Office of Research

Establish a Research Center

The primary academic activities of the University are conducted by departments, schools, and colleges. Research centers and institutes should be created only when there is a strong case to be made for why the academic mission of the University cannot be achieved within existing structures.

The four following aspects of University policy regarding research centers and institutes are covered below:

Process for Approval of a Center or Institute Name

A dean or deans may authorize the creation of an ORU; however the Office of the Provost must approve the name of any new research center, institute or other proposed ORU. Deans should send a letter of request and complete this form and email it to the Vice Provost for Research at

The Vice Provost for Research will circulate a memorandum to selected campus administrators containing the data provided by the requesting unit. The memo will request their feedback and ask for any concerns regarding the suggested new center or institute name. The Vice Provost for Research will review and address any issues or concerns within thirty days. If at the end of thirty days, either no issues are presented, or all issues are addressed, an approval will be sent to the requesting unit.

Within the first quarter of the establishment of the ORU, the ORU's staff is responsible for creating and maintaining an ORU website, and for making sure the site is added to the "Research Centers and Institute" page: The ORU is required to update the information on the UW center website by October first of an annual basis.

To request approval of a research center or institute in the case of generic research centers:

In the case of generic research centers defined by funding agencies, such as NIH-named centers or clinical centers, the Dean's Office should submit a "letter of intent to create a center" 60 days in advance of the official center creation. If the Office of the Provost does not raise any concern within 30 days of receiving the letter of intent, the dean may proceed with creation of the research center without further authorization. In the case of NIH centers where the institution retains the option of choosing the center faculty and name, approval is required as outlined above.

Faculty and Staff Appointments

State budgets or other centrally allocated funds are not to be used to support staff for research centers and institutes. Exceptions to this policy require the approval of the Provost. All faculty appointments associated with a center or institute, regardless of the source of support, require a primary departmental appointment. There will be no exceptions to this policy.


A center may have one or more budgets to support its operation. The establishment of a budget other than a state budget in support of a center requires the approval of the relevant Dean. Budgets involving state or other centrally allocated resources require the approval of the Provost.


Centers should be discontinued when they no longer serve the purpose for which they were created. Every center should be reviewed on the occasion of a change in the director, and in any event, no less often than once every ten years. The continuation of the center is to be an issue in every review.