Skip to Main Content

Center & Institute Guidelines

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the University Research and Engagement Center Committee has extended the deadline for all annual reports, 3-year reports and status change applications to Friday, October 2, 2020.

Please continue to submit applications and reports using the InfoReady portal. Research Centers and Institutes are welcome to make submissions prior to the deadline, and the Evaluation Committee will review and provide feedback as they are received.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development is committed to growing the university’s interdisciplinary research portfolio by fostering the development and success of university research and engagement centers and institutes. The guidelines and processes outlined below are intended to streamline center evaluation activities, expand opportunities for peer feedback, and increase transparency and center success.

What are the types of centers and institutes at UMass Lowell?

Two people working in the clean room at the Saab ETIC Building.

University Research and Engagement Centers/Institutes

National and International Distinction

Research and Engagements Centers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell have achieved national and international distinction and are committed to expanding knowledge, generating new discoveries, and having a positive impact on society through informing policy and systemic change. Research and Engagement Centers establish and exercise a strong interdisciplinary approach and sustainable financial model. They have leadership structures with clear roles and responsibilities for each member, including future researchers who receive education and training in the Center’s robust learning environment.

woman with beeker in engineering lab Photo by Tory Germann

University Seed Centers/Institutes

Synergy, sustainability and prominence


University Seed Centers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell are committed to working towards achieving the status of a University Research or Engagement Center. Seed Centers exemplify the same core values, excellence in programmatic work and sustainability as stated in the University Research and Engagement Center mission but need to further establish themselves in defined key areas in order to achieve an exemplary model.

2 women leaning over computer 1600 Photo by Liron Asher

Working Group

Mission development, critical mass, baseline resources

Working Groups are early-stage collaborative efforts with intentions to achieve the status of a University Seed Center. Working Groups display a high level of partnership and teamwork among members across disciplines who have hit a critical mass in their individual areas of research. As a Working Group, members are building a cohesive vision and combining resources to achieve a sustainable model and distinct identity.

For questions regarding University Centers and Institutes, reviews and applications, please email: Amber_Squires@uml.edu.

How do I apply for a status change for my University Seed Center or Working Group?

University Seed Centers or Institutes that wish to become a university recognized Research or Engagement Center must complete an application for University Research and Engagement Center status due on March 1 each year.

University Working Groups that wish to become a university recognized Seed Center or Institute must complete an application for University Seed Center status due on July 1 of each year.

Apply online via InfoReady for these status changes:

University Research & Engagement Center statusUniversity Seed Center status

Status Change: Seed Center to University Center University Seed Centers that wish to become a University Research or Engagement Center must complete the appropriate status change application due on the 1st of March each year. The application will be evaluated by the committee, representative Center PIs, and Deans. A presentation is required. The final decision will be made by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development and feedback will be provided via InfoReady by August 31.

Larger Image: Status Change: Seed Center to University Center

Status Change: Seed Center to University Center

University Seed Centers that wish to become a University Research or Engagement Center must complete the appropriate status change application due on the 1st of March each year. The application will be evaluated by the committee, representative Center PIs, and Deans. A presentation is required. The final decision will be made by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development and feedback will be provided via InfoReady by August 31.

Status Change: Working Group to Seed Center Working Groups that wish to become a Seed Center must complete the appropriate status change application due on the 1st of July each year. The application will be evaluated by the committee and relevant Associate Deans for Research. The final decision will be made by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development and feedback will be provided via InfoReady by August 31.

Larger Image: Status Change: Working Group to Seed Center

Status Change: Working Group to Seed Center

Working Groups that wish to become a Seed Center must complete the appropriate status change application due on the 1st of July each year. The application will be evaluated by the committee and relevant Associate Deans for Research. The final decision will be made by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development and feedback will be provided via InfoReady by August 31.

How do I maintain my Center's status as a University Research Center, University Engagement Center or Seed Center?

University Research and Engagement Centers and University Seed Centers must complete an annual report due on July 1 each year.

Every three years, University Research and Engagement Centers must complete a 3-year report in lieu of the annual review due on March 1 each year.

Working groups are not required to complete an annual review.

Complete these reports online via InfoReady:

Complete an Annual ReportComplete the 3-year Report

Annual Report University Seed Centers and University Research and Engagement Centers must complete an Annual Report via InfoReady due on the 1st of July each year. The report will be evaluated by the committee and representative Center PIs. Feedback will be provided via InfoReady by August 31.

Larger Image: Annual Review Process

Annual Review Process

University Seed Centers and University Research and Engagement Centers must complete an Annual Report via InfoReady due on the 1st of July each year. The report will be evaluated by the committee and representative Center PIs. Feedback will be provided via InfoReady by August 31.

3-year Report Every three years, University Research and Engagement Centers must complete the 3-year Report in lieu of the Annual Report via InfoReady due on the 1st of March each year. The report will be evaluated by the committee, representative Center PIs and Deans. A presentation is required. The final decision will be made by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development and feedback will be provided via InfoReady by August 31.

Larger Image: 3-year Review Process

3-year Review Process

Every three years, University Research and Engagement Centers must complete the 3-year Report in lieu of the Annual Report via InfoReady due on the 1st of March each year. The report will be evaluated by the committee, representative Center PIs and Deans. A presentation is required. The final decision will be made by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development and feedback will be provided via InfoReady by August 31.

How will my Center or Institute be evaluated?

All annual reports, 3-year reports, and status change applications will be evaluated based on the rubric below:

CriterionInitial/Working GroupEmerging/SeedDeveloped/Established
Mission, Vision, and ValuesThe mission is evolving and needs to be refined. It is nascent, discipline-specific, and/or requires further alignment with relevant institutional missions.Elements of the mission are apparent, but the values and/or vision lack clarity. Alignment with relevant institutional mission(s) is lacking or inconsistent.The mission statement is clear and well aligned with relevant institutional mission(s). It effectively describes the centers/institute’s goals and philosophies. The vision and values are clear and concise.
Strategic Plan and Long-Term GoalsThe strategic plan and long-term goals are unclear and/or evolving. The strategic plan requires further development and alignment with the overall mission of the center/institute.The strategic plan and long-term goals align with some, but not all, of the center/institute’s overall mission and vision, organizational structure (e.g., community, leadership, governance, fiscal sustainability) and programmatic vision (e.g., distinctiveness, impacts, relevant metrics/milestones).The strategic plan and long-term goals clearly align with the center/institute’s overall mission and vision, organizational structure, programmatic vision, and institutional mission(s). The strategic plan includes a timeline with measurable benchmarks and assessment plans.
Short-Term GoalsThe short-term goals are not well articulated and/or do not align with or support the mission, vision, and values of the center/institute.The short-term goals are not fully articulated (e.g., they lack benchmarks, outcomes, or metrics for evaluating distinctiveness, impacts, and relevant milestones) and/or do not fully/completely align with the mission, vision, and values of the center/institute.The short-term goals align with programmatic metrics and goals and support the mission, vision, and values of the center/institute. They include clear benchmarks, expected outcomes, and metrics for evaluating distinctiveness and impact.
Major AccomplishmentsThe major accomplishments are limited and/or describe individual accomplishments without a cohesive center/institute focus of accomplishment and identity.Some major accomplishments describe individual activities, however there is evidence that the team has begun to develop a cohesive center/institute focus of accomplishment and identity. There is some reporting on group research activities, impact, and visibility.The major accomplishments clearly summarize collective activities of the center/institute members in collaboration. Key metrics relevant to the center/institute are reported, including financial support, research output, impact, and visibility.
Membership and Leadership StructureThere is no clear leadership and/or organizational structure, and the vision and distinction for membership is not well articulated. Roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined.The center/institute’s leadership structure, including roles and responsibilities is emerging. Key leaders and members are identified; however, expectations of the center/institute members are not clear.Roles and responsibilities of the members, affiliate members, and leaders are well defined. A sustainable leadership structure, with strategic workload distribution, succession plans, and evidence of successful, has been established.

Current Evaluation Committee Members:

  • Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development
  • 2 co-chairs of the 2020 Pillar III: Innovative Research & Entrepreneurship Committee
  • 2 co-chairs of the 2020 University Research and Engagement Centers Committee