University Technology Services

Dodge Hall
118 Library Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4401
(location map)

Research Support

Research Support

University Technology Services partners with researchers to accommodate a variety of needs for research computing. Several scenarios are detailed below. 

Research Information Technology, Computing and Cyberinfrastructure Support

The National Science Foundation (NSF) defines Cyberinfrastructure as "the layer of hardware, algorithms, software, communications, institutions, and personnel that support research." UTS supports or assists faculty with research cyberinfrastructure needs, in particular networking, computing, storage and data preservation.  UTS assists with data and network security documentation as required for grant processes. Additional information about networking and Internet2 membership and Merit Network membership is found on the UTS Network page. Recognizing the data-intensive nature of research, UTS reviews and implements technology safeguards and protections in compliance with HIPAA, FERPA, PII, export controls, and other laws and regulations.  UTS assists researchers with technical  compliance strategies and implementations.

Research Computing Facilities

Oakland University has 4 nodes as part of the Michigan State University Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research available for OU faculty researchers at no cost to the department.  The iCER provides the cyberinfrastructure for researchers from across academia and industry to perform their computational research.  OU staff members in UTS are ready to assist faculty with getting started in use of the High-Performance Computing Cluster.

UTS maintains an on-campus datacenter as well as contacts with off-campus facilities that may be able to accommodate research computing installations.  Larger computer installations such as clusters, multi-component computers, or distributed computers require network connectivity, space, electrical power, fire suppression, and heating and cooling environmental controls. Academic units may have limited space dedicated to these types of installations.  If off-campus research computing installations are considered, UTS is available to assist with planning and review.  In all of these cases, it is important that departmental, divisional, and UTS professionals are involved with the planning requirements in order to achieve installation and operational security and success.

Faculty may also want to review Computing and Storage Services Information and Campus Software Information.

While requirements are tailored for each specific installation, important information to consider include size, weight, and footprint of equipment (for instance rack-mounted or stand alone), electrical requirements of the equipment, heat output, operational conditions including minimum and maximum temperature and humidity range, number of network connections, required bandwidth, and required network protocols.

Research Computing from Campus Offices and Labs

Offices and personal labs may contain computers or specialty computer devices specific to research or grants. Most offices and labs are already capable of supporting a limited number of specialty computers and devices using existing network jacks. However, if these devices require special types of connectivity, security, bandwidth, or jacks, then requirements will need to be coordinated with the researcher, the department, and University Technology Services.

UTS implements security practices on its networks that require Virtual Private Network access, Firewall Rule requests, and Static IP address requests for any device needing specific connectivity to other devices on or off campus. We provide security consultation services for research computing devices.

Due to the importance of research data, UTS also advises on appropriate backup and data retention strategies.

Devices requiring modifications to an office or special electrical capacity may also require involvement with Campus Facilities to accommodate these requirements. If special electrical or cooling environments are needed, UTS provides hosting services in the university datacenter.

Research Data Management Plans

A research data management plan may be required by the research funding source. A data management plan describes data to be acquired or generated during the course of a research project. A plan should also describe how data are managed, described, analyzed, stored, shared, and preserved. Oakland University Kresge Library is prepared to assist with data management plans as part of their Research Data Support service. Jim Van Loon is an Assistant Professor at OU Libraries. He is the Research Data Librarian and Librarian for the School of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, and Physics Departments. As Research Data Librarian, he assists anyone in the OU community (students, faculty or staff) to document, organize and store their research data. He provides consultations (individual or small group), workshops, and training on how to manage research data during all stages of a research project. His email address is Feel free to contact him with any questions or concerns related to data.  

Sponsored Research Considerations

Sponsored research requires special evaluation as the computing technology may be required to operate in compliance with contracts, regulations, and grant stipulations.

The researcher should coordinate with their department, University Technology Services, the office of Grants and Sponsored Research, the Purchasing Department, and the Office of Legal Affairs. Contracts need to be reviewed by each of these groups.

Some examples of areas of research grants and contracts that may require specific IT considerations include but are not limited to:

  • Military, Defense, or Department of Homeland Security
  • Healthcare and Medical
  • Corporate or Private Intellectual Property
  • Student or Educational data
  • National Science Foundation Grants
  • National Institute of Health Grants
  • Network utilization or traffic analysis

Typical issues include:

  • Software licenses
  • Data controls, backup, retention and disposal
  • Compliance with regulations such as HIPAA and FERPA
  • Network security
  • Hardware security
  • Access control
  • Information technology export controls and restrictions
  • Network connectivity requirements including Internet2 or other advanced networking requirements such as site to site connectivity

Researchers will want to consider the cost of computer hardware, software, and operational administration as a part of a grant. Research sometimes includes installation of unique hardware and software where the operational expertise or systems administration requires additional staffing, ongoing contracting, maintenance agreements or oversight.

Research computing or technology that is collaborative across international boundaries may also be subject to export control laws and restrictions. Any collaborative work where hardware, software, or data are shared with foreign nationals or are part of an international research effort must be reviewed by University Technology Services, the Research Office, and the Office of Legal Affairs. The principle investigator for a project will be required to sign an acknowledgment of export control responsibilities and develop a written Technology Control Plan approved by Oakland University's Office of University Technology Services.  Some sponsored research may require a Technology Control Plan. If the data owner has not provided a specific plan document
University Technology Services has generic Technology Control Plan Template available for use.

October 2018