Initiative III

Enhance Research, Scholarship, Creative Activity and Academic Innovation

As a research-intensive university, scholarly activity is critical to the university’s success. Whether it is cyberinfrastructure, access to large and advanced data sets or technology tools supporting collaboration with colleagues across communities on and off campus, IT supports the research mission of CWRU. Discovery, creative activity and innovation are elements that take us all beyond what is possible today to what will be commonplace tomorrow. 

CWRU researchers should have constant access to the processing, networks, storage, software, specialized equipment and “human capital” to support their efforts. To improve our research environment beyond the sciences, we need a centrally coordinated effort to help researchers discover untapped resources and support, especially in the arts, humanities, social sciences, law and music.

High-performance computing (HPC) greatly contributes to the success of CWRU researchers. Through the work of the Advisory Committee on Research Computing (ACRC), which is composed of faculty from throughout the university, IT seeks to provide a holistic approach to the provision, advancement and support of HPC. Going forward, the broadest array of cyberinfrastructure components needs to be addressed continuously. These components are not limited to HPC but also include peta- and exa-scale data storage capability, giga- and tera-scale networking to facilitate data access and movement, advanced research software and personnel who are well-versed in both the needs of researchers and the offerings of technology. Researchers need ways to identify and understand the superset of tools and services used by the research community, and for the university (and IT) to develop a support model for those tools, including acquisition, funding, deploying and supporting their use. 

Use of cyberinfrastructure, especially high-performance computing, in the social sciences, arts and humanities is growing. Establishing support mechanisms and seeking ways to expand the availability of cyberinfrastructure resources so they are accessible beyond the traditional scientific and medical users is a priority. The university should seek ways to expand the availability of cyberinfrastructure resources so that such resources are available for non-traditional users, and seek to establish support mechanisms that encourage and support adoption. 

Action Item 6.1: Maintain and support highly reliable and quickly expandable cyberinfrastructure, including HPC, peta-scale storage and a high performance research network. 

Action Item 6.2: Work to improve the use of massive-scale HPC, a high-speed network and research storage options, to a broader research community. Through collaborative design, strong network cyberinfrastructure and enhanced support mechanisms, CWRU will seek to extend the availability of federally funded supercomputer centers and other off-campus sources to our researchers. 

Action Item 6.3: Explore new approaches to enhance how information technology is used beyond the sciences, engineering and medical research, in non-traditional, creative research areas such as the arts, humanities, social sciences, management, law and music.

Action Item 6.4: Foster the growth and availability of technologies and support to assist researchers with data visualization and interaction. 

Action Item 6.5: Develop a program to identify and provide advanced research software (like HPC and Data Visualization tools) and applications with the goal of giving access to a broader research and faculty community. These programs should look to expand the use of research tools to a broader university community by leveraging university-wide licensing models for improved research opportunities.

CWRU is a research-intensive university and external research funding is essential to its success. Increasingly, federal funding opportunities are targeted in areas having a strong technology and/or cyberinfrastructure component. IT should continue to strengthen its efforts to secure external funding for its cyberinfrastructure and in working collaboratively with faculty both pre- and post-award on externally funded research efforts. 

Action Item 7.1: Collaborate with faculty on technology- and cyberinfrastructure-focused research funding efforts, such as the National Institute of Health (NIH) Shared Instrumentation Grants, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation and opportunities from the NSF Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure. IT’s involvement should be as Principal Investigator (PI), co-PI, senior personnel or as appropriate. 

Action Item 7.2: Continue and expand the research computing staff embedding initiative in which these staff participate collaboratively in established research groups and centers. This expansion would facilitate more optimal use of CWRU cyberinfrastructure and helps to discover how IT can be more responsive and proactive to IT needs of researchers. 

Action Item 7.3: Collaborate broadly with researchers and university organizational units to assess current and emerging challenges facing researchers and then develop services that address those needs.

Create a virtual space on campus for researchers where helpful information, tools and expert support are easily accessible. A new virtual research commons environment hopes to connect people with aligned interests- often helping each other implement or adopt ideas and tools from other disciplines into their own. 

Action Item 8.1: Collaborate with the Kelvin Smith Library, the Office of Research and Technology Management and the research community to develop a virtual, interactive clearinghouse of information. This would enable collaboration and interdisciplinary research engagement, internally and externally.

The university must comply with existing regulations regarding the preservation and curation of research data, as well as identify existing and emerging best practices that extend beyond those rules. By continuing to support the improvement and enhancement of curation and data access and management, CWRU will be positively positioned within the global research community. 

Action Item 9.1: Collaborate with university partners (the faculty, Kelvin Smith Library, the Office of Research and Technology Management and the academic units) to assess, design, implement and maintain a range of data management services to address requirements of funding entities and scholarly publishers and to facilitate open research initiatives.