UCOP Systemwide Research Portfolio Review Group

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In early 2014, the Portfolio Review Group (PRG) completed its charge and submitted its final recommendations from their review of the systemwide research portfolio to the Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies (Vice President).  The PRG recommended that selected systemwide research programs reviewed develop a plan for increasing systemwide research engagement, research collaboration, and research participation.  This recommendation, intended to enhance each program’s value throughout the system, would allow programs to examine opportunities to increase both intercampus participation and collaboration and to expand interdisciplinary research in a manner appropriate for each program.  As part of this strategic planning effort, programs should provide meaningful, program-specific definitions of each of the three areas along with measurable goals and proposed metrics that will track progress at the systemwide level.  Program strategic plans can be found here.

The Vice President and UCOP leadership are evaluating the PRG’s recommendations as one of several key factors used to determine the best use of UC’s research funding once its fiscal health for the coming year is known.  Currently, no decisions have been made regarding the funding for any of the programs included in the research portfolio.  


The UC Office of President (UCOP) provides limited funds to support UC-wide programs and initiatives across all fields of scholarship that might benefit from collaborative work.  

These investments can range from small initiatives that reach across campuses to combine ideas, expertise or resources, to large shared-infrastructure projects that can leverage UC's influence and resources to benefit research throughout the system.  

With ten campuses, five medical centers, and over twenty-five thousand faculty and research employees, UC can launch and advance unique research efforts that can do more for our campuses, students, and the world we live in.

The Portfolio Review Group was established in response to recommendations made by the Task Force on the University-wide Research Principles, Processes and Assessment (PPA Task Force; see the task force report (pdf) for detailed recommendations).  This group was convened in FY 2011-12 to examine current principles and processes that guide UCOP-funded research programs, and recommend a comprehensive framework to guide future decision-making and assessment of UCOP research investments.

The Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies commissioned the PRG to incorporate campus-wide perspectives and input into a new process for evaluating and optimizing UCOP research investments.  The PRG was comprised of senior research administrators and distinguished faculty members representing each of the ten campuses, with representation across a broad range of roles and academic disciplines, with an emphasis on individuals with a deep knowledge of research.  The PRG’s purpose was to:

  • Provide advice to the Vice President on the overall value and unique purpose of the systemwide research portfolio to the University and the State of California.
  • Assess the current mix of research investments and provide recommendations for how to improve UC’s return on those investments.
  • Advise the Vice President on strategies for growing or evolving UC investments in systemwide research to strengthen and/or balance the research portfolio.

To accomplish this charge, the PRG reviewed information provided by program directors and evaluated programs based on a set of principles for systemwide research previously developed by the PPA Task Force.  During its early term, the PRG had strong input into the development and refinement of UCOP processes and frameworks for evaluating systemwide research investments, and provided the Vice President with its recommendations in two reports delivered in January and February 2014.  The PRG provided a final report to the Vice President in April 2014 with recommendations for maintaining a vibrant and balanced research portfolio moving forward.

For more detail, see the full Portfolio Review Group Charge (pdf), the Alignment Considerations (pdf), the PRG Cycle 1 Final Report (pdf), the PRG Cycle 2 Final Report (pdf), and the PRG Observations on the Systemwide Research Portfolio (pdf).