Message from the Vice-Principal Research
Ulrich J. Krull
I always consider myself to be so very privileged, nominally in my role to represent research interests at UTM, and practically in my actual role to facilitate opportunity for research to flourish at our campus.
UTM has been a physical locus for development within the University of Toronto, and in the Ontario university system since system expansion began shortly after the year 2000. A quick glance out a window or down a hallway brings in a vista of new faces, new buildings and a vitality that is not replicated with such depth at the other campuses at UofT. Had we experienced growth for the sake of accommodating expansion, then I am convinced we would have a paucity of the creativity and vision that is a fundamental attribute of our community at UTM. Expansion at UTM has been the stimulus and lifeblood for an unprecedented rejuvenation at all levels, with perhaps the most notable activities being tied to curiosity-driven research.
Impact of Expansion
The results of this development are impressive. From an external perspective, one can quantitatively assess research performance by many means. For example, a direct comparison of total research operating grant funding from the federal granting councils with Ontario institutions of similar size and that offer similar programs, shows UTM to be far ahead of the competition on a per capita basis (number of faculty members who can attract funding). The most recent data from NSERC about the 2009 NSERC Discovery Grants signals that UTM faculty members compete on par with colleagues at the St. George campus in terms of the value of the average grant, and are well above the national average.
Connection to Education
It is such evidence of this level of research intensity at UTM, and its connection to education, that was a key point noted by consultants who visited UTM late last year on behalf of the Province. The group that visited gauged the impact of expansion across the Ontario post-secondary educational system. Their recommendation that UTM should be recognized as a campus-based institution that in its own right is comparable in impact to any of the other regional universities signals how our quantitative metrics place us in the Province.
Sense of Excitement
Perhaps more important though is how we see ourselves and our own situation with an insider’s perspective; this reflects who we are and what we can achieve. My frontline view as a faculty member who is active in research can best be described as a sense of excitement. Excitement in working with both established and new colleagues and students on major projects that simply could not have been contemplated a few years ago because specific and fundamental elements of expertise and infrastructure did not exist. Excitement that the UTM Plan for 2030 targets a very significant expansion of research and graduate studies. Excitement with prospects that emerge by virtue of the activities surrounding the UTM Academy of Medicine and a proposal for building a centre focused on management of innovation that would offer research and programmatic opportunities in social sciences, humanities, sciences and medicine at the graduate level.
Beyond our Dreams
What a terrific time to be at UTM, and how lucky I am to have a role in such a vibrant and stimulating community. I look forward to working with you, and hope that we can achieve even more than we have already dreamed.