The University of Alabama, Research & Economic Development

Board of Trustee-Designated Research Institutes and Centers Policy

Unit:  Research and Economic Development
Contact: Russell J. Mumper, Ph.D.
Title:  Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Effective Date:  11/18/2020
Revision Date: 12/09/2020


 
 

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to further define Board of Trustees (BOT)-designated research institutes and centers at UA consistent with Board Rule 503

Policy

Comprehensive research-intensive universities have strong institutes and centers that serve to invite and coalesce faculty, staff and students from many different departments around a profound research topic or theme. Such institutes and centers are a conduit for the university to address grand challenges and provide solutions and innovations to an extent not possible in its absence. 

Board Rule 503 titled “Academic, Research, Service, and Administrative Units” pertains to campus-based institutes and centers. Board Rule 503 generally defines an institute or center, three criteria for establishment, the steps required for obtaining approval, and the requirement for periodic review. Board Rule 503 addresses three types of institutes or centers: research, instruction, and service. 

  1. A BOT-designated research institute or center is defined as a unit in which the predominate mission is research. While a BOT-designated research institute or center may also pursue an instructional or service mission, such missions are minor relative to its research mission. 
  2. All BOT-designated research institutes and centers are under the overall purview of the Office for Research and Economic Development and the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.
  3. An official list of BOT-designated research institutes and centers is to be maintained by ORED.
  4. A BOT-designated research center may report to the Dean of a college/school or to the Office for Research and Economic Development.
  5. A BOT-designated research institute will normally report to the Office for Research and Economic Development. However, existing institutes reporting to the Dean of a college/school on the effective date of this policy will continue to report to the same college/school. 
  6. Proposals for the development and approval of BOT-designated research institutes and centers must be reviewed and approved by ORED consistent with Part A of this policy.
  7. ORED will establish a process for annual and on-going review of BOT-designated Research Institutes and Centers consistent with Part B of this policy.
  8. Changes and discontinuation of BOT-designated research institutes and centers requires review and approval consistent with Part C of this policy.

Part A. Criteria for the Development and Approval of BOT-designated Research Institutes and Centers

ORED will maintain “ORED Guidelines and Procedures for BOT-designated Research Institutes and Centers.” Consistent with the expectations and requirements of Board of Trustees Rule 503, there are three overarching criteria for the development and approval of BOT-designated Research Institutes and Centers:

  1. Purpose: A BOT-designated research institute or center must:
  2. have a clearly defined primary purpose related to UA's research mission.
  3. articulate and address grand challenge(s) and provide solutions and innovations to an extent not possible in its absence.
  4. be substantially unique to existing or future institutes and centers.
  5. have multidisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary participation from core and/or affiliated faculty and describe how faculty participation is determined at establishment and over time.
  6. articulate its goals, and provide a description of how measurement, assessment, and documentation of the achievements of the goals will be achieved.
  7. Resources: A BOT-designated research institute or center must:
  8. have an annual and three-year budget showing source of funds (including, but not limited to, federal, state, and private funds) and planned expenses.
  9. have sufficient human and physical resources to achieve its state purpose at the time of development.
  10. clearly demonstrate that it has a plan and capacity to grow and sustain its growth consistent with the expectations defined in “ORED Guidelines and Procedures for BOT-designated Research Institutes and Centers.”

III. Organization: A BOT-designated research institute or center must:

  1. have an identified director (or a clear plan to identify one prior to submission to the Board) with sufficient qualifications and experience.
  2. through a clear organizational chart, depict a clear reporting relationship to a college/school, institute director, vice president, and ORED.
  3. provide all necessary letters of support and commitment including but not limited to the Dean(s), when appropriate.
  4. have a structure that enables the institute or center to apply for and receive significant external funding such as grants and contracts consistent with the expectations defined in “ORED Guidelines and Procedures for BOT-designated Research Institutes and Centers.”
  5. list any internal and/or external advisory boards, its role, and all members. Such boards may not have financial, governing, or hiring authority.

Part B. Annual and On-Going Review BOT-designated Research Institutes and Centers

  1. All BOT-designated research institutes and centers must submit an annual report of progress to the UA official to whom the institute or center director reports to (e.g., Dean(s)) and from there to ORED. ORED will establish procedures for the content and timing of the annual report in “ORED Guidelines and Procedures for BOT-designated Research Institutes and Centers.”
  2. All BOT-designated research institutes and centers are subject to critical review every five years by ORED.
  3. The five-year review will be carried out as detailed in “ORED Guidelines and Procedures for BOT-designated Research Institutes and Centers” and this review will supersede and replace all other reviews.
  4. The annual report and five-year review will inform potential changes to and discontinuation of institutes and centers.

Part C. Changes to and Discontinuation of BOT-designated Research Institutes and Centers

  1. Any proposed change or substantial alteration including mission, scope and name change of an existing BOT-designated institute or center must have the support of the associated Dean(s), when appropriate and be reviewed and approved first by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (with sufficient consultation of key stakeholders) and then by the President.
  2. Any BOT-designated research institute or center may be discontinued based on the recommendation of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (with sufficient consultation of key stakeholders) to the President. The Board of Trustees will be informed of the proposed discontinuation and will make the final decision as to whether discontinuation will proceed.

Scope

This policy applies to all faculty members, staff, students, and all other personnel associated with UA who are involved in creating research institutes and centers as well as those who are currently participating in existing research institutes and centers.

References

 
 

Office for Research and Economic Development

Approved by Russell J. Mumper, Ph.D, Vice President for Research and Economic Development, 12/09/2020