Campus Center Guidelines

The Office of Research (OR) is not currently accepting any new proposals for Campus Centers until further notice.

Definition and Purpose
Establishment and Administrative Procedures
Application and Review Procedures
Annual Reports and Program Review


Definition and Purpose

A Campus Center provides a group of researchers with use of the "Center" title and a structure for its collaborative activities in support of research. The rationale for establishing a Campus Center may include attracting greater recognition and extramural support for a research program at UCI and/or providing an infrastructure that promotes synergistic interactions among researchers within a school or across schools.  The research goals of the Campus Center should complement the academic goals of the University.

In accordance with the UC Administrative Policies and Procedures Concerning Organized Research Units, the term "Center" may be used for research units other than Organized Research Centers (ORUs). Campus Centers are established by the Vice Chancellor for Research, based on recommendations by the Academic Senate Council on Research, Computing and Libraries (CORCL) after a competitive review of proposals.

Establishment and Administrative Procedures

Appointment of Director

Directors of Campus Centers are required to be tenured faculty members. They are appointed for the five-year life of the Center by the Vice Chancellor for Research, and report to the Dean of their respective school. If more than one school is involved, the Vice Chancellor for Research may consult with appropriate Deans regarding the proposed reporting relationship prior to Center approval. Under rare circumstances, a Campus Center Director may report to the Vice Chancellor for Research.

A Campus Center Director may not hold a concurrent appointment as Dean, Associate Dean, or Department Chair, unless exceptional approval is granted by the Vice Chancellor for Research.

Directors are responsible for the administrative functions of the unit and for guidance of the unit's activities in accordance with its academic goals.

Administration Operations

The "Center" title may be used in University correspondence, in the General Catalog, on UCI Web pages, and in extramural grant or contract proposals and gift solicitations.

Faculty affiliated with Campus Centers 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.

All administrative and facilities support (including space) is provided by the academic unit as part of its normal service to the faculty. Prior to final approval for a Campus Center, agreement regarding administrative support and facilities provided by the academic units involved must be assured.

Directors of Campus Centers report to the Dean of their school. The Dean's responsibilities include:

  1. Evaluation of the Center's progress as outlined in an Annual Report from the Center's Director.
  2. Working with the Center Director to establish administrative processes.
  3. Financial oversight of accounting and purchasing activities of the Center. Any financial deficits are the responsibility of the school.

In those rare instances when a Campus Center Director reports directly to the Vice Chancellor for Research, the administrative systems will be determined by the Vice Chancellor for Research in consultation with the appropriate Deans.

Application and Review Procedures

Competitive review of new Campus Center proposals will be carried out following a call for proposals according to the procedures below.


A group of faculty members may submit a proposal to the Vice Chancellor for Research to establish a Campus Center in response to a request for proposals (RFP). The proposal, not to exceed a total of 5 pages of narrative, (excluding curricula vitae, appendices and letters of commitment) should do the following:

  1. Provide well-defined goals and objectives for the Campus Center. Special attention should be paid to the creative value and significance of the proposed research unit and its anticipated contribution to knowledge.
  2. Describe the proposed collaborations. Include a description of research activities to be undertaken and a discussion of how the proposed Center would integrate the separate activities of the participating faculty to develop a synergy greater than their individual efforts.
  3. Explain how designation as a Campus Center would help accomplish the goals of the group and why those goals are not attainable within the existing departmental structures.
  4. Describe, in detail, how objectives will be implemented and how performance will be monitored and measured. Include a timeline that specifies the stages of development in the research program over the five years for which recognition is requested.
  5. Discuss each of the review criteria by which the proposal will be reviewed. (See Section 3 below.)
  6. Identify the proposed director.
  7. Budget request (optional).  If funding is being requested for the Center, a detailed budget proposal and justification are required, commensurate with the Center's goals and activities.  List the anticipated expenses and identify the source of support, e.g. from the Dean(s), Department Chair(s), Vice Chancellor for Research, and/or extramural sponsors.  Appropriate expenses include workshops and symposia, research assistants, materials and supplies, equipment and facilities, and general assistance.  Faculty salaries will not be supported as part of the Center budget.  Funds provided to the Center are designated for "seed" research initiatives and are not intended to fund an independent administrative structure.  It is expected that extramural support will be sought and obtained, consistent with the opportunities that exist in the specific field.  
  8. Appendices:
    1. Director's cirriculum vitae
    2. list of the participating faculty
    3. brief curricula vitae or biosketches (not to exceed two pages) for each participating faculty member
    4. copies of letters or e-mails in which they have formally agreed to participate in the proposed Center
    5. letter of commitment from the Dean of the administering School committing space and administrative support for the proposed Campus Center, as well as his/her agreement to fulfill the Dean's responsibilities as described under "Administrative Operations" above.
    6. other support material or letters

Review Criteria

CORCL requires that all proposals for designation as a Campus Center provide evidence for meeting or addressing the following criteria:

  1. Evidence of Academic Standing. The collaborative research potential, timeliness and/or importance of the Center’s activities will be assessed by an ad hoc subcommittee of CORCL. Criteria would include an assessment of the ability to obtain major funding from national funding agencies such as NSF, NIH, etc. (or other metrics, as appropriate for the discipline), and the likelihood of publications or other activities from collaborative projects. At the discretion of the ad hoc review subcommittee of CORCL, outside review letters may be solicited for the review.
  2. Financial and Administrative Commitments. The proposed Center should have minimal administrative funding committed for the requested term of 5 years, as well as the support of necessary administrative officials (deans, chairs, etc.). If space, computing, or other administrative support is needed for the proposed Center, a letter from the Dean is required to address these resources. Include a statement of the research group's potential for extramural awards and fundraising, as well as an explicit plan for pursuit of extramural support, consistent with existing opportunities.
  3. Relationship to Existing Units. Explain the relationship of the proposed Campus Center to other existing related Centers, ORUs, Special Research Programs, and School Centers. Identify and explain areas of potential overlap. Letters of support from directors of related centers/institutes/programs would be helpful.

Proposal Review

The Deans or Department Chairs of the affiliated faculty may be asked to comment on the quality and significance of the proposed unit in concert with the criteria established by CORCL. The Dean(s) may also be asked to confirm their school's support, if any, for budget resources and the space available for the proposed Campus Center.

The Vice Chancellor for Research will submit the complete Campus Center proposal to an ad hoc committee of CORCL for review and recommendations. The ad hoc committee, following its own procedures for review, may request additional information from the proposers. External review letters may be sought only if there is no evidence of peer review. All external reviews will be treated as confidential, subject to the policies of the University of California. After completion of its review, the ad hoc committee will present its recommendations to the full CORCL, which will consider all proposals competitively, and submit its recommendations to the VCR as a ranked list. The advice of CORCL concerning the establishment of a Campus Center will be taken as advisory by the Vice Chancellor for Research. The outcome of the review for each Campus Center proposal will be one of the following:

  • Approved for establishment for a five-year term with or without funding from OR,
  • Not approved for establishment.

Annual Reports and Program Review

Annual Reports

Campus Centers that receive funding from the Office of Research must submit an annual report at the end of each academic year to the Vice Chancellor for Research. Continuation of financial support for applicable Centers is contingent upon satisfactory progress and the availability of funds. The Vice Chancellor may solicit comments from the appropriate Dean(s) on the activities and accomplishments of the Campus Center over the past year.

Program Review

Campus Centers may apply for renewal by submitting to the Vice Chancellor for Research a proposal that summarizes accomplishments over the life of the Center and specifies goals for the five-year period. Centers that are approaching the end of their term will be notified of renewal application procedures during the fifth year. Campus Centers that are considered for renewal have the opportunity to compete for continued funding.

The Vice Chancellor for Research will require from the Academic Dean(s) to whom the Center Director reports an assurance of continued administrative support and provision of space, as well as an assessment of the following:

  • The Center's accomplishments over the past term,
  • The quality and significance of the research being conducted under its auspices,
  • The Center's success in integrating the separate activities of the faculty to develop a synergy greater than those individual efforts, and
  • Information the Dean views as relevant to the renewal process.

The Vice Chancellor for Research will forward the request for an extension to CORCL to conduct an academic review and provide its recommendation. The outcome of the review of a Campus Center will be one of the following:

  • Approved for renewal for a second five-year term with or without continued funding from OR,
  • Not approved for renewal.

Expiration and Final Report

All Campus Centers will expire, and funding from the Office of Research will be discontinued by the close of the Campus Center's 10th year of existence.  A Final Report is due no later than 3 months after the expiration of the Center and should include a brief summary of the Center's accomplishments and a final financial report on the use of Office of Research funds.

In exceptional cases, a Campus Center may request the continued use of the Campus Center designation and name.  If the maintenance of a Center's name and status is desired, a request must be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Research including the following:

  1. A brief justification for the continuation of the Campus Center name.
  2. A letter of commitment from the Dean of the administering School confirming the School's support for the administration, space, and management of Center activities.

The Vice Chancellor for Research will make the final decision on the continued use of the Campus Center designation and name, and may further consult with the relevant Dean(s), unit heads, and CORCL, as needed.


Applications, Proposals for renewal, and reports should be submitted electronically to:

Vice Chancellor for Research
Office of Research

For general inquiries, please call (949) 824-5796.

Questions About Campus Centers?

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

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