennifer Hartman, from Issues Management and Media Relations at the Office of Communications at UTM, shared a statement in a brief email interview from a UTM spokesperson regarding the framework.

According to the statement, “One of the goals of the OVPR Strategic Framework is to create opportunities for students to gain research experience throughout the continuum of their time here at [UTM].”

The spokesperson continued to state, “On page 10 of the framework, you’ll see that students, and emerging researchers, are the focus of one of the five pillars upon which the framework is built.”

The framework outlines U of T’s goals in recruiting and retaining the next generation of researchers through expanding awards, exploring funding models, and strengthening engagement with various diverse programs.

“By increasing our recruitment of, and investment in, student researchers and emerging researchers at various stages of their training, UTM will grow its research capacity, retain promising researchers, and create a pipeline of talent,” stated UTM’s spokesperson.

Another goal of the framework is to foster a culture of inclusion, innovation, and collaboration by facilitating research support across all three campuses. The framework is not only built in the interest of researchers but students as well. UTM’s spokesperson shares how the report informs student experiences not only at UTM but all of U of T. 

“Students (undergraduate research students, summer students, work-study students, graduate students), have many opportunities to play an important contributing role in research endeavours, and this framework serves to focus and guide our research enterprise.”

The initiative to unite the Research Strategy Framework has garnered support from stakeholders, providing the university with increased resources and funding for various research endeavours. The report was guided by the OVPR Leadership team as well as 24 interviews that were conducted with multiple stakeholders.

However, the OVPR will not stop there. UTM’s spokesperson notes that “each year, the OVPR will review this strategy, assess priorities, and update the framework as required.” Further, “Research goals and outcomes will be tracked accordingly and incorporated into an annual research report.”

The spokesperson concludes the statement by highlighting how committed the OVPR will remain to “building bridges” with research partners across the university. “With planning for U of T’s 2024–2029 Institutional Strategic Research Plan underway, the OVPR is pleased to continue working with members of the tri-campus research community and contributing to the University’s strategic priorities.” 

Staff Writer (Volume 49); Associate News Editor (Volume 48)Razia Saleh is currently completing a Biology degree at UTM. She has been involved with The Medium since 2020 as a contributor and continued to write for The Medium as an Associate News Editor during Volume 48. She hopes that her experience as a writer with The Medium will help her contribute to society's efforts to provide authentic and factual journalistic media to educate her readers. She hopes to take her interest in ongoing research within the scientific field and explore ways to share it with others through this platform. In her spare time, she paints natural landscapes inspired by her travels and enjoy a few live concerts throughout the year. You can connect with her on Linkedin.


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