Supports for Existing Strategic Initiatives

The Institutional Strategic Initiatives portfolio seeks to elevate the profile of the University in high-priority research areas by working with Divisional units and central services to support large-scale research initiatives in the following areas: 

**DO NOT USE THIS ONE**

Governance

  • Governance and oversight models
  • Guidance on successful governance models and support setting up Councils of Deans (including templates for terms of reference, etc.)
  • Guidance on effective implementation of equity, diversity and inclusion principles in the initiative’s planning and oversight

Strategic Planning

Facilitation for strategic planning to support initiatives in achieving research excellence, impact, international recognition, and sustainability. Strategic plans will include the following areas:

  • Vision & value propositions (including areas of expertise and differentiators)
  • Areas of strategic focus
  • Strategic objectives
    • Strategic objectives will be related to the following items:
      • Increasing research impact
      • Enhancing training opportunities
      • Enhancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in research, membership, programs and training
      • Sustainability by securing operational, infrastructure, and research funding from industry, government, foundations, and donors
      • Increasing the initiative’s and the University’s profile by communicating research and translation impact
      • Identifying key performance indicators that reflect progress against strategic objectives

Branding & Communications Strategy

The Institutional Strategic Initiatives team will work with communications professionals to develop effective branding and communication strategies to raise the profile of the initiative and its members, attract research talent, partnerships, and funding support.

Elements of a Branding Strategy

  • Brand Positioning – The initiative’s unique competitive difference and how it is perceived by its audiences
  • Communications Objective – The bold and unique goal of the initiative
  • Intended Audience – The initiative’s primary and secondary target audiences
  • Brand Creative Expression – The physical look and emotional tone of your brand
  • Brand Identity –  The tangible visual elements of the initiative’s brand, including wordmark, colors, and templates

Elements of a Communications Strategy

  • Target Audiences (Stakeholders) – Which audiences are you trying to reach? What does the initiative want from these stakeholders?
  • Key Messages – The compelling messages and information that should be conveyed
  • Communication Channels and Frequency – How to reach the initiative’s stakeholders most effectively
  • Measurement / Evaluation Plan – Quantitative targets to measure the effectiveness of the communications plan

Sustainability Planning

Sustainability planning will be conducted in partnership with the following offices and divisions.

  • Division of University Advancement
    • Identification of potential partnerships, philanthropic donors, funding sources, etc.
  • Governement Relations Office
    • Identification of governmental priorities and funding opportunities
  • Office of the Vice-President International
    • Development of partnerships with international corporations and academic institutions
  • Innovations and Partnerships Office
    • Building industry consortia and relationships with industry, government and community partners
  • Other models: Access to fee-for-service facilities, professional courses, start up accelerators, etc.

Performance and Budget Reporting

The Institutional Strategic Initiative team supports initiatives in reporting on their progress towards their strategic plans, specific objectives, and their research, translation, and training impact.

Assessment of the progress towards the initiative’s strategic plan and the achievement of specific objectives includes:

  • Progress against the initiative’s milestones and deliverables as outlined in the strategic plan
  • Funding secured from the federal tri-agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC), CFI and other government, industry, foundation, and philanthropic sources
  • A summary of the key problems/ challenges, risks and mitigation strategies

Evaluation of the initiative’s research, translation, and training impact include:

  • The extent to which Institutional Strategic Initiatives funds have furthered research capacity at the University (e.g. new and/or improved research infrastructure, enhancements to the training environment, and the development of partnerships and collaborations)
  • The quality and impact of research outputs from research-related activities and how innovation has been fostered (e.g. new discoveries and insights, publications, conferences, patents, sharing with knowledge users)
  • The impact Institutional Strategic Initiatives funds have had in helping the University to compete and lead on the national and global stage

Staffing

The Institutional Strategic Initiatives portfolio supports the hiring and mentoring of administrative and operational staff to coordinate network activities and work on fostering area-specific advancement and business development opportunities that support the long-term sustainability of funded initiatives.

  • Assistance drafting job descriptions
  • Engagement with the Human Resources & Equity office 
  • Implementation of equity, diversity and inclusion principle

Supports for Academic Leads & Senior Staff

The following supports are provided to funded strategic initiatives:

  • Community of Practice for senior staff
  • Professional development for senior staff
  • Mentorship for academic leads
  • Operational templates (e.g. budget, reporting, etc.)

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The Institutional Strategic Initiatives team will provide support to ensure equity, diversity, and inclusion priniciples are included in all aspects of the initiative including:

  • Initiative Oversight
  • Research Teams
  • Training Opportunities
  • Communications

Please address questions about the supports provided for existing initiatives to strat.initiatives@utoronto.ca.