Contact Research

Office of Research

Office of Research & Economic Development
vpresearch@uidaho.edu
phone: 208-885-6689

Physical Location
Morrill Hall 105

Mailing Address
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3010
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-3010

Application & Review Process FAQs

If you have an additional question not addressed in the FAQs, please use the form below or email them directly to vpresearch@uidaho.edu.
        
Questions & Comments:
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FAQs

  • Why a new process and who approved it?
    The development of this process was guided by several important concepts: simplicity, accountability, transparency, and efficiency. Our current processes needed improvement in these areas in order to grow our research program.

    By developing this process, we can better work across a wide range of potential organizational units. This will help develop our interdisciplinary abilities while also stimulating creativity by promoting interactions across boundaries.

    The idea to address the proliferation of institutes, centers, special programs and the unevenness of their performance over time emerged during the University’s most recent Request for Innovations (RFI) Process, which involved faculty, staff and administrators. The process for how to address the issue is one of the outputs of the eight comprehensive strategies initiated last year by former President Nellis.

    At the request of former President Nellis, a group of faculty, administrators, and staff worked on the initiative entitled, “Growing Research and Scholarship by Instituting Institutes, Centers and Core Facilities.” The group’s ideas were submitted to Provost’s Council for review and improvement, enhanced by the provost and executive vice president, and the vice president for research and economic development and with final review by the president.
  • How is this process supposed to help us?
    As the University of Idaho continues to combine large research programs now being offered by many funding organizations with those projects conducted by individuals, it is necessary to experiment with ways that facilitate teams and networks of faculty both on and off our campuses. In today’s research and outreach world there is an expectation that partner organizations will employ flexible approaches that bring together needed expertise. Often this requires interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary efforts that necessitate the crossing of departmental, college or other boundaries.

    Level I, II, and III entities provide an organizational vehicle to facilitate such boundary crossing efforts. These large-scale complex projects involve more risk and require careful oversight and attention to fiscal management. Likewise, it is essential for us as an institution to understand the level and kind of progress being made by an entity.

    The requirement for entities to produce an annual report addressing their progress and performance provides the University community with essential information upon which to base decisions. Additionally, it provides a formal mechanism for new and creative ideas to come forward for consideration, and once approved, gain support and recognition.
  • What do you really expect to gain from doing this?
    The intent is for all those involved to gain: the faculty and staff members, academic units and their students, colleges, the entity itself and the University. First, by providing groups of faculty, and in some cases staff, with the opportunity to pursue their scholarly and creative interests, the greatest amount of individual productivity will be gained, thus enhancing the reputation of the University as well as those involved.

    Academic programs that become involved in the scholarly activity of an entity have the potential to gain, since research, outreach and engagement opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students are an expected part of an entity’s activities. Colleges will benefit if appropriate financial planning is done from the onset, which insures faculty time invested in an entity is covered by sponsored projects, thus freeing state supported salaries that can be used for other purposes such as hosting visiting scholars, providing for postdoctoral fellows to engage in a wider spectrum of academic activities, etc.

    Additionally, by having full and part-time directors of institutes, centers, etc., the potential to attract funding and build strong stakeholder relationships will be increased.
  • Do interdisciplinary degree programs need to apply for entity status?

    Not necessarily. An academic degree program alone does not qualify for Level I, II or III entity status. A degree program alone would reside within the existing Academic Affairs structure. It is expected however that there be a coupling of academic programs and the scholarly work of entities. In some instances it may make sense that an interdisciplinary degree be with a Level II or Level III entity. If this is the case, the deans that comprise the advisory board of the entity would also be responsible for oversight administration of the degree program(s).

  • Is this new structure applicable to just research institutes and centers?
    It applies to all entities that advance the many forms of peer-validated scholarship. The scholarship of research, pedagogy, artistic creativity, integration, outreach and engagement come in the form of many activities. The commonality is that to be considered scholarly and creative activity, they must involve active communication and validation through an appropriate peer-review process. Further information can be found at FSH 1560 c-2
  • Will all entities be treated equally? (If not, why not?)
    No, there are three levels of entities with corresponding levels of expectations, which have been defined. View Level Definitions
  • Do all currently existing centers and institutes have to apply and be approved to retain their current status?
    Named institutes and centers are exempt from this process. By named institute or center, we mean one that was created because of a gift or endowment. Examples include the Martin Institute and the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research. However, we’re encouraging these organizations to adopt our procedures as appropriate. Some service and teaching centers may also be exempt. If you are unsure of the status of an institute or center please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development vpresearch@uidaho.edu.
  • Will our advisory boards have a say in this process?

    All relevant existing advisory boards are being notified of this process and encouraged to participate. Input from stakeholders concerning what kind of entities might be useful to them can be an important consideration in developing a proposal. During the process for establishing and evaluating entities there are places where input and support from stakeholders will be necessary to add strength to a proposed entity. In fact, the strategic business plan requires proposed entities to develop advisory boards and regularly engage them.

  • When will we know the results of the review process?
    If you are an existing entity (Level II, III) you will know the results of this process on or near April 1, 2011. The detailed timeline, including submission deadlines, can be found under Application & Review Process. Proposals for new entities will follow the same steps, but such submissions are not subject to the same deadlines. New proposals can be submitted for consideration at any time.
  • Who will direct the activities of our entities after they are approved?

    It depends on what aspect of the process (establishment, sun setting, and operations) is being considered. Generally, the person or persons to whom the entity reports has oversight authority. This differs by entity level and depends somewhat on the how the entity was established. If it is a Level III entity, a vice president has administrative oversight and responsibility. If more than one college is involved in a Level I or II category entity then a team of deans is involved. If an entity has a director (FTE) then that individual will have larger responsibility and stake in the decision-making. If there is an equal amount of external and internal investment then an external advisory board will be a key provider of input. Ultimately, decision-authority is part of what organizers of an entity get to propose and justify in their strategic plan.

  • Will funding for existing institutes and centers change?

    Funding may change. Some current institutes and centers may lose funding, but some may gain additional funding. It is important for the University to focus resources in select areas of strength. Through this process, we are inviting current entities as well as new teams to put forward their most innovative proposals. Those plans will be evaluated and the best ideas selected to move forward. Current entities have three possible outcomes: change of classification, remaining where they are or being phased out. Depending on the action, this could result in a decrease or increase in funding.

  • What is the likelihood that a center or institute will be cut if it loses money?

    This question cannot be answered without better understanding the reasons for the loss. The key is accountability. It’s understood that some creative activities may take several years to realize a positive return. However, in most cases, an entity that loses money will be required to undergo an immediate review to understand the causes for the loss. This review could result in a closure but could also result in changes in the entity’s director, structure or business plan. All proposed entities are required to develop a strategic business plan that will help to mitigate the possibility of a sudden loss of funding.

  • Can centers exist inside institutes?

    No. Institutes may be divided into subunits with leaders for each division or subunit if this makes sense. However, these subunits cannot be centers.

  • Yes, provided the recharge or cost center (organizational units or activities that provide goods and services primarily to internal university operations and secondarily to external users, and charge the users for these services) is relevant to attaining the mission and vision of the institute or center.

  • Is it true that there will be an annual review for all entities?

    An annual report and review by boards and/or department heads, dean(s) and vice president(s) will be required for all entities, regardless of level. The purpose is to demonstrate achievement of goals and movement toward the vision laid out in the strategic plan. These annual reports provide a mechanism for documenting assessment of research and outreach programs as well as providing feedback to the entity. They also can be used to demonstrate success and leverage additional investment capital.

  • Won't the University lose prestige if some entities are subordinated to the colleges or even eliminated?

    It is not of the intent of this process to destroy or harm successful endeavors. Rather, it is a chance to evaluate existing entities and structure them in such a way that projects and endeavors have the greatest chance for success. At the same time it is the chance for new ideas to become more visible and begin to receive the recognition that they deserve rather than be in the shadow of less vibrant but existing entities. A process like this is always going to create some feelings of dissatisfaction and criticism within some sector of the external community. The intent is to mitigate these issues by following a fair and open process.

  • What if I don't already have an entity (institute, center, etc.) may I submit a new proposal?

    Yes, this process is designed so that as new ideas emerge on and off campus a group of interested persons can go through a standard process and have their idea/concept considered by the University leadership.

  • Does this process apply to State mandated or State supported programs?

    Programs that are funded either by statute or as separate line-item allocations are exempt from this process. These include the Idaho Geological Survey, WWAMI, all of the Research and Extension Centers, the Forest Utilization Research Program and the Washington – Idaho Regional Veterinary Medical Education Program.