Institutional Research and Academic Planning
V. Research Units
V.A. Organized Research Units
Actions involving ORUs (Organized Research Units) are carried out on the ten established campuses. That is, creating a new ORU, changing the name of an existing ORU, and consolidating, transferring, or disestablishing an existing ORU are campus decisions for which there is no system-level review. If favorably reviewed by the relevant Divisional Academic Senate committee(s) and approved by the campus administration, a proposed action involving an ORU is implemented.
Definitions and Terms13
An ORU is an academic unit the University has established to provide a supportive infrastructure for interdisciplinary research complementary to the academic goals of departments of instruction and research. The functions of an ORU are to facilitate research and research collaborations; disseminate research results through research conferences, meetings, and other activities; strengthen graduate and undergraduate education by providing students with training opportunities and access to facilities; seek extramural research funds; and carry out university and public service programs related to the ORUs’ research expertise. An ORU may not offer formal courses for credit for students of the University or for the public unless it has been specifically empowered to do so by the President after consultation with the Academic Senate and the appropriate Chancellors. The terms ‘Institute,’ ‘Laboratory,’ and ‘Center’ are used most often for ORUs, but other titles may be employed in particular situations:
- Institute: A major unit that coordinates and promotes faculty and student research on a continuing basis over an area so wide that it extends across department, school, or college, and even campus boundaries. The unit may also engage in public service activities stemming from its research program, within the limits of its stated objectives.
- Laboratory: A non-departmental organization that establishes and maintains facilities for research in several departments, sometimes with the help of a full-time research staff appointed in accordance with the guidelines of Section 6.a. below. (A laboratory in which substantially all participating faculty members are from the same academic department is a departmental laboratory and is not an ORU.)
- Center: A small unit, sometimes one of several forming an Institute, that furthers research in a designated field; or, a unit engaged primarily in providing research facilities for other units and departments.
- Non-ORU Center: The term Center may be used for research units not formally constituted as ORUs upon approval by the Chancellor after consultation with the divisional Academic Senate. Before approval is granted for a Center that is not an ORU, the campus may stipulate terms and conditions such as a process for appropriate periodic review, including administration, programs, and budget; appointment of a director and advisory committee; an appropriate campus reporting relationship; and progress reports.
13 As noted in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies' Administrative Policies and Procedures Concerning Organized Research Units. (Policy under review.)
V.B. Multicampus Research Units
A Multicampus Research Unit (MRU) is a research unit established by UC to provide a supportive infrastructure for long-term research and/or creative work being carried out on at least two campuses or at least one campus plus one national lab. Every MRU has one host campus that will host the administrative headquarters of the unit or program and will be responsible for overall administrative and reporting functions. The functions of an MRU may include the following: facilitating research and research collaborations; disseminating research results through research conferences, meetings, and other activities; strengthening graduate and undergraduate education by providing students with training opportunities and access to facilities; seeking extramural research funds; and carrying out University and public service programs related to the MRU’s area of expertise. An MRU may be supported by one or more of the following sources: funding awarded to the MRU by UC as a result of a periodic competition, extramural funds sought for the purpose, and funds from a philanthropic institution or other sources. An MRU may participate in periodic competitions for funding administered by UCOP throughout its existence. However, actual or potential availability of extramural funds shall not serve as the sole basis for proposing, approving, or continuing an MRU. The initial term of an MRU is five years; the typical life span of a successful MRU is fifteen years with potential for extension based on positive review. An MRU must be complementary to the academic goals of the University, but it does not have jurisdiction over courses or curricula and cannot offer formal courses or make faculty appointments.
V.B.1. Establishment of New Multicampus Research Units
Overview of Process
The application to establish an MRU originates at the host campus; the other proposing campuses or national laboratories participate in development and review of the proposal. Once a full proposal is prepared, it must be reviewed by the Divisional Committee on Planning and Budget, the Divisional Committee on Research or the equivalent, the Graduate Council, and the Vice Chancellors for Research of proponent campuses prior to being sent for system-level review in order to ensure campus support for the proposal.
The host campus coordinates this process. Upon favorable review and approval by all the proponent campuses, the Chancellor of the host campus submits the proposal to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at UCOP. After receiving the proposal, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies refers the proposal to the Chair of the Academic Council for review and comment by UCORP, UCPB, and CCGA. UCORP is the lead committee for systemwide review. For a new MRU to be established the Senate must favorably review the proposal and the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies must recommend approval to the Provost and to the President; the President has the final authority for approval. After Presidential action, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies informs the Chancellors and the Chair of the Academic Council of the action.
In cases of disagreement about whether to establish an MRU, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, the Chair of the Academic Council, and the Vice Chancellor for Research of the host campus will establish a process of adjudication; however, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies retains final recommendation authority concerning establishment of a new MRU.
Details of the Process
- The host campus prepares and submits to UCOP Office of Research and Graduate Studies (ORGS) a 1- to 2-page description of the proposed MRU. ORGS then notifies all relevant systemwide bodies including UCORP, UCPB, and CCGA. ORGS and Senate committees’ reviews address the systemwide perspective.
- Proposal Development: The proposal for an MRU originates at the campus that will host the MRU’s administrative headquarters. To establish an MRU, faculty members concerned submit a proposal stating the proposed unit’s goals and objectives. The proposal must also describe the value and capabilities that will be added by the new unit and explain why these cannot be achieved within the existing campus structure. The proposal should make clear how the MRU will be greater than the sum of its parts; e.g., by fostering new intellectual collaborations, stimulating new sources of funding, furthering innovative and original research, or performing service and outreach to the public. The proposal should also contain the following information:
- Experience of the core faculty in applicable research collaborations;
- Research plan for the first year of operation and projections for subsequent years of operation;
- Budget estimates for the first year of operation, projections for the five years following, and anticipated sources of funding;
- Names, titles, and departments of faculty members who have agreed in writing to participate in the unit’s activities, and the nature of their participation;
- Projections of number of faculty members and students, professional research appointees, and other personnel needed for the specified periods;
- Statement about immediate space needs and how they will be met for the first year, and projections of future space needs;
- Statement of other resource needs, such as capital equipment and library resources, and how they will be met for the first year, and projections of future resource needs;
- Statement about anticipated benefits of the proposed unit to the teaching programs of the participating faculty members’ departments; and
- Statement specifying the applicable administrative unit’s commitment of funds, space, and other resources necessary for the successful operation of the proposed MRU.
The proposal should also list similar units that exist elsewhere, describe the relation of the proposed unit to similar units at other UC campuses, and describe the contributions to the field that the proposed unit may be anticipated to make that are not made by existing units. Prior to a recommendation for approval of an MRU by the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, an organizational plan must be developed by the faculty members and appropriate assurances finalized between the MRU and related academic units concerning administrative services, space, and facilities.
- The proposal is submitted to the appropriate administrative officer, normally the Vice Chancellor for Research of the host campus. The Vice Chancellor for Research seeks input from the Divisional Academic Senate and other administrative committees. Upon approval by the campus administration and favorable review by the Divisional Senate (ordinarily, at a minimum, the Committee on Research, the Committee on Planning and Budget, and the Graduate Council, or their equivalents) at the host campus, the Chancellor simultaneously sends all required materials to the systemwide Senate and to UCOP ORGS.
- ORGS reviews the proposal for completeness, collects any missing information from the host campus and sends the proposal to the Chancellors of the non-host participating campuses and to the Academic Council Chair with a letter including a due date for comments. The Academic Council Chair sends the proposal to the Divisional Chairs and the UCORP, UCPB, and CCGA chairs.
- Review at non-host participating campuses includes consultation with the relevant Divisional committee(s) (ordinarily, at a minimum, the Committee on Research, the Committee on Planning and Budget, and the Graduate Council, or their equivalents) and appropriate administrators. The Chancellors notify the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies of all campus comments, including those from the Senate and from the Administration.
- UCORP, UCPB, and CCGA review the proposal. UCORP is the lead committee. If additional information is needed from the campus by any of the reviewing Senate committees, the committee communicates in writing with the campus to request the additional information and copies the chairs and analysts of the other reviewing committees, the Academic Council Chair, and the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.
- The Senate committees report their recommendations to the Academic Council, which serves as arbiter if there is not concurrence among the committees. The Academic Council Chair notifies the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies of the outcome of the Senate review.
- In cases of disagreement about whether to establish an MRU (or a new branch campus of an existing MRU), the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, the Academic Council Chair, and the Chancellor at the host campus or his or her designee (normally the Vice Chancellor for Research) establishes a process of adjudication; however, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies retains final recommendation authority concerning establishment of a new MRU (or new branch campus of an existing MRU).
- After receiving all comments, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies makes a recommendation to the Provost and to the President.
- After Presidential approval, the President or his/her designee notifies the host campus Chancellor and others of the decision.
V.B.2. Multicampus Research Unit Leadership and Appointments, Administrative Operations, and Annual Reports
Leadership: An MRU is led by a Director who must be an Academic Senate member at the rank of Associate Professor or higher and who is typically affiliated with the host campus of the MRU. The MRU Director is responsible for the administrative functions of the MRU and for guiding the unit or program’s activities in accordance with its established goals.
The Director of an MRU is appointed by the President or his/her designee after consultation with the Academic Council and with the advice of a Search Committee appointed by the President or his/her designee. Nominations for membership on the Search Committee for an MRU Director are solicited by the President or his/her designee from the Chancellors of campuses with faculty actively participating in the MRU and from the Academic Council Chair, who will forward a list of nominees from each participating campus’ divisional Senate. The Academic Council may add nominees from the systemwide level but may not change the list submitted by the campus divisional Senate(s). The President or his/her designee shall select Search Committee members primarily from the lists of nominees from the Chancellors and from the Academic Council. Normally at least one member of the MRU Advisory or Executive Committee serves on the Search Committee.
Prior to appointing the Director, the President or his/her designee shall consult with the Search Committee, the Chancellor of the host campus, other campuses that are part of the MRU, and the Chair of the Academic Council.
MRU Directors are generally appointed for a five-year term with the possibility of reappointment if the MRU continues for another term. In addition to his/her regular campus faculty salary, the Director of an MRU may receive an administrative stipend, summer salary, course buyouts, and/or support for graduate student researchers using funds from the approved MRU budget. The Director of an MRU may not hold a concurrent appointment as Dean, Associate Dean, or Department Chair unless an application endorsed by the Vice Chancellor for Research of the host campus is approved by the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.
Administrative Operations: The MRU reports to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies (or, by delegation, the Vice Chancellor for Research of the host campus) and must follow administrative review and approval processes set forth by ORGS. MRUs are expected to follow all UC policies related to academic responsibilities including teaching and service workload within the faculty’s respective home academic units, faculty commitment of effort and/or compensation, honoraria, travel, and sabbatical leave.
Annual Reports: Every MRU shall submit an annual report to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies (or, by delegation, the Vice Chancellor for Research of the host campus) that should include the following:
- Numbers of graduate and postdoctoral students directly contributing to the unit or program who: a) are on the unit’s or program’s payroll, b) participate through assistantships, fellowships, or traineeships, or c) are otherwise involved in the unit’s or program’s work;
- Number of faculty members actively engaged in the MRU’s research or its administration;
- Numbers of FTE of professional, technical, administrative, and clerical personnel employed;
- A list of publications and intellectual property resulting from the collaborative endeavors of the MRU;
- A list of grant awards to participating faculty that includes sources and amounts (on an annual basis) of support funds of all types such as income from service facilities, from the sale of publications, and from other services;
- A summary of expenditures that includes use of funds for administrative support, matching funds, direct research, and other specific uses;
- A Description of the space currently occupied on all campuses and national laboratories; and
- Any other information deemed relevant by ORGS to the evaluation of the effectiveness of a program or unit, including updated plans for future years.
V.B.3. Procedure for Five-Year Reviews
The initial term of an MRU is five years, with a sunset review after fifteen years. The MRU is automatically disestablished at the end of each five-year term unless it requests to be reviewed and to be extended for another five-year term. If an MRU does not seek extension of its term, then the Director will provide a final report to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. An MRU not seeking extension of its term may request a one-year no-cost extension of its operation to permit an orderly termination or transfer of contractual obligations.
After a request for review and extension has been submitted by an MRU, a five-year review of that MRU is conducted by UCORP as the lead committee with participation by UCPB and CCGA. The authority to conduct the MRU review can be delegated by the Academic Senate to the Committee on Research or its equivalent at the host campus after consultation with the MRU Director, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, and the Vice Chancellors for Research at all participating campuses. The review will assess the unit’s activities with regard to its stated purpose, present functioning, funding record, future plans, and continuing development to meet the needs in the field. The review should also consider whether the unit should merge with another similar unit or be disestablished. The review report is provided to the MRU Director for information.
Self-report materials prepared by the MRU and the annual reports for the preceding five years are reviewed by UCORP (or, by delegation, the Committee on Research or its equivalent at the host campus), and a recommendation concerning continuation of the unit is made to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies upon consideration of the information provided. Requirements for the self-report are similar to the application process for new MRU proposals. MRU five-year reviews are not competitive. The Five- Year Review report is submitted to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, who distributes it to the Chief Academic Officer of each participating campus for campus comment, and the Chair of the Academic Council for comment by UCORP, UCPB, and CCGA. The MRU Director and the Chairs of the Advisory and Executive Committees may also comment on the Five-Year Review Report and optionally may request an external review if there is sufficient evidence that expert opinions outside the University of California system would provide additional information helpful to measure the MRU’s performance. Based on the Five-Year Review Report and the comments on the Five-Year Review Report, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies either approves continuation of the unit, implements changes in the structure or functioning of the unit, or recommends disestablishment of the unit to the President.
V.B.4. Name Changes of Multicampus Research Units
Overview of Process
If the proposed name change is not associated with a fundamental change in the nature of the MRU or a need for substantial new resources, then the decision making process by the participating campuses is final. There is no system-level review, but the action must be reported to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies and certain supporting materials must be provided. Campus decision making need only involve approval by the MRU advisory committee, favorable review by the participating campus Committees on Research (or equivalent) and Graduate Councils (and any other Senate committees the Division stipulates), and approval by the appropriate participating campus administrators. If such a "simple" name change is contemplated, the MRU director should consult with the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies and the UCORP Chair.
Details of the Process
When faculty want to change the name of an MRU, the MRU director should consult with the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies and the UCORP Chair to determine whether it is a "simple" name change. The process described here is for "simple" name changes and is relevant only when the name change does not also involve (or signal) a fundamental change in the nature of the MRU and the MRU does not require substantial new resources. If either condition pertains, particularly a fundamental programmatic change, most likely system-level review process such as that for establishing a new MRU will be requested.
- The director of the MRU prepares a proposal describing the rationale for requesting a new name for the unit, certifies that there is no associated fundamental change in the nature of the MRU or any need for substantial new resources, and gets approval from the MRU advisory committee.
- The director of the MRU submits the material to the participating campuses’ Chancellors, Committees on Research (or equivalent), and Graduate Councils with copies to the advisory committee of the MRU, the Divisional Chair (in case other Divisional committees should review the proposal), and the Vice President for ORGS, who consults with the Chair of UCORP to confirm that the two agree that it is an uncomplicated name change proposal.
- After the participating campuses’ Divisional Senates favorably review the proposal and appropriate administrators approve it and communicate that approval to the host campus Chancellor, the host campus Chancellor immediately notifies the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. The Vice President by letter approves the proposed name change, confirms that the action does not involve a fundamental change in the nature of the MRU or require substantial new resources, and indicates that favorable reviews and approvals have been obtained. This notification also includes the MRU director’s proposal and letters from the Divisional Senate committees (each letter indicating favorable review and confirming that the action does not involve a fundamental change in the nature of the MRU or require substantial new resources), from the advisory committee of the MRU, from participating campuses’ Committees on Research (or equivalent), Graduate Councils, any other Divisional Senate committees asked to comment, and from Chancellors (each letter, as appropriate, endorsing or approving the name change). The Chancellor copies the UCORP chair and analyst and the Council Chair on the notification letter only. The approved name change shall also be reported at the time the annual report is requested by ORGS.
- The Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies informs all relevant parties of the name change.
V.B.5. Sunset Reviews of Multicampus Research Units
All MRUs that have been in existence for 15 years or more are subject to a Sunset Review. At that time, they are required to justify their continuation in terms of scholarly or scientific merit and campus priorities.
An MRU undergoing a Sunset Review must develop a formal proposal for continued MRU status, support funds, and space within the context of current campus and University needs and resources. The proposal should explain whether the MRU proposes to continue unchanged in the future and if so, how it continues to address important issues that cannot be addressed through another mechanism or structure within UC. If the MRU is continuing in a new direction, the proposal should describe the new structure, vision, and intended accomplishments. If continued MRU status is not a goal, the Director will provide a final report to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.
Any proposal for continuation should describe: 1) The MRU’s achievements over the past 15 years (or more, if it has been in existence longer); 2) the contributions the MRU has made to research, graduate and undergraduate education, and public service; and 3) the consequences if the MRU were not continued.
Sunset Reviews are conducted by UCORP as the lead committee with the participation of UCPB and CCGA. The authority to conduct the Sunset Review can be delegated by the Academic Senate to the Committee on Research or its equivalent at the host campus after consultation with the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies and the Vice Chancellor for Research at the host campus. Sunset Reviews are not competitive.
Based on the Sunset Review Report and comments on the Sunset Review Report, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies approves continuation of the unit, implements changes in the structure or functioning of the unit, or recommends to the President disestablishment of the unit.
V.B.6. Disestablishment of Multicampus Research Units
An MRU that does not proactively request to be reviewed and have its term extended is automatically disestablished after the completion of its current five-year term. Normally, upon request, the MRU will be granted a one-year no-cost extension of its operation to permit an orderly termination or transfer of contractual obligations.
An MRU may also be disestablished as a result of a recommendation to disestablish that MRU. Such a recommendation may follow a five-year review, a Sunset Review, or other process of review established by the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies or the Vice Chancellor for Research of the host campus. If the disestablishment initiates at the host campus, the Vice Chancellor for Research submits the request for disestablishment to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies after review by appropriate Divisional Senate committees. The Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies refers any recommendation for disestablishment to the Chair of the Academic Council for comment by UCORP (the lead review committee), UCPB and CCGA.
In cases of disagreement about whether to disestablish an MRU, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, Chair of the Academic Council, and Vice Chancellor for Research of the campus will establish a process of adjudication; however, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies retains final authority for the decision to recommend disestablishment of an MRU to the President. After Presidential approval, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies informs the Chancellors and Chair of the Academic Council of the action.
Normally, upon request, an MRU which has been recommended for disestablishment will be granted a one-year no-cost extension of its operation to permit an orderly termination or transfer of contractual obligations.