Rule 40602: Organized Research Units

Sec. 1 Functions of an Organized Research Unit. 

An Organized Research Unit (ORU) is established to provide support for interdisciplinary research that complements the academic goals of departments of instruction and research. These units are typically referenced as institutes, laboratories, or centers. The functions of an ORU are to


Facilitate research and research collaborations;


Disseminate research results through conferences, meetings, and other activities;


Strengthen graduate and undergraduate education by providing students with training opportunities and access to facilities;


Seek extramural research funds; and


Carry out university and public service programs related to the ORU’s research expertise.

Sec. 2 Designation of ORUs. 

Units included as organized research units normally carry one of the designations listed and defined below. Institute, Laboratory, and Center are the most commonly used designations.

2.1 Institute.  

A major unit that coordinates and promotes faculty and student research on a continuing basis over an area so wide that it extends across department, school or college, or campus boundaries. The unit enhances and supports broad-based research efforts. The unit may also engage in public service activities stemming from its research program, within the limits of its stated objectives.

2.2 Laboratory.  

A non-departmental organization that establishes and maintains facilities for research in several departments, sometimes with the help of full-time research staff appointed in accordance with institutional policy. A laboratory in which substantially all participating faculty members are from the same academic department is a departmental laboratory and not an ORU.

2.3 Center. 

A unit that furthers research in a designated field or a unit engaged primarily in providing research facilities for other units and departments. Centers with anticipated annual budgets of at least $3,000,000, representing the sum of research grants and contracts managed through the Center’s operations as well as institutional and other funding, are in this category.

2.4 Non-ORU Center.  

The term Center may be used for research units not formally constituted as ORUs. Centers with an anticipated annual budget of less than $3,000,000 may be constituted upon approval of the campus president or designee. The campus shall periodically review non-ORU centers and programs.

Sec. 3 Procedure for Establishment of ORUs. 

An ORU is established upon submittal and approval of a proposal by the president and the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs. The proposal should describe the purpose and benefits of the ORU to the institution, the faculty members and other participants, research and other activity plans, space requirements, and budget needs. If institutional space or funds are committed, confirmation of such commitments from the appropriate institutional representative should be included in the proposal. 

Sec. 4 Named ORU. 

Proposals to name an ORU for an individual or an entity must comply with the provisions of Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 80307 related to honorific and gift-related namings, and should be submitted to the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor. The ORU naming will only be maintained as long as the ORU is active.

Sec. 5 Advisory Committee or Council. 

Each ORU is headed by a director and will have an advisory committee/council that assists the director in setting the unit’s goals and may assist by critically evaluating its effectiveness on a continuing basis. The creation of an advisory committee/council must be approved by the Board of Regents in accordance with Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 60302

Sec. 6 Procedures for Review. 

Periodic review of ORUs is necessary to ensure consistency with institutional goals and priorities and the institution’s need to sustain a capacity to innovate. Each ORU should be reviewed at least every six years. An ad hoc committee shall be formed to assess the ORU’s original goals and objectives, its present functioning, recent accomplishments, future plans, adequacy of space and budget allocations, and future prospects to contribute to the institution’s vision and mission. The committee’s report will be forwarded to the president, who, in consultation with others, will determine whether the ORU should continue, be phased out, or be discontinued. The president shall forward the recommendation and ad hoc committee’s report to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs.

Sec. 7 ORU Reviews and Approvals. 

The periodic reviews and the establishment of institutes, laboratories, and centers must be filed with the office of Academic Affairs or Health Affairs. Such office will maintain and make available to the Board of Regents an inventory of those organized research units throughout The University of Texas System.



Amended Log

May 11, 2006