Research - McGill University

Current issues
Relationship with teaching
Relationship with practice
Critical mass requirements in relation to faculty
 Interdisciplinary and team focus
 Research support: funding, logistics & recognition
• What are the funding sources
 Improving research productivity - R3 (revitalizing
renowned research?)
 What is the business model for research?
 Time frame: next 12 months
 Time frame: 3 years out
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research – current issues - 1
 Many active researchers but often working in
 Area-based individual researchers often lack
recognition within Faculty and University, except
for “stars”
 Consortia research has led to links across university
 Average research productivity perceived to be low
 Research support from Faculty viewed as
 Faculty research grant “gamesmanship skills” need
upgrading to fit McGill research “business model”
 “Knowledge Management” of research activity
missing--If only we knew what we know and do
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research – current issues - 2
 Many active researchers but often working in isolation
• “Rugged individualism” as prevalent model
• Some team research
• Areas: management science, finance, and strategy (sometimes)
• Consortia:
– health management (diversified funding from main granting
– social innovation (non-traditional funding from firms &
 Area-based individual researchers often lack recognition
within Faculty and University, except for “stars”
 Consortia research has led to links across university:
• Health management – faculty of medicine
• Social innovation – school of environment, geography
 Hiring may be targeted to build research team critical
mass rather than main emphasis on teaching needs
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research – current issues - 3
 Average research productivity perceived to be low
• McGill ranked 7th in published papers per capita in 1990-1999 and in
citations per capita in U. of Alberta study, (Erkut Can. J. of Admin.
Sciences 2002)
• Lagged U. of Toronto, McMaster, UBC, Queens (on publications but not
citations), and Alberta (on publications but not citations)
• McGill ranked 57 in top 100 business schools in research as measured
by Financial Times
• Lagged Ivey/UWO and UBC, but ahead of Rotman/ U of Toronto, Queen’s
and Alberta.
• Management ranks below average on McGill research output proxy of
grants per tenure stream faculty
• Measure “unfair” to research not requiring labs and assistants but “fair” in
that this is basis for University attracting added resources: Canada
Research Chairs, SSHRC small grant funding, indirect Federal funding, etc.
and also one metric for ranking research universities in Macleans etc.
• Management Faculty research grants allocations averaged $900,000 or
$21,000 per tenure-stream faculty member annually over 1996-2000.
• Conference papers not efficiently transformed into journal publications
(P&T committee view 2002)
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research – current issues - 4
 Steady research productivity would dramatically raise
Management Faculty research ranking
• U of Alberta study indicates that if each tenure stream
faculty member published even one ISI-ranked journal
article per year, McGill would rise to top of research
• “Slippage” factors need addressing:
– New hires with fresh PhD may need time and mentoring
to “gear up”
– Faculty engaged in administrative activities may face
longer publication lead times
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research – current issues - 5
 Research support from Faculty viewed as fragmented
• Soft funding for new junior faculty significant amount but too often
viewed as salary supplement
• Matching funding for one research assistant to faculty with external
grant is significant cost but much appreciated
• 80/20 formula for untenured tenure stream faculty
– Some junior faculty request soft internal funding be eligible for
matching, but this would result in little incentive to seek external
• 50/50 formula for tenured faculty
• Research grant publicity – significant turnover: 3 persons in less than
2 years
• Research grant application logistics (on-line cv) – even more sporadic
availability and use concentrated among some faculty members
• PhD students viewed as important research support by junior faculty,
but funding haphazard after initial 16 months (once again, teams help)
• New funding sources: TA funds from University, federal scholarships from
SSHRC and other granting agencies (but we fare poorly in local screening)
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research – current issues - 6
 Faculty research grant “gamesmanship skills” need
upgrading to fit McGill research “business model”
• Elsewhere in university, particularly sciences
• “Career path” for grants well known.
– In some medicine departments, full time appointment withheld until
faculty member has won external grant!
– Expectation that faculty members will have continuous not sporadic
research grants
• Research centres leverage internal funds to get external funding
– Modest matching funds available from university for successful teams
– Research centres increasingly judged by combination of external
recognition of excellence, publication output and team funding
• Faculty aware of university research priorities and adept at linking
own research to priorities or getting own research included in
priorities, which is key to getting some external funds such as CFI
and CRC
• Need to balance team participation based elsewhere and team
participation based in Faculty (too much of former in Management)
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research – current issues - 7
 “Knowledge Management” of research activity
missing--If only we knew what we know and do
• Knowledge management of research activity needs development
• Example of good practice: social innovation research survey for
Beyond Gray Stripes competition revealed large amount of research
activity not known across faculty members
• Similar exercise was started but abandoned by
globalization/international consortium because of discontinuity in
research staff support (departure of Blossom Thom)
• Knowledge of what we do would help develop critical mass in research
• Elsewhere McGill, key research themes and projects are widely
known both within and outside a faculty
• Knowledge of what we do would help in developing links to practice
and to teaching
• Now limited to “local knowledge” of a few people
• Need internal recognition / prizes for research excellence, as for
Research agenda ©McGill University
Linking research to teaching
Research should inform learning
• Pedagogy Excellence Project (PEP) Report made some useful
suggestions, including the following:
• Can bring research into the classroom by having Faculty members
incorporate their own research-related activities into their course curricula
• Research on leadership, ethics and social issues can help develop
professional ethos of students
• Expanded internships, including research-internships
• U.S. Boyer report on undergraduate teaching in research universities
has recommendations
• Inquiry-based freshman year, use of projects in courses, structured
involvement of some undergraduates in research by doctoral students and
faculty; integrated courses
Learning can also inform research
• Life-long learning activities create links between researchers and
practitioners, providing knowledge of current “theory in use”, current
issues facing practitioners, and access to research sites
Research agenda ©McGill University
Linking research to practice - 1
Research and practice should be linked in professional
• “Nothing is so practical as a good theory”
Science, 1951: 20)
(Kurt Lewin: Field Theory in Social
• More regular popularization of research output, linked to development
• Packaging existing research around important current topics (e.g.
innovation, governance)
• Possible Karma-like annual subscription service by firms (need volume)
• Advisory boards for research consortia and research centers?
• Using overall advisory board as “suggestion box” for thematic applied
• Risk of disappointing external organizations if no researchers interested or
researcher if no funding available for suggested research
Research agenda ©McGill University
Linking research to practice - 2
• “Reverse engineering” research to create links to practice
• Taking inventory of industry contexts of our current and
recent empirical research
• Targeting firms in those industries as likely clients for our
research activity
– Example: research on promotion of packaged goods would
likely interest firms such as P&G, J&J, L’Oreal, etc.
• Seeking ways to link some research streams to local
technology “clusters”: aerospace, pharmaceuticals/biotech,
multimedia/entertainment, forest products, transportation,
metals, etc.
• Could also explore benefits of linking research to industry
associations (as opposed to specific firms), perhaps also
other groups: Technovision, chambers of commerce, etc.
Research agenda ©McGill University
Critical mass requirements in relation to
faculty priorities
Challenge of getting critical mass in relatively small
• Need to move beyond identifying “slots” based on critical gaps in
teaching to create critical mass in key research themes
• Need interdisciplinary themes that can link to strategic research
priorities of McGill, community, and profession
• Need to learn how to use research themes to build case with
university and external donors for added resources: CRC chairs,
other chairs, funding for large-scale projects
• Need to leverage faculty research capacity through themes that cut
across faculties, universities, communities, sectors and regions to
engage others in helping develop our research
• Need to develop ability to “package” and “repackage” on-going
research to link to emerging themes: emotions in advertising gets
linked to decision-making in health management and persuasion in
health social marketing
Research agenda ©McGill University
Interdisciplinary and team focus
 How to develop interdisciplinary teams
• Two contrasting approaches to form teams –
• Top-down “push” approach (the three thematic consortia)
• Organic bottom-up “pull” approach (perhaps team around decisionmaking)
• Do we need to encourage both approaches?
• What incentives are needed for bottom up approach?
• Thematic consortia have been a useful start, but need to build
• Need logistical support to develop team research grants
• Need motivation (and incentives?) to develop team research grants
• Need motivation, institutional know-how and support to establish one
or more Quebec-style research centres (multidisciplinary but thematic)
based in Management Faculty (examples elsewhere: intellectual
property based in Law, digitized entertainment based in Music, GERAD
based at HEC)
Research agenda ©McGill University
Interdisciplinary and team focus
 How to develop interdisciplinary teams - continued
• Whether top-down “push” approach or organic bottom-up “pull” approach to
forming teams, we need codified (not just informal) surveys of research to
identify research along themes
• Examples:
Social innovation (largely completed)
Health management (done informally, rapidly out of date)
E-commerce / e-learning / blended learning (large amount of scattered activity –
could be significant)
• Integrated risk management / managing uncertainty (another “hidden” research
• Decision-making models (individual and group, rational and emotional, also crosscultural)
• Blended learning as research theme: E3, VRQ, etc.
 Encouragement for teams & consortia should not “leave behind”
those wishing to continue the individual research model
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research support: funding, logistics &
recognition - 1
 Funding
• Need to publicize and tap internal and external funding sources
• Need tap traditional sources (SSHRC, CIHR, NSERC, FQRSC etc) and learn to use
themes to tap sources in creative way --- management science seeking CIHR funding
• Need to use capital campaign to strengthen thematic critical mass
• Need to involve external advisory bodies in suggestions for fund-raising for
 Logistics
• Need attention to link between research productivity and PhD program and its
• Need consistent research logistical support for publicizing funding sources and
for research grant logistics (assistance with on-line forms and on-line CVs,
budget tips and templates) and for grantsmanship tips
• Need logistical support, motivation (and incentives?) to develop team research
grants and Quebec-style research centres (multidisciplinary but thematic) based
in Management Faculty
• Need space for research assistants, post-docs, research associates, & labs
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research support: funding, logistics &
recognition - 2
 Recognition
• Establish research prizes (based on overall record, depending on rank):
• Untenured initial 3 years (refereed conference papers, publications, grants)
• Untenured 3+ years (refereed journals, research grants)
• Associate professor (includes citations, team grants, research program,
editorial board membership etc.)
• Full professor (includes mentoring doctoral students and junior faculty,
citations, awards, international recognition, journal editorial boards etc.)
• Do we need bonuses for publications in top journals as is done a some
schools (doesn’t sound like McGill?)
• Can we agree on what are top journals in main fields based on Journal
Citation Reports or other sources to help guide junior faculty?
• While all tenure stream faculty are expected to publish in academic
journals, should we recognize that publications in top practitioner
journals (HBR) are more likely by senior academics with broader
institutional knowledge and contacts?
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research support: funding, logistics &
recognition - 3
 Recognition - continued
• Should we re-establish Faculty-wide Friday seminars? e.g.
mandatory presentation for those with research-related
course relief or with all teaching in one term?
• Could areas be subsidized to hold “brown bag” seminars?
• Example: 3 seminars per area per year, with enough
funding to bring external speakers
– Important in period of limited hiring to get outside
windows on research
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research support: funding, logistics &
recognition - 4
 Recognition - continued
• Build on codified surveys of research along identifiable themes (examples listed
earlier on slide on interdisciplinary themes)
• Need to keep Development Office informed of research themes
• Need to link research themes to new research plan process being
established by the Principal
• Should we establish a quarterly Faculty Research newsletter to circulate
externally (and internally)?
• Can use contractual consultants to develop promising themes for publicity and
external funding
• What is maximum number of “big themes” to avoid dilution?
• Do we need to be more responsive to university needs in developing themes?
• Examples:
– Technology start-ups and incubators (much desired by McGill OTT)?
» Possible added link to intellectual property research centre in
Faculty of Law
– Governance (possibly desired by advisory board and potential donors)?
• Do we need Faculty-wide or decentralized working paper series on web?
• Need to explore selective contract research around thematic strengths
Research agenda ©McGill University
Research productivity
 Improving research productivity - R3 (revitalizing
renowned research?)
• Is concentrated teaching in one term appropriate route to better
research productivity?
• Are condensed courses by junior faculty (as at LBS) appropriate
route to better research productivity?
• Are summer scholar/mentors (external scholars who
come for a month to work with junior faculty on research
projects) an effective way to mentor junior faculty in
areas that have few senior members?
• To move more conference papers into better journals, do we
need “master” workshops on publishing skills (similar to publishing
course for doctoral students offered in Strategy by Ann Langley at HEC)?
Research agenda ©McGill University
Diversifying research funding sources - 1
 Understanding and improving the research “business
• Traditional McGill/Canadian research business model
• Continuous stream of research grants and publications
• Develop research team around theme research program including doctoral
students, post-docs, research associates.
• Develop MSc program as feeder program for doctoral program and reduce
time to completion
• Develop multidisciplinary research centre around focused theme and get
university matching funding and Quebec research team funding
• Base case for increased number of doctoral students on training
opportunities with outstanding high calibre research team
• Get federal infrastructure funding for centre (CFI grants)
• Build critical mass with research release stipends and CRC chairs
• As success builds, tap into non-governmental foundations in Canada and
• Work towards international recognition to become member of Royal Society
of Canada
Research agenda ©McGill University
Diversifying research funding sources - 2
 Understanding and improving the research “business
model” - continued
• Non-traditional research business model for a management
faculty? (for example see Rand Graduate School
• Develop contract research around consortia themes
• Develop contract research around hub-and-spoke clients
• Fund larger number of doctoral students through contract research
• Recruit doctoral students around current contract themes
• Develop research internships to supply contract research
• Develop MSc program to feed needs of hub-and-spoke clients and
support doctoral teams engaged in contract research
• Build development case around responsiveness to current themes of
client organizations
• Develop executive programs around findings from thematic research
 Is there a hybrid research “business model”?
 Is there a third model?
Research agenda ©McGill University
Time frames for action (TBA)
 Next 12 months
 3 years out:
Research agenda ©McGill University