Institutional Priorities

Priorities

This plan was informed by and aligns with RRC Polytech’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026, In Front of What’s Ahead, and will guide our research activities during the next five years.

As a community, we look forward to working together to achieve the goals of this plan for the betterment of Manitoba and all Manitobans.

Priority One

To leverage strategic partnerships to deepen existing capacity and pursue emerging opportunities, we will:

Enhance and refine our existing applied research capabilities

Grow the applied research portfolio into new and emerging sectors in Manitoba

Engage a broader range of industry and other partners in research that supports Manitoba’s social and economic growth

This priority addresses the Strategic Plan commitment to Deepen partnerships to maximize prosperity across industry and community. RRC Polytech maintains an extensive capacity in current areas of research strength and expertise designed to support and grow community economic development and a strong track record of close business partnerships driving innovation. Our existing capacity is consistently recognized nationally and internationally for its excellence. Our suite of close relationships includes more than 600 applied partnerships with companies of all sizes, as well as community organizations. Each of these have resulted in new or improved products, processes, services and insights across our focus areas of strength.

We will support the growth of these partnerships through greater use of networking and awareness building business development. By providing support in awareness-building, easier access to our capabilities, for both industry partners and research-active faculty and students, is facilitated. We will achieve this by maintaining a thriving pipeline of proposals that draw on the established strengths of our research. These will build complementary research hubs across disciplines that fit with evolving external funding themes and opportunities for recruitment, and that have sufficient pull from industry and other sectors to ensure involvement of a broader user base.

To stay In Front of What’s Ahead, our applied research capacity must continually evolve as societal trends change and new emerging technologies impact local and global economies. Some of these fields of great importance to our region include the interface between agricultural technology and big data and the burgeoning biomanufacturing sector in Winnipeg. This growing sector has led to a position of national prominence, with Manitoba ranking second only to Ontario in the production of medicaments and pharmaceuticals. Part of the Research Plan is dedicated to exploring ways in which we can serve the applied research and training needs of these sectors.

Priority Two

To foster a culture of integrated applied research and academics, we will:

Create dynamic exchanges between applied research and academic curriculum for mutual benefit

Involve more students, faculty and staff in applied research

Build research relationships, processes and practices as guided by Indigenous methodologies and the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion

This priority addresses the strategic commitments to Transform our learning model to meet emerging needs and to Commit to Truth and Reconciliation (and) pursue equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do. Over the next five years, we will initiate interdisciplinary, knowledge exchange and engagement activities at the nexus of applied research and academic programs.

A major theme emerging from the consultations that built the foundation of the Research Plan was the need to foster a closer relationship between applied research and teaching. There was a unanimous perception that such integration is highly beneficial to students’ experiential learning and equally to staff engagement. Specifically, there is a lot of enthusiasm at the

College for undertaking a purposeful examination of the scholarship of teaching and learning as an extension of greater integration between teaching and research. By amplifying our endowed Research Chairs program at RRC Polytech, we will support building research networks with industry participation. This will involve faculty and staff, and will be in partnership with the academic schools and RRC Polytech’s Development department.

Complementing the need to amplify knowledge exchanges between our academic and research activities is the broadening of access to our applied research to a more diverse population of participants. This includes incorporating Indigenous knowledge, methodologies and worldviews, and working with Elders and Knowledge Keepers to embed Indigenous ways of knowing and doing into our applied research approach. This needs to be across all projects, not just those directly addressing Indigenous priorities.

An Indigenous research framework will be established by the ways in which our researchers interact with participants and stakeholders, similar to the methods used in community based research: equally involving all partners in the research process, recognizing the unique strengths that each brings and ensuring full, rather than token, representation via the practical implementation of OCAP® protocols.

Priority Three

To promote RRC Polytech’s research capacity to attract talent, partnerships and funding, we will:

Retain, develop and attract expert — and diverse — applied-research staff to build a leading-edge research ecosystem

Diversify funding sources and grow research revenue to ensure continuity of research operations

Deploy a comprehensive communications approach to ensure awareness of RRC Polytech’s applied research capabilities

This priority addresses all of the Strategic Plan commitments by promoting RRC Polytech as a diverse community of educators and researchers who, working together, achieve excellence in both academic and research domains for a local, national and global benefit. We aspire to attract students and staff from around the world by becoming a welcoming space where researchers of diverse identities, experiences and ideas can operate in a thriving, academically inspired research ecosystem. It is equally important that we build and deepen relationships with new and existing sources of funding, such as government bodies, industry and private donors to provide a more stable, diverse funding base for our research activities beyond the Tri-Agency funds we typically access.

Finally, we need to share our successes and achievements. A comprehensive awareness campaign, highlighting our research achievements and aspirations is essential to deliver on our Strategic Plan commitments. This will lay the groundwork for building a transparent, inclusive and accessible research ecosystem developed over the three horizons of:

  • Maintaining our current successes
  • Transforming our culture to better meet the changing needs of our stakeholders
  • Building and promoting our leading-edge research ecosystem to live our strategic commitments

To engage with this process, the RPI group has re-aligned into a new structure within RRC Polytech — the Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development portfolio. Within this new structure, RPI will expand its support of faculty from across our campuses to secure and administer research donations, grants, awards and industry contracts, and to meet their regulatory responsibilities in support of research. A database of new funding opportunities will be maintained and publicized to the RRC Polytech community and its partners, via events such as an applied research grant opportunities (ARGO) day. The RPI group will also ensure other needs are met, such as maintaining and preparing research statistics and reports to celebrate RRC Polytech research and creative accomplishments, and increasing awareness of our success stories. Aligning the Research Ethics Board of the College to the portfolio will enable direct oversight and governance of processing regulatory approval for human research ethics, an increasingly important activity in current society.

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