CASE STUDY 4: St Lawrence College Applied Research Program
The St. Lawrence College Applied Research Program Review looked at St. Lawrence College’s approach to doing research of any type, by campus, by project type, and by research focus area; and adjunct value-add assets, including the Regional Alliance. The numerous processes for initiating research, managing projects, and closing projects were studied with respect to research focus areas, campuses, and the AR Office. Finally, the outcomes tracking methods and metrics were examined for the program.
A SWOT and Gap analyses revealed the current strength and weaknesses of St. Lawrence College’s Research Program and provided a set of Opportunities and Threats to consider; where the current management plan/approach needs improvement before it is ready to handle a larger volume of research activity paid for by larger grants. The gaps pointed towards the need for a new operational model that can deliver on the Five-Year Strategic Plan.
An important part of the Review Process was the involvement of many staff in the creation of a new Model for managing a growing portfolio of research.
The College has a growing history of research success that has built three distinct areas of expertise. These have been selected as the three main Research Themes for research at St. Lawrence College: 1) Sustainable Trades and Technology; 2) Behavioural Studies; 3) Healthcare. The Model provides a mechanism to grow capacity (people, resources, funding and prestige) within the three Research Themes.
A new model for SLC’s Research Program places the Applied Research Office at the center of the action. Their role is to balance the internal and external drivers to manage an increased flow of research activity at the College. They do this through stakeholder relationship management, externally and internally; and they keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening now and what will happen in the future for the benefit of each Research Theme area and the College as a whole.
Under the Applied Research Model developed in this project, the AR Office has six main functions, 1) Relationship Management; 2) Project Development; 3) Process Management; 4) Grant Management; 5) Information Management; and 6) Management of the Innovation Hub.
Some Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were proposed to help the AR Office perform their functions efficiently. These included: client intake; contracting (on-boarding); project development; research team development; project tracking; outcomes reporting; and Success Story creation.
The College’s Research Vision is to be closely associated with research, scholarship, and innovation by 2020. The vision is achievable because St. Lawrence College’s talent base is enthusiastic, strong, adaptive, and growing. The College has an excellent mix of knowledgeable and experienced faculty; keen students, supportive industry and community partners.
SLC will be working towards acting on the findings of the applied research review and implementing the new applied research management model in 2018/2019.
"You have been great to work with – quick, patient and pleasant – I couldn’t ask for better!"
- Robin Hicks, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science, St. Lawrence College