University of California, San Diego


June 11, 2008


SUBJECT:    Request for Proposals to Establish New Organized
Research Units (ORUs). Instructions for the 2008-09 Academic Year

During the 2007-08 academic year, a Joint Senate-Administration Task Force reviewed the campus's Organized Research Units (ORUs) with the objective of making the ORU portfolio more dynamic. The report of this ORU Task Force is now available at http://research.ucsd.edu/documents/ORUTaskforce%20Report_Final_December2007.pdf. The final stage in the review process is an updating of the General Campus Organized Research Unit Policies & Procedures document, which can be accessed at http://research.ucsd.edu/documents/orus/procedure_manual.pdf, to reflect the recommendations of the Task Force and the response from the campus to the report. The process of revising this document will take place over the next academic year.

In the interim, the Academic Senate's Committee on Research (COR) has encouraged the Office of Research Affairs to streamline the process and provide instructions for proposers of new ORUs for the 2008-09 academic year, recognizing that these instructions may change for subsequent academic years after the Policies & Procedures document has been revised. Therefore, for the 2008-09 academic year we ask that all ORU proposals conform to the following cycle:

A letter of intent identifying the research focus of any proposed ORU, along with the key faculty and researcher leadership, is requested by 1 October 2008. A complete proposal will then be due at the Office of Research Affairs (ORA) on 1 November 2008. At this stage detailed budgets are not requested, but potential funding and space needs should be identified.

These first-stage ORU proposals will be reviewed by the ORA and by Senate committees for their intellectual merit. The proposers of the most meritorious first-stage proposals will then be asked to submit a modified proposal by 1 February 2009 that includes detailed budget information, again to be reviewed by the ORA and Senate committees. While funding of new ORUs is subject to review by the SVCAA and the VC Research, it is the intent that ORUs that are successful in this process will be launched with appropriate fiscal support on 1 July 2009. We feel that this structured sequence of review will provide more efficient feedback and will reduce the workload on everyone involved.

Proposals in any area of interdisciplinary scholarship of interest to the UCSD community are welcomed. The proposal should clearly identify the interdisciplinary research opportunities that would be captured by the creation of the proposed ORU, and should make a compelling case that these opportunities cannot be adequately addressed by existing academic units and organizations. Excellence at the national and international level is expected of ORUs and, as the organization matures, should be recognized by scholars working in the domain of the ORU. Other recommended criteria are discussed in the Task Force report noted above.

Faculty who are considering responding to this opportunity are encouraged to contact Associate Vice Chancellor for Research George Tynan (gtynan@ucsd.edu, 534-5556).

Arthur B. Ellis
Vice Chancellor -