Many of society’s challenges today require multidisciplinary research. As such, many sponsors and agencies have greater interest in larger, more trans-disciplinary research efforts. In response to this interest, Level I, II and III research entities at the University of Idaho provide an organizational framework intended to break down administrative silos and bring together faculty, staff, students and resources to engage in boundary-crossing scholarship. Research entities, established through the processes described below, provide:
- Prestige and institutional recognition of existing or emerging scholarship competencies
- Resources and focus ensuring program quality of national and international prominence
- Thoughtful, dedicated leadership and administrative support.
Programs funded either by statute, separate allocations (including state funding, endowments, a single large extramural grant, etc.), or formally reviewed and approved agreements with external stakeholders are exempt from this process. All entities are subject to an ongoing annual review process. For entities created through an extramurally funded grant, once the initial grant is completed the entity is subject to the processes outlined here.
Level I entities are housed in a single college, led by a unit administrator within that college. They are encouraged to cross departmental lines, obtain external funding, and explore the potential for growth into a Level II or III entity.
Level II entities, often called “centers,” are led by a director reporting to one or more college deans. Faculty/staff in these college(s) participate in the center’s activities and provide support as needed. They are smaller in size/scope than Level III entities.
Level III entities, often called “institutes,” are led by a tenured faculty member reporting directly to the VP for Research and Economic Development, whose office supports the entity’s activities and leadership. Level III entities are broadly cross-disciplinary, have a designated space/focal point for activities, and can draw on resources from multiple U of I units, external agencies and institutions.