Laurier ranks number one in growth of research funding

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Graphic by Alan Li

 

Research Infosource has ranked Wilfrid Laurier University number one in growth of research funding.

Laurier is one of 50 other universities in the annual Top 50 research university ranking conducted by Research Infosource.

Laurier has seen a 23 per cent increase in external research funding over the last year, which has bumped the university into the number one spot for research growth in 2017.

Laurier has been working over the past few years to become a more established, comprehensive university. This includes becoming more research intensive and a large part of what makes this research possible is the external funding that the University has access to.

“We have taken a really strong focus on trying to grow that part of our research enterprise and I think we’ve been pretty successful over the years,” Robert Gordon, vice-president of research at Wilfrid Laurier University, said.

The office of research service for Laurier works to help provide support for the faculty when requesting external funding.

“The biggest reason why we have grown so much the last few years is because the exceptional faculty at Laurier are really building much stronger and focused research programs,” Gordon said.

“The funding we access through competitive programs is a good way to measure the success of that,” Gordon said.

“We pay really close attention here at Laurier to making sure it’s not all about bringing in money. It’s about providing impactful research outcomes … in terms of how we train students more effectively and how our research helps to make the world a better place.”

Laurier competes with other academics across the country in terms of accessing some of these funds.

Major external funding is often sourced through the Tri-Council funding system which provides research support for Universities in Canada.

The Tri-Council includes the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

“Our faculty culture is really one to focus on being active researchers and to take a lot of that research back to the classroom, [which] certainly supports how we deliver on our academic mission,” Gordon said.

External funding is beneficial for the university because it allows the faculty to be more productive in their research. Acquiring external funding also supports students of all departments and composes a large portion of student training at Laurier.

Faculty at Laurier have focused on building stronger and more focused research programs. The rise in external funding has been a way to measure Laurier’s success in research.

Research output has also been a priority at Laurier to make sure that research provided by the University remains strong.

“We pay really close attention here at Laurier to making sure it’s not all about bringing in money,” Gordon said. “It’s about providing impactful research outcomes … in terms of how we train students more effectively and how our research helps to make the world a better place.”

In April of 2017, WLU announced to students that Laurier was ranked Canada’s most efficient research university. Laurier produced more research output per dollar of external funding than any other University in Canada.

“Laurier is in a really good place right now,” Gordon said.

“Being one of the fastest growing research universities in the country is a strong testament to the fantastic faculty we have at the university and also the incredible students that are involved in research as well.”

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