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Enhancing our Research Enterprise

Measuring for Success

It is critically important that we monitor our progress as we work to build on our world-leading research enterprise. Resting on our laurels is not an option if we are to retain—indeed, increase—our status in the global rankings. Simply put, we need to be at the top of our game. Ensuring that we perform at our best will require effective and reliable methods by which we can measure ourselves against against our peers.

We will develop a series of metrics to allow us to extract relevant and useful data about our research progress, compare ourselves to peer institutions, and evaluate the results of our efforts by department, faculty, and at an institutional level. For some research areas, these metrics will include information on citation rates, external funding, and research awards. However, such metrics do not necessarily provide an accurate representation of research excellence in other areas and McMaster recognizes that some areas of research are difficult to evaluate in quantitative terms. This is particularly so in cases where the impact of the research is felt most strongly in communities, related policy changes, and works of art.

One approach to monitoring progress that cuts across all areas of research is a system of self studies and regular external reviews. By periodically requiring a self study, the directors of institutes and centres, chairs of departments, and deans of Faculties will need to evaluate the research programs within their own area of study and have their studies reviewed by external, high quality reviewers, who have a strong sense of the relevant disciplines around the world.

The Provost and Vice-President, Research, will review each Faculty’s progress on a regular basis and, where warranted, approach deans for plans on how they will work to improve their Faculty’s research programs.