9.51 Academic Computing Policy

Computing services have become an increasingly important part of the research process in the modern university. As research techniques continue to become increasingly sophisticated and demands for voluminous amounts of data and complex statistical manipulations of that data continue to increase, the demands upon the academic computing services of the University of Northern Iowa can be expected to accelerate. Because the support of faculty and student research is consistent with the mission of the University of Northern Iowa, an attempt is made to provide funding to departments and individuals to support the research of these faculty and students which is appropriate to their academic goals.

However, funds for academic computer services are limited and have not, in recent years, kept pace with the demands placed upon them. One area which taxes the available funds is the provision of computer services to research sponsored by agencies outside the University of Northern Iowa. Federal agencies and private foundations often support various UNI faculty and students whose work has requirements for computer usage time. There have been circumstances in the past in which computer usage for sponsored research has come from departmental budgets or has been listed as the university contribution to the required matching funds for a given project. While the pursuit of funds for sponsored research and development is encouraged by the University of Northern Iowa, it seems inappropriate that the very limited funds available for faculty and student academic computing services be utilized to subsidize grants made by the federal government or private foundations.

The following policy steps are hereby adopted.

  1. All federal and foundation grant proposals for projects which will require academic computing services, programming, running time, etc. must request funds for such services as a part of the direct cost line item budget of the project.

  2. Projects which require computer support but do not include these expenses as a direct cost in the budget must receive not only usual computer and academic review, but also special permission from the academic administration of the university.

  3. Academic computing services are not to be considered appropriate for cost sharing or cost matching purposes nor is it appropriate to provide them on a non-reimbursable basis for sponsored research and developed projects.

  4. The Grants and Contracts Administrator will review the expense budget of all projects to ensure that required computing services are covered by income from the contract.

  5. If the work scope of a project is not modified to the degree that academic computer services are no longer a part of the project, no university internal budget transfers to an existing grant may be made from the category of academic computer services even if permission is given to do so by the granting agency.

    Exceptions to the above policy may be made only in circumstances in which a grant or contract requires a direct cash match on the part of the institution and the following conditions are met:

    1. The project is demonstrated to be clearly consistent with university goals and short- and long-term objectives. Except in the most compelling cases, this demonstration must include evidence that the expenditure for which the grant is acquired must have been in the future funding pattern of the university. In other words, it is a circumstance in which the university was committed to expend its own funds on the project and the grant or contract can be considered to be subsidizing an activity which the university would have undertaken with its own funds.

    2. Evidence is provided that other avenues of cost sharing and cost matching were explored with the agency and that these other avenues will not meet the requirement in and of themselves.

    3. That the authorization to use academic computing funds as cost sharing or cost matching be approved by Academic Computing, by the Vice-President for Administrative Services or his designee, and by the Vice-President for Academic Services or his designee.

The Grants and Contracts Administrator will be responsible for implementation of the following administrative policy steps:

  1. The Grants and Contracts Administrator will inform the Director of Academic Computing Services when a grant or contract is finally accepted by the university. He shall provide the name of the project director, the Business Office account number and the computing budget for the project.

  2. No budget transfers in an existing grant may be made from the category of academic computer services even if permission is given to do so by the granting agency unless the work scope of the project is modified to the degree that such services are no longer a part of the project.

  3. The Grants and Contracts Administrator will inform potential project officers of the procedure by which exceptions to stated policy must be reviewed for authorization and will administer that process.

    It is felt that the regulations subscribed herein will be necessary if, in the face of increasing participation in federal and foundation grant and contract programs, the academic computing service is able to maintain its current level of service to faculty and students of the University of Northern Iowa. These steps are considered necessary to prevent the draining of academic computing resources from internal research projects and instructional areas in order to subsidize sponsored research projects.

Vice-President for Academic Affairs