Academic Partnerships

The importance of evidence-based research in policing has been discussed nationally among the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. In support, the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) is promoting academic partnerships. We recognize the tremendous opportunity to collaborate with researchers to explore theory and develop applications that will help guide current and future approaches to policing. Increasing our breadth and depth of knowledge is a necessary step towards better decision-making and making a positive difference among our members and the community we serve.

For a consistent and mutually beneficial experience, WRPS has developed a standard approach to academic partnerships. We envision that formal arrangements will be a clear investment where partnerships i) will support the goals and objectives of our Strategic Business Plan, ii) may help guide policy changes and evaluate initiatives that will ultimately better meet member and community needs, and iii) create opportunities for police members to share and contribute their experiences, knowledge, skills and abilities. The benefit for academic researchers is that they will i) learn about the practical side of policing, ii) potentially see the application of their findings, iii) be able to train students using real data and field-work, and iv) fulfill career goals by advancing knowledge in the field that could be disseminated among the academic community. To realize these mutually beneficial outcomes, partnering does require following a process. 

Memorandum of Understanding

The MOU is essential for establishing expectations going forward. It begins with a statement of purpose and follows with a clear delineation of the roles and responsibilities of each partner. It lists internal positions serving as Points of Contact and a communication plan that specifically outlines provisions for the sharing of information and the reporting of results with an emphasis on review and collaboration prior to publication.  The MOU is meant to identify a primary, consistent, responsible faculty advisor/team lead who will act as the external Academic Partner. The same, or additional, Principal Investigators may be named in specific research project submissions. The MOU is required whether it is an academic initiating a Request for Research or whether it is WRPS initiating a Research Expression of Interest.

Selection of Research Projects

One of the fundamental criteria that will assist WRPS in determining whether to partner on a specific research project when externally initiated (i.e. academic-led) will be if it aligns with our Strategic Business Plan. Mutually beneficial research may also include, but is not limited to, research within the Principal Investigator’s area of expertise that contributes to policy and/or procedure, evaluates current programs, assists to inform operational decisions, and/or advances knowledge in the field of law enforcement.

When WRPS leads the Research Expression of Interest, the selection will be based on whether the proposal meets our identified needs. These needs will be shared in an open call with a transparent evaluation approach in place.

Current Open Calls for Academic Partnership:

Frequently Asked Questions

 What is the proposed duration of the academic partnership?
As per the Pre-Requisites for Eligibility “the applicant has confirmed their commitment to the partnership for up to 24 months, subject to evaluation”.  In order for WRPS to evaluate, the actual term will need to be put forward by the researcher in the proposal, together with their overview of how the stated objectives and partnership deliverables may be achieved within a timeline that does not exceed 24 months.

Source: page 6 of the Open Call document
What is required for the proposal submission? For example, is their a page limit, format, or specific information that must be included with the submission? Are CVs required, or any other background information?
WRPS is not providing a standard template package or imposing any specific format or page limits.  As part of the scoring criteria, the Research Lead/Team’s qualifications and suitability will be evaluated by a panel.  In support of this, researchers should submit any material that demonstrates how their qualifications meet the criteria referenced in the open call document.  This may include curriculum vitaes of the researcher and research team, and any other relevant material.  Researchers should consider the rest of the scoring criteria when drafting their proposals in deciding what other specific information to include. 

Source: pages 7-8 of the Open Call document
 What is the timeline for announcing results after the June 18 deadline? 
All proposals will be assessed by a panel convened by the WRPS.  Following that assessment, the successful applicant(s) will be contacted to negotiate the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding that will govern the Academic Partnership.  While timelines are tentative, the WRPS hopes to announce the partnership by Fall 2021.

Source: pages 7 & 8 of the Open Call document
 Is there available compensation?
The WRPS would cover reasonable expenses associated with community, stakeholder and member engagement. Applicants are asked to submit a budget proposal with their submission which will be assessed against established scoring criteria.  The open call document also requests applicants to cite financial or in-kind resources that they are able to provide together with opportunities for research funding (with timelines) that may be suitable to support the RBD Collection Strategy.  Note: WRPS is willing to provide endorsement and/or reasonable assistance with applications for funding.

Source: pages 6 & 8 of the Open Call document
What is the scope of the project? For example, is there a certain number of hours or quantity of outputs that is expected?

The researcher will ultimately define the scope (identify and document the work that needs to be done; provide a detailed outline of the activities/tasks, timelines/milestones, and outcomes/deliverables), keeping in mind that WRPS will evaluate the proposal against the stated objectives and partnership deliverables, including alignment with the Data Standards for the Identification and Monitoring of Systemic Racism.  WRPS is not suggesting a parameter on the number of hours invested in the project.


Source: pages 4-6 of the Open Call document

Is WRPS looking to partner with several independent groups of academics who are pursuing independent/smaller projects that encompass different aspects of the totality of your race-based research needs, or is WRPS looking to partner with a larger, unified group of academics who would be tackling all aspects of your needs in a single proposed project?

WRPS is seeking a Research Lead - who may involve a co-applicant or team of researchers to conduct the proposed research and to achieve the objectives.  The Research Lead will be the primary contact with the WRPS and the Research Lead will be responsible for the partnership as detailed in the Memorandum of Understanding that is negotiated with the police service.  Further, the Research Lead should outline in their proposal how they will meet all the objectives and deliverables outlined within the Open Call, as well as detail any roles designated to team members and how the Research Lead will provide oversight to those individuals.  The Research Lead/Team, Objectives, Deliverables, and Partnerships are some of the criteria against which the proposal will be scored.

Source: pages 5, 7 &8 of Open Call

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