Executive Summary

The purpose of Carleton University’s Strategic Research Plan is to articulate our vision, priorities and plan of action for enhancing Carleton’s research profile over the next five years. This plan emanates from the Carleton University Strategic Integrated Plan, which affirms that:

Carleton University will be known as a university that promotes research excellence and connectedness. It will be recognized as a leader in research that focuses both on tangible outcomes and the development of knowledge with longer-term impacts.

To realize this vision, we must mobilize research that incorporates and values the full range of activities associated with discovery, scholarship, and the creative enterprise. We must build on our profile as an institution that values collaboration, promotes system-wide leadership, and embodies resilience.

To take full advantage of our strengths, we need to make room for a plurality of perspectives and paradigms as this provides the flexibility needed for different configurations of expertise to come together.

This includes:

  • disciplinary research and interdisciplinary connections;
  • applied and fundamental research; and
  • a recognition that the broader the range of disciplinary perspectives (from the humanities to the sciences, from economic to social welfare, from policy to technology, etc.), the more enriched our contribution to knowledge and to society.

The Strategic Research Plan identifies a common focal point that enables us to highlight our strengths and provides a basis for action. Specifically, in alignment with the University’s Strategic Integrated Plan, Carleton’s Strategic Research Plan will focus its research, training, and outreach priorities toward building Sustainable Communities.

To this end, we have identified four domains or points of connection, involving:

  • People: the human condition and evolving societies;
  • Place: changing environments;
  • Technology: foundational sciences and technological innovation; and
  • Policy: policy, governance, and economic activity.

In effect, promoting sustainable communities and ensuring a viable and prosperous future for future generations will require that these four domains be brought together often. For example, such a combined and collaborative approach to resource development in the North would incorporate a historical and current understanding of Indigenous communities and economies. As another example, the design of sensor technologies for infrastructure protection needs to be grounded with collaborative expertise in climate and geology. Or understanding how human illnesses are affected by environmental toxins must evaluate the places in which people work and live, and environmental pollutants, in turn, can be monitored using technology and provide bases for regulation. Or the deployment of new digital media for the production, preservation, and transmission of culture inherently works at the intersection of people and technology to create a vibrant transgenerational and transnational community.

To achieve the goal we have set out in the Strategic Research Plan we will implement strategic actions that:

  • position Carleton as a leader in applied and fundamental research;
  • contribute to the evolution of sustainable communities;
  • build capacity and recognition of the excellence of our researchers more broadly;
  • build connections with the private and public sector and not-for-profit partners; and
  • maximize our impact in scholarly forums and through knowledge mobilization.

In this Strategic Research Plan, our emphasis on communities means positioning our research activities to be outward facing. By building connections, and promoting system-wide leadership, Carleton will be well positioned to have a transformational effect on the dialogue, paradigms, and systems-based approaches to building sustainable communities locally, nationally, and globally.

Bike wheels in a row