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Board Receives Research Report

From the Board of Governor's meeting - Friday, March 26, 2004


Annual Research Report

Chris Metcalfe, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, presented a summary report on research performance at Trent University.

The report noted that research grants to the University have doubled in the last five years with total research funding topping $10 million and confirmed that Trent has shown the second highest rate of growth among all Canadian universities, surpassed only by a group of research institutes in Quebec. This past year, Trent was ranked the number one research university among primarily undergraduate universities in Canada by Research Infosource Inc. published in the National Post.

Recently, Trent was approved for infrastructure development funding in the fourth CFI Innovation competition. These funds will be used to increase Trent's capacity for research and development in the areas of DNA profiling, forensics and genomics research.

Trent's successful performance in the Canada Research Chairs program continues. Trent is allocating its quota of Canada Research Chairs to support its strategic areas of research. The Canada Research Chairs at Trent have contributed to the development of the University's strategic areas of research and the chair holders have participated in the training of graduate students.

Trent's intensive research track record is supported by external funding for the indirect costs of research. In 2000, the provincial government introduced the 'Research Performance Fund' of $25 million to compensate Ontario universities for the indirect costs of provincial research projects. In 2001-02, the federal government provided $200 million on a one-time basis to compensate Canadian universities for the indirect costs of research; Trent's share of this support amounted to $901,000. The 2003 federal budget pledged support for indirect costs of research (ICOR) at Canadian universities as a base program of $225 million per year for three years. Trent's ICOR funding has grown from $997,000 in 2003-04 to $1,087,000, a reflection of Trent's success in attracting research funding over a rolling three-year period.

In response to federal and provincial governments' growing expectations for the commercialization of university research, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies at Trent has developed policies and procedures for the management of intellectual property. Initiatives such as the Peterborough DNA Cluster will offer an excellent opportunity for Trent faculty and graduate students to participate in technology transfer and the commercialization of research. Trent is currently involved in multi-partner negotiations with the newly incorporated Peterborough DNA Cluster Corporation to develop policies and procedures for commercializing technologies and other intellectual property related to DNA profiling and forensics. The recent approval of a large Canada Foundation for Innovation grant to provide infrastructure for Trent researchers involved in applied research in DNA profiling and forensics will provide a major boost to plans to develop an Research and Development building.

The university sector continues to lobby the provincial government to renew its investments in the Ontario Innovation Trust, a granting agency that provides matching funding for federal CFI grants.

Operating Budget Assumptions

Garth Brownscombe, Acting Vice President (Administration) presented the draft budget assumptions to the Board.

Strategic Plan Update

Susan Clark, Vice-President (Academic), presented to the Board the proposed University Strategic Directions 2003-2010 document. She noted that the document reflects input from a wide range of stakeholders throughout the University community and has been supported in principle by Senate.

She emphasized that the section of the plan devoted to Colleges will be discussed in the fall as there exist different interpretations about expectations for Colleges at Trent.

The plan addresses the environment for universities in Ontario, Trent's mission, a vision for the next decade, strategies for a preferred future, the Colleges, administrative alignment and resource implications. The plan was approved by the Board with the Colleges section to come back to the Board at a future date.

President's Remarks

In her report to the Board, President Patterson highlighted the accomplishments celebrated at Trent's 35th annual Athletic Awards banquet ceremony and paid tribute to the athletes, coaches, volunteers and athletics staff who contribute to the intramural and team sports offered at the University.

Highlights of the recent federal budget were noted including changes to student assistance programs, a return to more grants for low and middle income families and changes to the student loan program. The budget included $90 million in new funding for the three federal research granting agencies, $20 million in funding for the Indirect Cost of Research program, and $270 million to provide access to venture capital to assist organizations to transfer knowledge into products and services. The president reported that the national Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada recruited Claire Morris as its new president. Morris comes to the AUCC from her previous role as deputy minister of Intergovernmental Affairs within the Privy Council office.

The University participated in the provincial standing committee on economic affairs that held a public input hearing in Peterborough. Other activities have included recent visits to the campus by Kathleen Wynne, the Parliamentary Assistant to Anne Chambers, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and a visit by Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Victoria-Brock.

The president drew attention to the current issue of University Affairs which profiles Prof. David Poole, Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning and author of the textbook "Linear Algebra: A Modern Introduction." Poole appears on the cover of the magazine and is quoted in the article "Foot soldiers of the scholarly press," a cover story featuring the experiences of professors who have written textbooks.

The Board was informed that planning for Trent's 40th anniversary is well under way. The Queen's-Trent Concurrent Students' Association recently hosted the Janusz Korczak photo exhibit organized by the Regional Jewish Communities of Ontario and the Canadian Jewish Congress. Two successful open houses were held last week with over 1,500 participants. The president thanked all of the Trent students, staff and faculty who participated in the information sessions.


For further information, please contact:

Don Cumming, Senior Director, Public Affairs, (705) 748-1011, ext. 1224


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Last Updated March 26, 2004