Research structures policy

Policy

Intent and objectives

To outline the RMIT research framework, which encompasses individual academics, Research Groups, Research Centres, and Research Institutes.

Objectives

To optimise and support RMIT’s key research objectives through the identification and establishment of structured Research ‘Groups’, ‘Centres’, and ‘Institutes’ designed to:

  • develop focussed areas of excellence in research and scholarship;
  • support the development and maintenance of a high quality, collaborative research environment;
  • undertake outcome-related research and development in RMIT’s areas of specialisation that reflect and sustain our global engagement with industries and communities;
  • support innovation that will underpin future economic, environmental and social development in communities in which we operate;
  • enhance and support research training and encourage the involvement of Higher Degrees by Research students in all research structures;
  • undertake high quality research to underpin and strengthen RMIT’s academic programs;
  • provide opportunities and support for Higher Degrees by Research students and Early Career Researchers to produce high quality research outcomes, to develop their research track records and build successful research careers;
  • enhance opportunities to gain substantial external funding for focussed research activity; and
  • ensure research at RMIT is valued by clients through the delivery of useful, timely, and cost effective research outcomes that are characterised by excellence

Scope

This policy applies to RMIT’s internal research structures, with particular emphasis on Research Groups, Research Centres, and Research Institutes. Facilitate recognition of RMIT’s areas of research expertise and excellence.

Exclusions

Cooperative Research Centres; Centres of Excellence; Research Centres that are wholly externally funded or are a separate legal entity.

Policy provisions

RMIT’s research structures engage academics at all levels; from individuals working on discrete projects, through to cross-disciplinary teams undertaking a program of research around a particular theme.

RMIT University recognises four levels of internal research activity which, in order of increasing size and complexity, comprise:

1. Individual academics

While it is not a requirement that every academic at RMIT belong to a Research Group, Research Centre, or Research Institute, it is expected that, in conjunction with teaching and leadership responsibilities, all academic staff will undertake research activities, the nature of which should be discussed and agreed as part of the Work Plan process.

2. Research groups

Research Groups are located in Schools and undertake research normally focussed in a disciplinary area. Although a Research Group typically involves academic staff from within a particular School, a Research Group may include members from other Schools (see RMIT Research Structures Establishment Guidelines and Establishment of Research Groups Procedure).

3. Research centres

Research Centres are located in Schools and/or Colleges and are recognised by their ability to undertake high impact research that has national recognition. A Research Centre may include members from multiple Schools who work in the same disciplinary field (see RMIT Research Structures Establishment Guidelines and Establishment of Research Centres Procedure).

Externally funded Research Centres automatically gain RMIT ‘Research Centre’ status and can promote their research activities to internal and external audiences. However the Establishment of Research Centres Procedure does not apply to Research Centres that are wholly externally funded or are a separate legal entity and whose planning, reporting and review will be undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the funding body. Processes for the establishment and monitoring of such Centres will be managed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and Vice President.

4. Research institutes

Research Institutes are University-level entities that bring together multidisciplinary teams of academics to undertake high-impact industry-focussed research to solve complex research questions of national and global significance (see RMIT Research Structures Establishment Guidelines and Establishment of Research Institutes Procedure).

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