By Neale McDevitt
Rosie Goldstein, VP (Research and International Relations), took her Town Hall show on the road last week, paying a visit to the Macdonald Campus on March 16 to meet and speak with members of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Goldstein kicked off the meeting by outlining some of the priorities of her office, including using research and international relations to enrich the undergrad experience; fostering mentorship programs among faculty members at different stages of their careers; increasing recognition for research and discovery both internally and externally; and supporting McGill researchers in “new and modern ways.”
“McGill brings in upward of $430 million a year in research money from a wide variety of public and private sponsors. So obviously, we’re doing something right” she told the audience. “There are always aspects we can improve and I see my office as a support unit that must seek to provide ‘painless’ support to researchers”
As was the case in Goldstein’s previous four Town Halls, the issue of funding was first and foremost on the minds of researchers. The question and answer portion of the discussion began with an interesting debate on the perception that funding agencies have shifted from supporting ‘research for knowledge’ to ‘research for development.’
Goldstein acknowledged that governments are paying particular attention to applied research – especially as it pertains to research development. But she also stressed that, despite this shift, McGill has to stick to its guns.
“We are very proud of our reputation as a leader in knowledge-based research,” she said. “Knowledge and basic science will always be the basis for development.
“We also have to pay attention to the fact that we’re being asked to look more and more at how we get to the application stage of that knowledge.”
Part of the answer is to develop new partnerships and strengthen existing ones with industry and community, because, as Goldstein pointed out, industry and our communities know exactly the applications they need and are willing to help fund the necessary research to develop those applications.
When asked how good a job McGill does at establishing these partnerships with industry, Goldstein pointed out that while there are excellent examples of corporate partnerships, more must be done to improve our local, national and global contacts. She noted that upcoming measures include building capacity for industrial relations, both in the central research office and in the faculties.
Rosie Goldstein’s next Town Hall in this series will be held today (March 24) from 3:30-5 p.m. at the McIntyre Medical Building, 3655 Sir William Osler, Rm. 1034.