Statement from University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Vianne Timmons

News Release Release Date: March 25, 2013 1:30 p.m.

I wish to take this opportunity to respond to recent media coverage of research activities at the University of Regina.

First, I would like to address IPAC-CO2.  Five years ago, in 2008, the University secured funding for a unique, independent, and promising research initiative called IPAC-CO2.  A number of years later, in 2010, we were notified about potential irregularities in the establishment of IPAC-CO2. 

We informed the University of Regina’s Board of Governors, and the Provincial Auditor looked into this matter.  The IPAC-CO2 Board also initiated a review of the processes that were in place.  We co-operated fully with the Board. 

The findings showed that the University’s policies and processes were sound, but had not been followed.  We immediately dealt with this through an extensive education program with our senior leadership.

In short – when a flag was raised, we immediately investigated, involved the Provincial Auditor, and took steps to address the situation and prevent it from recurring. 

Next, I would like to address the recent commentary regarding HTC.  Six years ago, in November 2007, the University of Regina entered into a commercialization agreement with HTC to market the world-leading carbon capture technology developed at the University. 

It is good stewardship of university research to inquire about the progress of publicly funded projects, and subsequent inquiries showed little evidence that commercialization activity had taken place.  An attempt has been made to come to a new agreement regarding the relationship.

In short – commercialization of our publicly funded research did not proceed as we had hoped under our agreement, so we are working through the courts to deal with this.

Next, I would like to address the media coverage about a company at the University of Regina called Gen Five.  Gen Five was established by researchers at the University of Regina in 2009. 

The establishment of companies by researchers is common practice at universities, where faculty members are encouraged to do applied work and consulting through which their expertise can help others in the public and private sectors.  In this case, Gen Five never became operational.

Lastly, I would also like to address the investigation by the Provincial Auditor which has been the focus of recent media attention.  The Provincial Auditor regularly audits different aspects of the University’s operations, and an examination of our research, intellectual property and commercialization endeavours was on schedule to be performed in the future. 

Given the public attention in recent months regarding our research operations, we worked with the Provincial Auditor to fast-track an examination of our policies and processes in the research portfolio, and have in fact welcomed this examination. 

We are in the process of providing any and all information the Provincial Auditor may need.  We want to ensure that the policies and procedures we have in place to safeguard public funds are adequate and effective.  Should the Provincial Auditor have recommendations in addition to those we have already put in place in past years, we will implement them.

In closing – the University of Regina takes any allegations regarding our management of public funds extremely seriously.  We have taken actions in the past to address such allegations, and will continue to do so in the future as stewards of public funds, and of the public trust.