University Research Units, Including Organized Research Units

Handbook of Operating Procedures 7-1030

University Research Units, Including Organized Research Units

The University of Texas at Austin
Executive Sponsor: Vice President for Research
February 5, 2008

 


 

  1. Policy Statement

The University of Texas at Austin is dedicated to the enhancement and support of interdisciplinary and other research activities through the establishment of University Research Units and Organized Research Units.

 

  1. Purpose of University Research Units, including Organized Research Units

University Research Units (URUs) are created to enhance the research activities of the University. A URU is established to provide support for interdisciplinary research that complements the academic goals of departments of instruction and research. Organized Research Units (ORUs) are a subset of URUs that conforms to the formal policies and criteria in The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 40602 "Organized Research Units." ORUs are typically referred to as institutes, laboratories, or centers.

 

  1. Organizational Structure of University Research Units and Organized Research Units

University Research Units report to the Executive Vice President and Provost through the Dean or to the Vice President for Research. If the disciplines are contained within a single college or school, the URUs ordinarily report through the dean of that college or school, to the Executive Vice President and Provost, as designated by the President. If the URU is multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary or supports research in a wide variety of areas, it most generally would report to the Vice President for Research. The director and any associate directors of URUs are appointed by the Executive Vice President and Provost or the Vice President for Research.

 

Organized Research Units (ORUs) are a subset of URUs, and ORUs established after January 2007 with an anticipated annual budget of at least $3,000,000 shall conform to the policies and criteria governing the establishment of ORUs found in the Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 40602 "Organized Research Units." This requires that each of these ORUs shall have an advisory committee/council that assists the director in setting the unit’s goals and may be asked to provide critical evaluation of the ORU’s effectiveness on a continuing basis. The creation of an advisory committee/council must be approved by the UT System Board of Regents in accordance with the Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 60302 "Advisory Councils of an Institution." Proposals to name an ORU for an individual or entity must comply with the provisions of the Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 80307 "Naming Policy," which relates to honorific and gift-related namings, and should be recommended through the appropriate channels to the President of the University.

 

  1. Functions of University Research Units

The functions of URUs are to:

 

  1. Facilitate research and research collaborations.
  1. Disseminate research results through conferences, meetings, and other activities.
  1. Support and strengthen graduate and undergraduate education by providing students with training opportunities and access to facilities.
  1. Seek extramural research funds.
  1. Carry out University and public service programs related to a URU's research expertise.
  1. Designation of University Research Units

URUs normally carry a designation as Institute, Laboratory, or Center. The historic practice on campus for URUs has not made a clear distinction between these various designations. However, in the future, units included as formal ORUs under the Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 40602 "Organized Research Units," will carry one of the designations listed and defined below:

 

  1. Institute. A major unit that coordinates and promotes faculty and student research on a continuing basis over an area that extends across departments, schools, colleges, or campus boundaries. The unit enhances and supports broad-based research efforts. The unit may also engage in public service activities stemming from its research program, within the limits of its stated objectives.
  1. Laboratory. A non-departmental organization that establishes and maintains facilities for research in several departments, sometimes with the help of full-time research staff appointed in accordance with institutional policy. A laboratory in which substantially all participating faculty members are from the same academic department is a departmental laboratory or URU and not an ORU.
  1. Center. A unit that furthers research in a designated field or a unit that is engaged primarily in providing research facilities for other units and departments. Centers with anticipated annual budgets of at least $3,000,000, representing the sum of research grants and contracts managed through the Center’s operations as well as institutional and other funding, are in this category.

A center may be identified primarily with one discipline; it may be clearly multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary; or it may support research in a wide variety of areas. Some centers are supported largely from appropriated funds; others receive no direct support from appropriated funds, depending entirely on sponsorship by outside agencies and foundations. Whatever the source of support, there should be a clear need for some number of faculty members to work together in a single administrative unit to carry out a more effective research program.

 

  1. Procedures for the Establishment of a University Research Unit

Faculty seeking to establish a new URU should submit a request to the Executive Vice President and Provost who will review and approve requests in consultation with the Vice President for Research. The request should carry the endorsement of the relevant deans and departmental chairs. The following information should be included:

 

  1. The purpose and the benefit of the URU to the University.
  1. The proposed administrative organization (faculty members and other participants).
  1. The research and other activity plans.
  1. Space requirements.
  1. The financial support required and the source of funds.
  1. The importance of the research unit to graduate education.
  1. Any external service functions of the research unit.
  1. Annual Reports for Organized Research Units

All ORUs must submit a report annually to the Vice President for Research giving an account of research or other activities. The Vice President for Research shall submit the reports to the UT System’s Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

 

  1. Procedures for the Periodic Review of University Research Units

Periodic review of URUs, including all ORUs, is necessary to ensure consistency with institutional goals and priorities and the institution’s need to sustain a capacity to innovate. Each URU, including all ORUs, shall be reviewed every six (6) years.

 

An ad hoc committee shall be formed to assess the URU's original goals and objectives, its present functioning, recent accomplishments, future plans, adequacy of space and budget allocations, and future prospects to contribute to the institution’s vision and mission. The ad hoc committee’s report will be forwarded through the appropriate reporting channel to the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Vice President for Research. These two vice presidents, in consultation with others, will determine whether the URU should continue, be phased out, or be discontinued.

 

  1. Termination of a University Research Unit

A URU may be terminated by the Executive Vice President and Provost or the Vice President for Research at any time.

 

For Assistance. Questions regarding this policy may be directed to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost (512-471-4363) or the Office of the Vice President for Research (512-471-2877)

 

Source: UT System Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations, Rule 40602 "Organized Research Units"

 

Previously HOP 11.C.1