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Centres Vice-Chancellor's Directive

Abstract

This Directive establishes a framework for the role of UTS Centres in supporting, developing and promoting activities in existing or emerging fields of strategic relevance and importance to UTS.

The Centres Vice-Chancellor's Directive is also available as a PDF document.

Dates
  • Directive approved 09/10/2009
  • Directive takes effect 01/01/2010
  • Directive is due for review (up to five years) 01/2014
  • Directive amendment approved 11/12/2014
  • Directive amendment takes effect 04/05/2016
Approved by Vice-Chancellor
Latest amendment: Director, Governance Support Unit (see change history for details)
Implementation Officer Provost
Relevant to All staff and/or all students
Related documents
Legislation
File number UR09/782
Superseded documents Policy for Centres for Enterprise, Research and/or Community Service (CERCS)

Contents

1. Purpose

This Directive establishes a framework for the role of UTS Centres in supporting, developing and promoting activities in existing or emerging fields of strategic relevance and importance to UTS.

2. Scope

This Directive applies to all UTS activities and personnel with regard to the establishment and operation of UTS Centres.

The Vice-Chancellor may determine that specific UTS Centres are exempt from the provisions of this Directive.

The Vice-Chancellor may determine that specific UTS Institutes are subject to the provisions of this Directive.

UTS Centres may conduct research if it is included in their approved constitutions. Some UTS Centres are also designated UTS Research Strengths and are subject to the provisions of the UTS Research Strengths Statement that sits under this Directive and the related Centres Guidelines. In broad terms, designated UTS Research Strengths will have a stronger focus and higher research performance than other UTS Centres. A UTS Centre may gain designation as a UTS Research Strength some time after its establishment, and a UTS Research Strength that loses that designation may continue to be designated as a UTS Centre.

3. Definitions

A Centre
is an academic grouping with an approved organisational structure within a faculty or faculties, established to advance the strategic interests of UTS and its related faculties.
Responsible Dean
is the dean designated in a Centre's constitution as having day-to-day management responsibility for the Centre. Normally, there would be one Responsible Dean for a Centre.
UTS Research Strength
is a Centre that has been approved by the Vice-Chancellor as a specific research grouping. It is a research-focused UTS Centre operating within or between faculties in an area of recognised/identified excellence. UTS Research Strengths provide leadership in research performance (scale and quality) through the facilitation and support of research, development and related activities in specific disciplines. UTS Research Strengths adhere to additional requirements to that of a Centre under this Directive and the related Guidelines, and are eligible to receive additional funding from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

4. Directive principles

UTS Centres are established, and operate, to advance the strategic interests and standing of UTS and the faculties that host them.

5. Directive statements

5.1 Function of UTS Centres

A UTS Centre must make, or have the capacity to make within a reasonable period of time, a significant ongoing contribution to the achievement of the University's objectives in one or more of the following ways:

  • providing a focus for and promoting an existing or emerging key strategic UTS academic identity and expertise, including aspects of teaching and learning and/or research
  • operating as a hub for interdisciplinary, collaborative approaches to UTS academic activity, including aspects of teaching and learning and/or research
  • building cross-university research capability
  • actively engaging with professional practice
  • supporting significant UTS external engagement with the professions, business, industry, government and the community.

5.2 Constitution of UTS Centres

A UTS Centre, including those that are also UTS Research Strengths, must have a constitution that sets out its strategic intent, objectives, functions and governance arrangements including identification of the faculties that support the Centre and the Responsible Dean. A Centre's governance arrangements, including advisory boards and management committees if appropriate, should be commensurate with its strategic intent, scale of activities, and risk profile.

The relevant dean(s), the Provost and Vice-Chancellor have overriding authority with regard to any aspect of a Centre. Other officers of the University, including the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) have authority with regard to specific aspects of Centre activities that fall under other UTS policies and directives, for example, UTS Research Strengths and UTS Short Courses.

The names of UTS Centres are approved by the Vice-Chancellor. The titles 'UTS Research Strength', 'UTS Research Centre' and 'UTS Research Institute' can be used only if specifically approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and the Vice-Chancellor.

To be considered for the title of UTS Research Institute, a Centre must:

  • perform cross-university research activities
  • undertake sustained research to address the most challenging and important research problems
  • make, or have the potential to make, significant beneficial contributions to economic, social, cultural and/or environmental wellbeing
  • involve researchers who have achieved peer recognition for national leadership and international standing on the basis of research excellence
  • contribute significantly to the University's achievement of its purpose, vision and strategic objectives, and
  • address the criteria outlined in the UTS Research Strengths Statement, as well as this Directive and the Centres Guidelines.

With the approval of the Responsible Dean, in conjunction with the Centre director or equivalent, and consistent with the Centre's strategic plan, individuals and organisations external to UTS may be invited to participate in a UTS Centre. The terms of external participation in a UTS Centre must be documented with appropriate legal advice and agreed to by the Responsible Dean and an authorised external representative. At a minimum, the terms of external participation in a UTS Centre must include provisions for the use of UTS resources, insurance, conflict of interest, intellectual property and, if applicable, research ethics and compliance with relevant external codes.

5.3 Activities of UTS Centres

A Centre, with the approval of the Responsible Dean, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) in the case of UTS Research Strengths, may conduct any combination of activities that is consistent with UTS policies, functions and normal operating activities. A Centre's activities must be consistent with the specified strategic intent, objectives and functions set out in its constitution.

A Centre may not conduct activities that the University itself cannot conduct, nor independently conduct activities that are limited to faculties or other units under UTS policies and directives. In particular, Centres may not independently conduct award courses but may participate in the management and delivery of awards courses under the faculty's normal requirements.

5.4 Operation of UTS Centres

Each UTS Centre must have an action plan that is to be reviewed and approved annually by the Responsible Dean, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), in the case of UTS Research Strengths or other Centres that have either been funded by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and/or been assessed by the Responsible Dean as having a designated research focus. Normally, the action plan would have a three to five year horizon, updated annually. The plan must be consistent with the Centre's constitution and describe the range of intended activities, performance targets and indicators, funding and other operational arrangements. The Centre's action plan must reflect, and be reflected in, the relevant faculty's strategic/action plans.

A Centre's funding and financial outcomes are the responsibility of the relevant faculties, and in the case of UTS Research Strengths, in cooperation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

A Centre must comply with UTS policies, directives, procedures, guidelines, Standing Delegations of Authority and the terms of its constitution. The Responsible Dean, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) in the case of UTS Research Strengths, must ensure that the senior UTS staff member of a Centre understands the scope of activity and authority of the Centre and its staff.

5.5 Review of UTS Centres

The performance of Centres will be broadly assessed by the respective Responsible Deans on an annual basis, and with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) in the case of UTS Research Strengths or other Centres that have either been funded by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and/or been assessed by the Responsible Dean as having a designated research focus. Progress towards the achievement of strategic objectives and the risk profile of Centres will form the core of the assessment.

The Provost and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), with other Deputy Vice-Chancellors with relevant portfolio responsibilities, will consult with Deans, generally on an annual basis, on the strategic direction and performance of UTS Centres. In the case of UTS Research Strengths, the Associate Dean (Research) will also be consulted. Relevant aspects of performance under the UTS Research Strengths Statement will be considered in this consultation.

An intensive review of all aspects of one or more Centres may be undertaken at the discretion of the relevant deans or Provost with the advice of relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellors.

Arising from any of these review processes a Centre may be reconfirmed, or recommendations may be made to the Vice-Chancellor for the disestablishment or reconstitution of a Centre.

5.6 Disestablishment of UTS Centres

The Vice-Chancellor has the authority to disestablish Centres. A recommendation for the disestablishment of a Centre may be made to the Vice-Chancellor by the Provost, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) or other relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellors, with the advice of the relevant dean(s). The Research and Research Training Committee will also be consulted regarding the disestablishment of a UTS Research Strength.

6. Roles and responsibilities

The Vice-Chancellor has delegated authority to establish and disestablish UTS Centres and Institutes.

The Provost is responsible for the implementation of the Centres Directive, including providing education to the University community about its operation. Consistent with this Directive and Standing Delegations of Authority, the Provost may issue relevant guidelines and/or procedures at his or her discretion, which may include requirements or guidance for proposals to establish Centres, the content of their constitutions, action plans and annual reports, and additional requirements for review processes.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is responsible for the implementation of the UTS Research Strengths Statement associated with this Directive and related Guidelines.

For Centres and Institutes that are designated UTS Research Strengths, the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) will jointly establish review processes and other requirements as appropriate to minimise duplication.

Other Deputy Vice-Chancellors are responsible for the activities of UTS Centres as designated by UTS policies, directives and related guidelines.

Proposed changes to the constitution of a Centre must be assessed, and if consistent with the Centre's original strategic objective, may be approved by the Provost. The Provost will consult with relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellors in cases where a Centre's activities are covered by other UTS policies or directives. The Vice-Chancellor's approval is required for proposed Constitution changes that amend the strategic objective and/or name of a Centre.

Deans are responsible for the financial and operational performance, including compliance and risk management, of the Centres that they host.

The Director, Planning and Quality Unit is responsible for coordinating reporting to the Provost as required by the Directive, and other activities designated from time to time by the Provost.

7. Acknowledgements

Not applicable.

8. Version control and change history

Effective date Version Approved by, resolution no. (date) Amendment
01/01/2010 1 Vice-Chancellor (09/10/2009) New Directive
07/12/2012 2 Vice-Chancellor (11/10/2012) Minor amendments to align the Centres Directive and Guidelines and the Research Strengths Statement.
04/05/2016 2.1 Director, Governance Support Unit (GSU) (11/12/2014) Changes (approved under Delegation 3.17) to implement 2014 Senior Executive restructure.