Research Support: A Tale of Two Campuses

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Research facilitation is serious business. Such support is critical to the research and research-coupled academic enterprise. Annual sponsored research in the UC System has grown to over $6 billion dollars (2016-17), yet national sponsors are requiring more external collaboration and are scrutinizing the IT infrastructure that supports research projects. All of this requires complex IT solutions and technology expertise - it is no longer possible for the researcher to act independently, except for the very largest of global research efforts. Even non-STEM disciplines’ needs require advance computing, such as machine learning and big data. Non-STEM researchers, not classically trained in HPC likely struggle to make the transition from legacy tools, like laptops and business-oriented workstations. For even sophisticated users, the growing complexity of cloud solutions and the growing population of students who need research technology support sooner in their careers are pushing the scope of research support faster than resources can respond. So, how do we respond? This session will provide a look into the research IT programs at two of our UC campuses at vastly different scales, in order to provide examples how some are coping with the fast-paced world of UC researchers and their technology needs.

Research IT leaders from UC Merced and UC San Diego will introduce attendees to their research IT support programs and lead a discussion and activities in program offerings and strategic decision-making that will lead to a self-help, peer-therapy session all rolled into one.

Exploring Merced and San Diego as two case studies in supporting researchers, attendees will get ideas and examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly in order to shape their own programs, no matter how mature they may be. The variance in scale between Merced and San Diego will provide a rich example set for others on their own journey into maturity in their respective research support models.

Topics include:

  • Evaluating the campus climate, stakeholders, and local researchers

  • Leveraging external resources at UC System, regional, and national level to grow local research support (e.g., the UC Research IT Committee, UC-wide user groups, the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) (https://www.xsede.org), Open Science Grid (OSG) (https://opensciencegrid.org), Campus Champions (https://www.xsede.org/community-engagement/campus-champions) and more)

  • Making strategic decisions on resource “spending”

  • Establishing jurisdiction and authority to intervene

  • Setting appropriate expectations and incentivizing for the common good

  • Ideas for recruiting, training, developing and growing Research IT professionals on your team (e.g. Carpentries [https://carpentries.org], CaRCC [Campus Research Computing Consortium], PEARC [Practice and Experience in Research Computing, https://www.pearc.org], SC [Supercomputing, http://supercomputing.org])

Takeaways:

  • Attendees will get to know research IT professionals from other campuses

  • Attendees will get and give ideas on maturing their own research IT programs

Previous Knowledge

None required for attendees

Software Installation Expectation

N/A

Session skill level
Beginner
Session Track
Supporting Research and Researchers