Research Policies


UMB Policy on Organized Research Centers

Research   |   Approved November 1, 1994

Responsible VP/AVP

Roger Ward, EdD, JD, MSL, MPA

Revision History

This policy was replaced by IV-1.00(A) UMB Policy for the Establishment and Review of Centers, Institutes, and Organized Research Centers, approved November 23, 2013.



Policy Statement

1. Definition and Purpose

An Organized Research Center (ORC) is a unit at UMB created to encourage focused research in areas which cross departmental and/or School boundaries. Although some campus units such as informal research collaborations or research and training programs may have some of the characteristics of ORCs, the term may only be used for those centers, institutes or laboratories at UMB which have been officially designated as "Organized Research Centers."

The purpose of an ORC in research and education is complementary to the goals of one or more departments and/or Schools. No appointment to an ORC shall carry tenure. A faculty member who holds a tenured or tenure-track appointment in an academic department or School may request to be considered for a secondary appointment to an ORC.

While the primary purpose of an ORC is not graduate education, it is anticipated that, particularly in interdisciplinary studies and in rapidly emerging new areas, proposals for graduate programs will be developed by ORCs in conjunction with their related departments and/or Schools and the graduate division. Although some start-up funds may be supplied from internal sources, once established, an ORC is required to be funded primarily from external sources.

2. Establishment

The establishment of an ORC requires the approval of the President upon the recommendation of one or more of the Deans of the Schools.

3. Reporting Relationships

Following establishment by the President an ORC is normally housed in a School and is responsible to the Dean of that School, in consultation with the President, for administration, budget, space, personnel and quality. In situations where the ORC is intended to cross School boundaries, all appropriate Deans shall be consulted as to each School's responsibilities for support of space, faculty time and other internal resources dedicated to the ORC, as well as allocation of resources including rights to intellectual property generated by the ORC. This consultation shall include each School's responsibilities concerning the disposition of the ORC in the event that external support diminishes or disappears. A Memorandum of Understanding which summarizes these arrangements shall be developed and approved by all appropriate Deans and by the President.

4. Administration, Support, and Personnel

Each ORC shall be headed by a Director, who shall be a tenured or tenure-track member of the faculty, whose faculty appointment resides in an academic department and/or School. The Director may receive an administrative stipend in addition to a faculty salary.

The Director of an ORC housed within a School is appointed by the Dean of that School in consultation with the President. In the event that the ORC crosses School boundaries, all appropriate Deans shall be consulted.

The Director shall be advised by an advisory committee to be appointed by the President upon nomination by the appropriate Dean(s). The advisory committee should meet regularly to advise the Director on setting the ORC's goals and to provide help in critically evaluating its effectiveness.

In recognition of the role of ORCs in research and education on campus, some core support should be provided. It is expected that most members of the ORC will hold faculty appointments and, thus, receive salary support from their parent departments. However, as extramural support is attracted, appointments on ORC funds are to be anticipated. The Dean accepting responsibility for an ORC should make appropriate arrangements for its nurture and core support.

5. Procedure

A proposal should be prepared by participating faculty members to include:

  • Rationale and need for the proposed ORC;
  • Mission of the ORC, inclusive of its intellectual agenda;
  • Proposed activities of the ORC;
  • Relationship to academic departments and schools;
  • Relationship to the University of Maryland Medical System (if any);
  • Relationship to similar units at other institutions in the University System of Maryland (if any);
  • Names of faculty who have agreed to participate;
  • Budget estimates and personnel needs for the first year of operation, projections for the first five years, and anticipated sources of funding;
  • Statement of immediate and future space needs;
  • Statement of other needs, such as capital equipment, library and animal resources;
  • Statement about the anticipated effects of the proposed unit on the teaching programs of the faculty members' departments;
  • Suggested criteria by which the proposed ORC will be reviewed and evaluated; and
  • Any other relevant information

The proposal shall be submitted to the Deans of the Schools involved. It anticipated that the Dean of the School most directly involved and where tentative agreements for the housing of the ORC have been made will take the lead role. The Dean will then forward the proposal to the President who, after appropriate consultation, will take final action.

An ORC shall not be established absent a commitment of space and funding adequate to support its mission.

Given the importance of the designation of ORC status to the campus, the President will report each new establishment to the Chancellor and the Regents.

6. Procedure for Five -Year Review

Each ORC shall be reviewed at intervals of five years. The review shall have two parts:

  1. The ORC shall be reviewed with regard to its original purpose, present functioning, future plans, and continuing development to meet the needs of the field.
  2. The stewardship of the Director of the ORC shall be reviewed.

    The Review Committee shall be appointed by the President following nominations from the Dean(s) and Advisory Committee. The Committee shall normally have a majority of its membership from outside the campus. It is expected that the recommendations of the Review Committee shall include, but not be limited to:
    • Advice on future directions for the Center. As ORCs are established to meet current needs, it is anticipated that from time to time a Review Committee may recommend discontinuance of the ORC. If that advice is accepted, the Dean, in consultation with the President and other Deans as appropriate, shall begin an orderly process to close down the unit. The phase-out period should normally take no longer than one year to complete.
    • Advice on the quality of leadership of the Director. A decision continue the appointment of the Director shall be made by the Dean in consultation with the President and other Deans as appropriate. Since it is anticipated that an ORC will normally be established to meet emerging needs often in interdisciplinary areas, ORCs shall not be viewed as permanent entities within the campus. The rigorous five-year cycle is intended to ensure that the mission of the ORC is still necessary and important to the academic mission of the campus. It is anticipated that it would be highly unusual for an ORC to be continued beyond a 15-year period.
Fill out my online form.