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Research Institutes & Centers

GUIDELINES & PROCEDURES FOR INSTITUTES & CENTERS

PURPOSE AND SCOPE

This document delineates the guidelines and procedures for planning, establishing, reviewing, and discontinuing research institutes and centers at The University of Alabama in support of the policy titled “Policy for Establishment and Periodic Review of Board of Trustee-Designated Research Institutes and Centers” (i.e., The Policy). This document supersedes and replaces all current guidelines and procedures including those at the unit level (i.e., college, school or institute). The development of these guidelines and procedures utilizes guidance provided by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees, Rule 503 and best practice standards. This is a dynamic document and is subject to revision on an as needed basis.

Designation as a research institute or center signifies an organizational representation of UA’s significant programmatic research capacity. Therefore, we reserve such designations only for those institutes and centers that have complied with the policy and guidelines and procedures. Institutes and centers that do not comply with these policies and procedures may not refer to themselves, directly or implied, as either a “research institute” or a “research center.”

While Board Rule 503 covers all academic, research, service, and administrative units, these guidelines and procedures herein only seek to address those institutes and centers that are designated research institutes and centers, whether they report directly to ORED or indirectly through the dean of a college or school. Currently recognized BOT-designated research institutes and centers are listed at the end of this document. This list will be maintained by the Office for Research & Economic Development.

OVERSIGHT

There will be two committees that are charged with oversight of establishing and periodic review of Board of Trustee-Designated Institutes and Centers.

  • The Research Institutes and Centers Development Review Committee is an ad hoc committee formed for the review of a single application. Members are appointed at the discretion of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (VPRED) in consultation with the Dean(s), when appropriate, and evaluate the merit of a proposal for the creation of a single BOT-designated research institute or center. The membership will include a mixture of representatives from ORED, ADRs, and faculty with related expertise. This Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the VPRED.
  • The Research Institutes and Centers Evaluation Committee is an ORED standing committee and oversees the review of the performance and continued viability of existing research centers. Committee members are appointed on a rotational basis by the VPRED in consultation with the Dean(s), when appropriate, and also include a mixture of representatives from ORED, ADRs, and faculty. Additional members may be added to this committee on an ad hoc basis due to their content expertise. These separate review mechanisms are being created to reduce the probability of conflict of interest. This Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the VPRED and members are typically appointed for a three-year term at the discretion of the VPRED.

Establishing and Periodic Review of Board of Trustee-Designated Institutes and Centers

ORED seeks to facilitate the development of new research initiatives that cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries. One effective way of doing this is through the creation of multi-investigator collaborative institutes and centers.

PART A. Criteria for the Development and Approval of BOT-designated Research Institute or Centers

The Research Institutes and Centers Development Review Committee will evaluate the request and other factors effecting the creation of such a center or institute and make a recommendation to VPRED. The VPRED will determine whether to (1) approve the request to establish and forward it to the President who will then decide whether to forward to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees for final approval or (2) deny the request and communicate that decision to those submitting the proposal.

The person or team proposing the institute or center will submit to ORED a written proposal that includes the following information as described in the Policy titled “Policy for Establishment and Periodic Review of Board of Trustee-Designated Research Institutes and Centers.” It is recommended that proposals are received by ORED at least two months prior to the deadline for adding agenda items to a designated meeting date of the Board of Trustees.

All proposals to establish a BOT-designated Research Institute or Center must address the components listed in Part A of the Policy.

Additional criteria to be considered in establishing a research institute or center.

  • “Core and/or affiliated faculty.” Ideally, the proposed institute or center should have at least 12-15 core and/or affiliated faculty from multiple departments and two or more colleges or schools.
  • “Significant external funding.” Ideally, the proposed institute or center and core and/or affiliated faculty are collectively bringing in about $3 million in external resources at the time the proposal is submitted, or have the clear potential to do within 2-3 years.

Additional information can be included as well as appendices. In general, proposals to establish an institute or center are about 10-15 pages not including any appendices.

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

According to the Policy, 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., their Dean) and from there to ORED. In addition, all BOT-designated research institutes and centers are subject to critical review every five years by ORED.

Annual Report. On or about June 1 of each year, the ORED distributes a notice that research institute and center annual reports will be due to ORED by July 1 of that same year. If the institute or center reports through a Dean or Alabama Research Institute Executive Director then the report must go through that reporting channel and then to ORED. If the institute or center reports to the VPRED then the report is submitted directly.

The specific outline and the Report Data Submission template to be used in preparing the report is included in the annual notice. ORED expects that these reports should be no more than 10 pages in length.

Five-Year Critical Review of Institutes and Centers and its Director. The ORED Research Institutes and Centers Evaluation Committee will oversee and coordinate a five-year review of the institute or center and its director as outlined in the Policy. This review will supersede and replace all such reviews at the unit level (i.e., college, school, or institute). The Committee is to complete the institute’s and center’s review within the respective academic year. These reviews are integral to the SACSCOC reaccreditation process and they drive ORED’s investment decisions.

The overarching objective of the five-year review is to assess whether or not the institute or center is satisfying the three overarching criteria for BOT-designated research institutes and centers as required in the “Policy for Establishment and Periodic Review of Board of Trustee-Designated Research Institutes and Centers.” However, the VPRED in consultation with the Dean(s), when appropriate, may ask that the Committee address additional factors as well.

On or about August 15th each year ORED notifies all directors of institutes and centers, as well as their respective Dean(s), when appropriate, that are scheduled for review in the current academic year. In this notice will be the directions for self-study, including review of the prior annual reports from the last four years. The notice will also contain an invitation to the director to submit suggestions for potential ad hoc faculty reviewers who do not belong to the institutes and centers under review. Additionally, the notice will clarify the procedures for the review, and provide a deadline for receipt of the self-study and a timeline for other activities.

Upon completion of the review, the Committee will provide a copy of the final report to the VPRED and institute’s or center’s director and the associated Dean(s), when appropriate, and this will include a recommendation as to the status of the institute or center. ORED will provide copies of all written materials pertaining to the review to the Office of Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness.

One year after completion of the review, the institute or center Director must submit a follow-up report to their respective Dean(s), when appropriate, and ORED with an update on progress made in response to the 5-year review and recommendations.

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

According to the Policy, 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 Economic Development (with sufficient consultation of key stakeholders) and then by the President. The ORED will provide a form and guidelines for this purpose upon request. It is recommended that proposals for such changes be received by ORED at least one month prior to the deadline for adding agenda items to a designated meeting date of the Board of Trustees.

The recommendation for the discontinuance of an institute or center may arise from either the Dean with oversight of an institute or center or the VPRED. If this occurs by a Dean’s recommendation, a formal request must be sent to the VPRED. If the VPRED determines, after consultation with appropriate Dean(s) or other parties, that the institute or center warrants discontinuation, he/she will take appropriate action and ask the President to forward such recommendation to the Chancellor and BOT as an information item.

CURRENTLY RECOGNIZED BOT-DESIGNATED RESEARCH INSTITUTES & CENTERS

OFFICE FOR RESEARCH & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  1. Alabama Cyber Institute
  2. Alabama Life Research Institute
  3. Center for Convergent Bioscience and Medicine (Alabama Life Research Institute)
  4. Alabama Transportation Institute
  5. Transportation Policy Research Center (Alabama Transportation Institute)
  6. Alabama Water Institute
  7. Global Water Security Center (Alabama Water Institute)
  8. Alabama Analytical Research Center
  9. Alabama Mobility and Power Center (Alabama Transportation Institute)

COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES

  1. Alabama Research Institute on Aging
  2. Center for Freshwater Studies
  3. Center for Innovative Research in Autism
  4. Center for Sedimentary Basin Studies
  5. Center for Youth Development and Intervention
  6. Institute for Social Science Research

COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATION & INFORMATION SCIENCES

  1. Institute for Communication and Information Research

COLLEGE OF COMMUNITY HEALTH SCIENCES

  1. Institute for Rural Health Research

CULVERHOUSE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

  1. Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research
  2. Center for Business and Economic Research
  3. Institute of Data and Analytics

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

  1. Center for Interconnected Behavioral and Mental Health Systems

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

  1. Center for Advanced Public Safety
  2. Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies
  3. Center for Complex Hydrosystems Research
  4. Center for Sustainable Infrastructure
  5. Center for Water Quality Research
  6. Integrative Center for Athletic and Sport Technology
  7. Manufacturing at the Point of Need Center
  8. Remote Sensing Center
  9. Center for Transportation Operations, Planning, and Safety

COLLEGE OF HUMAN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

  1. Child Development Research Center

COLLEGE OF NURSING

  1. Center for Substance Use Research and Related Conditions