March 28, 2017
Funds from the Indirect Cost Program (ICP) were towards the creation of five new research labs, and to refurbish an existing lab. The new labs are connected with research on forest ecosystems, immune responses to virus infections, aquatic toxicology, biosynthesis, and wetland plant ecology. Refurbishing an existing lab related to structure function characterization of proteins has facilitated clustering of researchers with similar interests, to better promote research partnerships. Research labs are vital to our natural scientists, allowing for analysis of field research activities and controlled experimentation. Having these labs will provide valuable training opportunities for students at all levels. The ICP grant has enabled us to attract and retain exceptional researchers and students because of increased physical capacity.
The Indirect Cost Program grant is invaluable for providing operating costs such as utilities and custodial services. As research space expands, and costs of labour increase, the grant helps ensure that research facilities are adequately maintained, especially given the higher cost of maintaining research space.
The grant also provided support for the research technician in the Department of Psychology. The Psychology IT research technician provides hardware and software computer support to researchers in Psychology. He provides (builds) hardware computer interfaces for researchers and services the specialized software that is necessary to run experiments in all areas of Psychology. He maintains the departmental servers that support the human research that is part of the Psychology first year courses (the PREP system). Without this support, it would be very difficult for Psychology faculty to conduct their research.
The Indirect Costs grant enabled us to add considerably to online resources. Some examples are:
The examples above show how the Indirect Cost grant has allowed Laurier to be responsive to the needs of researchers, allowing the collection to grow as research areas change or expand.
The Indirect Cost grant also supports staff salaries, custodian and utility costs related to the library, as well as maintenance of web or online access to holdings.
The Office of Research Services expanded in 2012/13, largely because of funds available through the Indirect Cost Program (ICP) grant. A research facilitator (natural sciences) was hired to work directly with NSERC eligible faculty on their grant applications. As a result, we saw an increase in the percentage of grants awarded to individuals who were previously unfunded. The additional support we were able to provide has made a huge difference to faculty who will now be able to support and train highly qualified personnel in their labs.
Because of the Indirect Cost grant we were able to hire a facilitator for our Brantford campus. Prior to this position, faculty were served remotely from our central office in Waterloo. Having a dedicated person on site in Brantford will increase the quantity and quality of applications from our researchers there.
New this year also is our knowledge mobilization officer position. The incumbent performs a number of roles, from working with faculty members and community organizations to develop community-based research proposals to promoting research results through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media tools. She also assists with the knowledge mobilization plans on all relevant grant applications, thus ensuring our researchers understand the importance of reaching out to stakeholders. In January, 2013, Laurier applied to become part of ResearchImpact, a network of universities dedicated to knowledge mobilization activities. Our application was successful, largely because of the investment we made in this position. Membership in ResearchImpact will allow us to extend the reach of our research as well as contribute to best practices models for the knowledge mobilization community. The ICP is directly responsible for the addition of this position.
A new manager, research finance, was hired to ensure financial administration of federal funds conforms to all relevant guidelines.
The research communications officer works closely with the office of Communications, Public Affairs and Marketing to promote both successful awards and results of research. This allows us to highlight the councils' investment in research through digital and print media.
In sum, without the Indirect Cost program, we would not be able to provide the comprehensive set of support to researchers that is currently available. This would have a negative impact on the ability of faculty to attract funding to support research expenses such as training of HQP.
The major cost driver in this area is personnel. At Laurier, three individuals work in the area of research compliance overseeing research with humans and animals.
The research compliance officer ensures that all research at Laurier is conducted in accordance with Tri-Council guidelines. He provides direct support to the Research Ethics Board (REB) and liaises with the Biosafety Committee to ensure certifications are in place before funds are released. In previous years, part of the incumbent's duties included research grant application support. Thanks to the Indirect Cost program, we were able to dedicate his job full-time to compliance, as necessitated by the increased number of ethics applications. Without this change, research would have been held up while waiting for REB review and approval.
The Indirect Cost grant also helps to support the salary of the ethics coordinator in the Department of Psychology who assists with all human ethics applications from that department. This position helps insure that research in psychology is in compliance with both the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS) and research standards in the various streams of psychology.
The last Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) assessment required us to hire specific support for the Animal Care Committee (ACC) rather than have current animal facility staff play that role. Because of the Indirect Cost grant, we were able to hire a part-time administrator to perform all clerical and administrative tasks related to the running of the ACC. The incumbent is also back-up for the research compliance officer.
In addition, the Indirect Costs grant helps pay annual maintenance on the electronic database used to facilitate review and approval of REB projects. We have just finished implementing an on-line portal that will allow faculty and students to submit their applications via the internet. Features within the database will facilitate annual reviews, modification requests, and timely closure of files.
Finally, the Indirect Costs grants helps offset the cost of animal facilities staff.
The Indirect Costs grant allowed us to expand our ability to link researchers with industry by hiring a second university-industry liaison officer (UILO). Both officers work with faculty on industrial partners and commercialization of results. Because of this increased capacity, we were able to partner with Green Centre Canada on a "green" catalyst.
Both our UILOs work with local business development organizations and industry groups. Having Laurier representatives play a bridging role between industry and faculty members is vital to creating partnerships with the private sector.
The UILOs are supported by many individuals in the Office of Research Services. The vice-president: research and director, research services provided guidance and advice to the UILOs as difficult cases arose. In addition, the research facilitators work closely with the UILOs on all industry-related grant applications, while the communications officer provides support for publicity materials for outreach events. Industry related funding is also supported and monitored by the research finance team. Centrally, support and advice is provided by the university’s general counsel on intellectual property agreements and interpretation of the various collective agreements in place on campus.
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