Hard to believe that my term as Vice-Dean, Research has come to an end; the last six years have been very rewarding. My mandate began with the establishment of our five faculty research themes. Anchoring our research and other faculty activities around these themes is now well entrenched. It is exciting to see how these have provided the backdrop to the many and varied activities of our researchers and research units.
A good example of the role played by these themes is the annual panel that we’ve organized over the past five years in collaboration with our Alumni Relations Office. This last year, the panel was in the theme of Health and Well-Being. In front of a full house, our panelists addressed many of the issues surrounding Death and Taxes.
We’ve also strived to produce the best in Social Science research in Canada; our Strategic Research Plan helps us focus our energies towards this goal. All of our activities have been articulated around the three pillars of this goal, namely to support, fund and promote our researchers. On the support front, we have established, among other things, workshops and other mechanisms to foster successful grant applications. I believe that this support is paying off: for instance, this year, the faculty achieved a success rate of 54% for SSHRC’s Insight grants and 43% for its Insight Development grants, substantially higher than the the 40% and 32%, respectively, national averages. We now write over 80 letters of support each year for various grant competitions; and we met regularly with researchers about managing their research trajectories.
Last year we directly financed 54 researchers in internal competitions; evidence suggests that this financing contributed both to increased quality and quantity of publications as well as improved external funding success. Finally, my office promotes research in a wide-variety of ways. In conjunction with our excellent faculty Marketing and Communications team, we ensure that successes are recognized and promoted on our screens, in our faculty bulletin, and that FSS researchers are regularly featured in university-wide outlets.
One of my greatest joys of being Vice-Dean, Research is that I have come to know so many colleagues across all of disciplines in the faculty. I can’t walk into the building without bumping into many familiar faces. To all of you I say thanks for allowing me to play a role in helping to develop and shape the research landscape of the faculty. I wish you all continued success.
I really have no words to express my gratitude to Sophie LeTouzé, our intrepid Senior Research Advisor, with whom I have worked closely since the beginning. She tirelessly works for the faculty. She has both guided me and followed me with a dedication that is rare to find. I know that she will continue in this vein for our new Vice-Dean, Research, John Sylvestre – but I highly doubt that they will have the same intensity of conversations about shoes!
For handling the thousands of transactions that pass through this office each year, thank you Madeleine, Sylvie and Ginette, you are my heroes. Last year, Annie Ménard took the reins from Marianne Saikaley who was being productive on the home front; thank you Annie for your spectacular contributions! Welcome back Marianne, you orchestrate the team with amazing efficiency and aplomb.
I will miss you all!