Enabling Strategic Growth in Sponsored Research

Today’s research landscape is complex and the data that supports it is constantly growing. Modern academic research requires a powerful infrastructure to support and protect our institutional knowledge. With over half a billion in research dollars now funneled through UCI, supporting this world-class enterprise requires modern, powerful solutions. The Office of Information Technology is focused on solutions that make our researchers more competitive in the grant landscape by recognizing and protecting against today’s cyber threats, increasing the University’s capacity to support and store data, and ensuring that it can be easily accessed by researchers across the campus, College of Health Sciences and UCI Health.

Providing Enterprise-Class Computing Infrastructure

As more domains depend on computing capabilities, research data storage is in high demand. The storage infrastructure helps to support research reproducibility, which is an essential component to scientific discovery.

Replicating and Backing Up Data One of the many advantages to the upgrades planned for the current research cyberinfrastructure is that it provides self-service.The self-service options allow researchers to not only store, but also recover their data in a seamless way. Safeguarding against vulnerabilities related to data, an important, but less visible priority of the upgrades include a backup and recovery service for data stored in our servers. The value of the research and intellectual property is significant, and the upgrades to storage will help ensure that data stays safe from bad actors, as well as user errors.

Fun fact: In the research storage pool, CRSP - faculty can store up to 1 terabyte of data where it can be replicated and stored easily.

Goals of Research Storage Solutions: Ubiquitous, Platform Independent, Self-Service

Research Network Upgrades Upgrades to the network are needed in many areas of campus research, and part of OIT’s engagement with the research community has been to establish a research networking steering committee, to drive investment in research network upgrades across campus and prioritize the requests. Over the next three years, the School of Medicine in the College of Health Sciences is at the top of the list, along with the School of Biological Sciences, which received funding to expand research networking.

HPC3 Expansion As data is always expanding, upgrading and growing the high performance computing cluster is a project in perpetual motion. It’s up to the Research CyberInfrastructure Center (RCIC), formed in 2016, to appropriately plan and invest for today’s research needs and for tomorrow’s. Technology hardware, such as servers and processors, get more advanced every year, and the Center is in a constant effort to keep the infrastructure efficient and up to speed. Across the research enterprise there are domain-specific pieces of software. The research faculty rely on the expertise of the RCIC team to configure and support those software applications. The latest expansion project of the High Performance Community Computing Cluster, or HPC3, better manages the application software footprint on our servers.

Currently RCIC runs 400 different software applications and that number expands continually.

Streamlining Sponsored Research Administration

With more than half a billion dollars in research flowing into UCI in 2020, the University was propelled into the status as a world-class research institution. But UCI can only continue to support this volume of research with a system and infrastructure that adeqautely manages the influx of projects, grants and funds. Kuali Research has proven to be a vital tool in reducing the administrative burden for faculty and for the Office of Research’s staff. As the research projects increase, the Office of Research relies on IT systems, processes and workflows to manage the expansion. Kuali Research has the tools to help support the capacity growth, and the OIT team is developing it, fast. By providing technology solutions to more efficiently manage the paperwork, compliance and processes, faculty can spend more time coming up with new research questions and ideas, and the Office of Research can process more proposals, faster.

Conflict of Interest As part of the process of getting research proposals through, there are many compliance documents required. One of these processes, undue foreign influence, requires researchers to disclose conflict of interest. A new disclosures portal being built will make it easy for them to complete this step.

Protocols When researchers deal with human subjects or stem cells, there are additional protocols to be followed to ensure IRB compliance. The process of filing this information and requesting appropriate approvals will be made easier after a 2-year project to implement these protocol processes is in place.

Enabling the Expansion of Health Sciences Research and Integrated Medicine

The need for the College of Health Sciences, the Medical Center and the UCI campus to work collaboratively together in the same technology systems became critically clear when the University began to stand up the Contact Tracing Center. By lowering the barriers between Health and Campus’ Office 365 instances, it allows for high-security interaction between those units. This first project is paving the way for future developments. Over the next three years, several efforts to establish seamless and secure collaboration between groups, including document sharing, communications and file storage, will allow better alignments on projects that impact both IT units.

Security and compliance with DoD regulations are key to enabling high-security collaboration

Supporting the Whole Student