Advancing and Supporting Research

Core Team Lead was Joe Lombardo.

What was considered during this planning session

  • What infrastructure and capabilities are needed to support the research environment?
  • What role will research computing play in growing the research capacity at UNLV in the next 5 years?
  • How can the IT environment be both flexible and adaptable?
  • How can research IT be made most sustainable?
  • What role should the central IT function have in supporting these objectives?

Summary of session

The research work session brought together a variety of stakeholders representing a diverse set of research needs as well as staff from finance and IT services areas (both central and distributed) to discuss how the University can better coordinate and deliver IT services that will support UNLV’s strategic direction of growing its research presence and reputation.

IT plays a critical role as federal grant specifications increase, and includes new requirements on how researchers manage data security and meet minimum IT infrastructure requirements to remain grant eligible. This session has direct relevance for the IT Infrastructure worksession scheduled for June 12, and the outcomes provided here should be considered again during that meeting.

Key outcomes identified to inform the IT Master Plan

  • The research community is expected to be entrepreneurial. How can this be balanced with the need for improved coordination and collaboration to ensure that compliance and administration requirements are met.
  • Institutional awareness needs to increase across UNLV of what the needs of the research community are and how best to support a diverse and ever-changing portfolio of research efforts.
  • Primary issues that challenge the current research environment include but are not limited to:
    • Capacity of technical staff to support and expand research portfolio
    • Software and applications specific to research that may not be supported by central OIT
    • Storage for increased data, the overall growth of storage demands, and how best to address this going forward
    • Advanced instrumentation requires special skill sets that most IT staff cannot support
  • Areas to address within the context of the IT Master Plan going forward should include:
    • Data management and governance (access to and integration of). Researchers have different needs than both administrative and academic groups. Data classification needs to include the research community.
    • Storage (big data = big storage needs). What is the best approach to meeting this infrastructure need?
    • Computers/hardware, the lack of consistent refresh is a potential security risk.
    • Bandwidth, many buildings lack adequate bandwidth (ex. WHI). What is the baseline need of research going forward, a 100Gb network?
    • Funding, the nature of research makes funding inconsistent and less sustainable, but it is critical to plan for research needs and how to provide maintenance to an IT infrastructure that is not typically funded long term.
    • IT support services, UNLV needs a better definition of roles and responsibilities within the IT community.