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KUMC Policies for Research-Intensive Units at the University of Kansas Medical Center

Policy
Purpose: 

Programs, Centers, Institutes, and Cores are important for promoting the mission of the medical center in specialized areas such as research, instruction/education, training, service, outreach, administration, and clinical service, either alone or in combination.  Their activities support the needs of students, faculty, staff and the community, and attainment of their objectives may serve local, state, and/or national needs.

The current document focuses on entities whose primary mission is to advance the research agenda of KUMC. Programs, Centers, Institutes, and Cores (collectively referred to as Research-Intensive Units, or RIUs) usually arise from opportunity and/or need and may be funded from extramural sources.

Some RIUs (typically Centers and Institutes) may have consolidated space for some or all of their members, who represent faculty with mutual interests but from multiple departments and schools; this is intended to facilitate collaboration through proximity.  Because the RIUs perform functions central to the research mission of the Medical Center, it is essential that they be integrated within the existing university structure so that they operate efficiently, harmoniously and effectively.

Research-Intensive Units are intended to promote interdisciplinary research involving faculty and students within a given area. The purpose of such Units is to advance scientific investigation and in doing so facilitate efforts to obtain extramural funding and to achieve and maintain a national reputation for excellence.  They may also serve as a formalized link between the academic community and the professional community in the areas of focus.

Applies to: 

The current document focuses on entities whose primary mission is to advance the research agenda of KUMC.

Campus: 
Medical Center, Kansas City
Policy Statement: 

Definitions

The criteria and expectations of Centers, Institutes, Cores and Programs are specified in detail in the document, Defining research-intensive units at KUMC, but are outlined here in brief:

Program consists of multiple investigators joined by a common interest, who interact collaboratively to advance a specific area of research, thus increasing their competitiveness for funding and reputation.

Center comprises multiple interrelated research Programs and provides them with resources by way of scientific cores and other support mechanisms.  Centers are uniquely positioned to compete for federally sponsored center grants, which should be a primary objective.

An Institute represents an umbrella organization composed of multiple Centers and programs with common themes.  It serves as a unifier allowing the centers to speak with a common voice; as a coordinator to insure that the different Centers are optimizing effort and opportunity; as an integrator to advance interdisciplinary science and collaboration; and as a face of the broader discipline in matters of community outreach.

Core provides access to specialized equipment and highly trained staff to support the research efforts of a user base within Institutes, Centers, and the KUMC research community at large.  A core may be embedded in and/or affiliated with a Department, Center or Institute, or may be a free-standing entity.

Process for Establishing Programs, Centers, Institutes and Cores

New Programs, Centers, Institutes or Cores must be created with the approval of the School Executive Dean/Dean or the Executive Vice Chancellor as appropriate.  The process for obtaining approval is as follows:

  • A proposal to create a research-intensive unit will be submitted to the Executive Dean/Dean or EVC, as appropriate
  • The proposal will be submitted by a champion for the new unit, who may be the proposed unit director, another faculty member, or a department chair or center/institute director.
  • The proposal will provide the following:
  1. Name, contact information, and role of the submitting individual and, if known, name and contact information of the Unit Director if different from the submitter
  2. Name of the proposed Unit
  3. A statement describing the theme and/or function of the proposed Unit
  4. A mission statement
  5. A statement indicating why the unit is necessary, with documentation demonstrating that it is not duplicative of existing research units at KUMC
  6. Names and descriptions of the specific activities and/or services that will promote the selected area of research, together with any related educational and clinical activities
  7. A statement indicating who within the KUMC community will be served by the unit, and a description of the criteria that will be applied to determine membership and/or access to services
  8. A list of short term goals (one year)
  9. A list of long-term goals (5 years)
  10. A plan for achieving financial sustainability
  11. A budget that includes all sources of support, and indicating whether funds from the school or medical center are required.
  12. A statement regarding the physical location of the unit and whether new space is required
  13. An organizational chart accompanied by descriptions of all faculty and staff that will devote significant effort (e.g., >0.05FTE) to the operations of the unit
  14. A list of members or investigators served, their biosketches, and a list of funded research projects (including dates and funds) that will be served directly by the proposed research unit
  15. For centers and institutes, names and contact information of 5 qualified potential external reviewers
  16. Where appropriate, letters of support from potential members, users, and leaders within the scientific community
  • Upon receipt, the Executive Dean or Executive Vice Chancellor will appoint a committee consisting of directors of other Research Units, chairpersons of related departments, members of the School Research Committee, and other representatives of the Medical Center to evaluate the merits of the proposal.  External reviewers may be utilized.
  • The committee will evaluate the proposal with regard to how well it addresses the following criteria:
    • How well does the mission of the research unit align with the goals and objectives of the School, Medical Center, and University?
    • Is the unit necessary and not duplicative of other existing initiatives?
    • Will the unit effectively promote the selected area of research, together with any related educational and clinical activities?
    • Does the unit serve a critical mass of faculty, and is the collective quality of the research program served sufficiently high to justify the need?
    • Is the proposed organizational structure appropriate?
    • Are the available resources sufficient to accomplish the unit’s mission and goals?
    • Is the business plan for achieving sustainability practical and realistic?
  • A recommendation will be sent by the evaluation committee to the Executive Dean/Dean or Executive Vice Chancellor who will make the final decision.  The committee will also comment on how well the proposed unit aligns with the different types of Units described in the document entitled Defining Research-Intensive Units at KUMC.
  • The Executive Dean/Dean or Executive Vice Chancellor will announce the outcome of the evaluation to the proposed Unit director

Naming of Research-Intensive Units

In general, a research unit’s name should reflect the nature of its operations and be aligned with the RIU definition that applies most closely to its structure and operations.  Exceptions may occur; appropriate examples are that the unit was created through a federal funding mechanism where specific naming requirements are in place, or the entity is endowed by a donor with specific naming requirements.  Honorific naming of Research Units for an individual or a business entity must follow KU Policy (http://www.policy.ku.edu/provost/naming-university-facilities) and be consistent with Policy II A of the Kansas Board of Regents.

A name of the unit will be proposed by the unit director at the time of submission of the proposal.  This will be considered by the evaluating committee, who will recommend approval or an alternative name. The recommendation will be approved or, in some cases, may be modified by the Executive Dean/Dean or Executive Vice Chancellor, who will notify the unit director.  The Executive Dean/Dean or Executive Vice Chancellor will inform the Vice Chancellor for Administration of the decision to establish a new research unit, who will be responsible for ensuring that the unit appears in the appropriate databases and registries.

The name of an individual research unit may at times be at variance with the definitions outlined in Defining Research-Intensive Units at KUMC.  This may occur as a result of changes in membership, mission, scientific direction, funding, historical factors, etc.  Such variances will be identified in annual reviews, and recommendations will be made regarding appropriate changes to better align name with function.

Review of Existing Research Units

Existing Research Units will be reviewed annually to assess the robustness and sustainability of the unit, and progress toward mission and goals.  Progress will be measured against specific milestones defined in the prior years’ annual progress report and evaluation.  Where school or medical center resources are used in support of the unit, future resources will be allocated based on the health of the unit and achievement of milestones.

Additional reviews may be initiated periodically upon the order of the Executive Dean/Dean or Executive Vice Chancellor.  A committee chaired by the Vice Chancellor for Research or appropriate Dean will be convened.  This will be composed of senior leadership and may include external reviewers.  This committee will review and evaluate unit operations, as well as the performance of the director.  Recommendations for unit continuation, modification, or in some cases, dissolution will be made to the EVC or dean as appropriate.

Operational Responsibilities

The RIU director is responsible for all operations. The director serves at the pleasure of and reports to the Executive Dean/Dean, Executive Vice Chancellor, Chair, Center or Institute Director as appropriate.  The RIU director, with advice from internal and/or external advisory committees, is responsible for defining the overall direction of the unit and assuring that the performance of the unit is optimal.  The director is responsible for ensuring that unit staff perform at high levels in discharging their duties.  The Director ensures that unit resources are sufficient and aligned with the mission of the unit.  Where space is assigned to a RIU, the director is responsible for administering that space so it is used optimally and in accord with the mission of the unit.  The director will make periodic reports to the supervising authority, not less than annually, on the operations of the unit, with copies to the Vice Chancellor for Research or Associate Dean for Research.  The director is responsible for preparing materials for annual evaluations and for representing the unit in those evaluations.  Unit directors may have reduced teaching and service commitments, and also may receive remuneration as an administrative salary cap proportionate to effort devoted to the position for as long as they serve as director.

The unit director on an annual basis will review each member’s individual performance regarding their contributions to the research mission and objectives of the Institute, Center or Program.  The chair of the home department, prior to annual departmental review, should receive a statement from the director concerning the activities, participation and performance of their faculty in the RIU’s activities.  This information should be included in the annual departmental review and should factor into the assessment of their research performance and compensation plan including salary adjustments.  Recommendations for promotion and tenure of faculty will be initiated by the primary appointment department chairperson in consultation with the RIU director, and in accordance with institutional policies and procedures.

Contact: 

Senior Associate Dean for Research
KUMC School of Medicine 

Approved by: 
Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Friday, May 8, 2015
Effective on: 
Monday, May 25, 2015
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Definitions: 

Program consists of multiple investigators joined by a common interest, who interact collaboratively to advance a specific area of research, thus increasing their competitiveness for funding and reputation.

Center comprises multiple interrelated research Programs and provides them with resources by way of scientific cores and other support mechanisms.  Centers are uniquely positioned to compete for federally sponsored center grants, which should be a primary objective.

An Institute represents an umbrella organization composed of multiple Centers and programs with common themes.  It serves as a unifier allowing the centers to speak with a common voice; as a coordinator to insure that the different Centers are optimizing effort and opportunity; as an integrator to advance interdisciplinary science and collaboration; and as a face of the broader discipline in matters of community outreach.

Core provides access to specialized equipment and highly trained staff to support the research efforts of a user base within Institutes, Centers, and the KUMC research community at large.  A core may be embedded in and/or affiliated with a Department, Center or Institute, or may be a free-standing entity.

Keywords: 
RIU, center, core, institute
Review, Approval & Change History: 

09/08/2017: Updated contact title.

08/24/2017: Updated.

04/25/2017: posted in library.

 

Research and Sponsored Projects Category: 
Research and Sponsored Projects

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