Special Research Program Guidelines

Definition and Purpose

Special Research Programs (SRPs) exist at UC Irvine to provide a structure for collaborative research activities that do not fit the definition and purpose of an Organized Research Unit, a Campus Center, or a School Center. An SRP may, for example, be formed in response to a special funding opportunity, as the campus branch of a University of California research program, or as part of a federal or state governmental initiative. SRPs may be established for three or five years or, in special circumstances, an indefinite period.

The Office of the President's Administrative Policies and Procedures Concerning Organized Research Units specify that the term "Center" may be used for research units not formally constituted as Organized Research Centers (ORUs). An SRP that is based exclusively at UC Irvine may, therefore, use the title “Center”. An SRP that is a branch of a University of California research program may use whatever title has been designated systemwide.

Establishment and Administrative Procedures

Designation as a Special Research Program is approved by the Vice Chancellor for Research, in consultation with the Academic Senate Council on Research, Computing, and Libraries (CORCL).

The research goals of the SRP should complement the academic goals of the University. Faculty loosely organized around a common set of research problems do not constitute an SRP.

An SRP may not be established if its objectives are essentially the same as those of an existing department or research unit.

Generally the establishment or renewal date for SRPs will be January 1 or July 1.

Appointment of Director

The Director of an SRP must be a tenured faculty member and is generally appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research.

The Director reports to the Vice Chancellor for Research and is responsible for the administrative functions of the SRP, as well as for guidance of the unit's activities in accordance with its established goals. The Director is reviewed at the same time as the SRP.

Administrative Operations

Faculty affiliated with SRPs are expected to follow all University of California policies and the policies set forth by their respective academic departments related to academic responsibilities, including teaching workload, faculty commitment of effort, faculty compensation, honoraria, travel, and sabbatical leave. The SRP reports to the Vice Chancellor for Research and must follow administrative review and approval processes set forth by the Vice Chancellor and/or campus policy. All employment opportunities in a Special Research Program will be created and filled in accordance with University policies and procedures, and with full awareness of the normally finite life of an SRP.

An SRP does not have jurisdiction over courses or curricula and cannot offer formal courses for credit. It may perform other academic functions ordinarily carried out by departments of instruction and Organized Research Units; that is, organize research conferences and meetings, advise on graduate curricula, support graduate research, and manage training programs in conjunction with departments of instruction. It may employ graduate students and conduct other administrative activities in the pursuit of its goals.

In support of the University’s commitment to attaining excellence through diversity, every SRP is expected to maintain an environment that values differences and is free from discrimination and harassment.

Application and Review Procedures

An SRP may be proposed by any group of faculty members. They should first consider the appropriateness of a proposal to establish a School Center, a Campus Center, or an Organized Research Unit.

Periodic reviews of SRPs will be conducted in consultation with the Academic Senate Council on Research, Computing, and Libraries (CORCL). The review will assess the SRP’s activities with regard to the stated purpose, present functioning, and future plans. The SRP will be evaluated for its scholarly and scientific contributions and within the context of campus priorities, similar to the review of an Organized Research Unit.

When a program review is concluded with the continuation of the SRP for an additional term, any suggestions or comments that the Vice Chancellor feels may be helpful in planning for the next term will be communicated in writing to the SRP Director.  The Director will be asked to respond to those comments in the next annual report.

In addition to the program review by CORCL, each SRP will periodically undergo an administrative review. This review of the management and operations of the SRP may take place before a leadership transition, such as when a new Director is appointed, or in conjunction with a regularly scheduled SRP program review.

Budget and Financial Considerations

Activities of SRPs may be funded by University budget allocations, from extramural funds, or both. Funding allocations from the Office of Research, if any, will be based on the fiscal year, July 1st to June 30th.

Annual Reports

At the end of each academic year, SRPs shall submit to the Vice Chancellor for Research an annual report that includes:

  1. Numbers of graduate and postdoctoral scholars directly contributing to the unit who: a) are on the unit's payroll; b) participate through assistantships, fellowships or traineeships; or c) are otherwise involved in the unit's work.
  2. Number of faculty members actively engaged in the SRP’s research or its administration.
  3. Extent of participation by students and faculty from other campuses.
  4. Numbers of FTE of professional, technical, administrative and clerical personnel employed.
  5. A list of publications resulting from the collaborative endeavors of the SRP.
  6. Sources and amounts (on an annual basis) of support funds, including income from the sale of publications and from other services.
  7. Expenditures, distinguishing use of funds for administrative support, matching funds, direct research and other specific uses. A copy of the June 30th Final Ledger will satisfy this requirement.
  8. Description of the space currently occupied.
  9. Any other information deemed relevant to the evaluation of a unit's effectiveness, including updated plans.

Inquiries and Questions

Requests for consideration as an SRP should be directed to:

Vice Chancellor for Research
Office of Research
160 Aldrich Hall
University of California
Irvine, CA 92697-3175

Questions About Special Research Programs?

Jill Yonago Kay
Director, Research Policy
(949) 824-1410