Organized Research Units (ORUs)

An ORU is an academic unit the university has established to provide a supportive infrastructure for interdisciplinary research complementary to the academic goals of departments of instruction and research. 

An ORU is responsible to the chancellor or chancellor’s designee for administration, budget, space, personnel, and scholarship. The chancellor’s designee will be either a dean or the vice chancellor for research (VCR). 


  • Facilitate multidisciplinary and collaborative research by faculty, non-faculty professional researchers, and postdoctoral scholars and scientists. 
  • Leverage external funds from governmental agencies, private and corporate foundations, and industry, with core budgetary support from the university. 
  • Contribute to graduate training and education through the involvement of students in faculty research and through direct sponsorship of graduate student research. 
  • Often, offer opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in research activities, and by doing so, enrich the undergraduate learning experience.
Relevant UC policies

UC Santa Cruz ORUs

Administration, budgetary support and personnel

Each ORU is headed by a director who is a tenured member of the faculty. The director is aided by a standing advisory committee.

In recognition of the role played by ORUs in the educational process, provision may be made in the campus budget for some unit support. 


A tenured member of the faculty. The director may receive an administrative stipend in addition to the faculty salary, except that a faculty member who already earns such a stipend through another appointment (e.g., as associate dean) shall not receive a second stipend.

Advisory Committee

The director is aided by a standing Advisory Committee, chaired by a faculty member other than the director, which meets regularly and participates actively in setting the unit’s goals and in critically evaluating its effectiveness on a continuing basis. Specifically, the Advisory Committee provides counsel to the director on all matters pertaining to the unit, including budgetary matters and personnel. The Advisory Committee is made up predominantly of faculty members, but may include some members from the professional research series and may have some members from outside the university.

Responsible Administrator

Per UC Santa Cruz ORU guidelines, the Responsible Administrator is the officer who has fiscal and administrative authority for the ORU under review. When all the research activity lies within one division, the responsible administrator usually will be the relevant dean. When the research activity lies in multiple divisions, the EVC will assign the VCR or one of the relevant deans to be the responsible administrator.


Per UC Santa Cruz ORU guidelines, the Reviewer is the officer (either VCR or dean depending on where the ORU reports) who is tasked by the EVC with conducting the five-year review. 

Establishment and review

Details on how to establish and maintain an ORU can be found on ORU Procedures.

ORUs must be periodically reviewed. See the ORU Review Process for detailed information.

Last modified: May 13, 2024