Gregory D. Palmer
In 2012, the Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR) surveyed 675 institutions about their role in enabling research computing. The report indicated that the need for advanced infrastructure and computing capacity was on the rise but that the central information technology (IT) organization was not keeping up with the demand. This report asked many of the same questions that were put forward in the ECAR survey but differed in its focus in that only universities that are considered research intensive were approached. Four public and four private institutions responded to the request for an interview and were in various stages of developing a strategic plan to improve their support of the on-campus research initiatives.
In 2014, the total National Science Foundation (NSF) budget allocation in all categories decreased from the 2010 level of $147 million to $134 million. Other federal agencies have experienced similar decreases, and the emphasis on cross-institutional collaborations has become the standard criterion for successful awards. While this may stretch the available funding among multiple institutions, it reduces the total dollar volume per institution. This forces the university researcher to look for greater economies within the university at the same time that IT budgets are being scrutinized for potential reductions.
As the funding has either decreased or become more difficult to attain, university presidents ...