To be designated a University-wide Interdisciplinary Research Center (UWIRC), centers must receive sponsorship from more than two UAB schools. New and established centers compete for UWIRC status in a competition held about every three years. The most recent funding cycle began with FY2011-2012; the application form with instructions is here.
Applicant centers are evaluated by the Council of Deans based on substantive interdisciplinary faculty involvement; provision of research infrastructure; contribution to the university intellectual environment; an adequate financial base to support center and core activities; internal and external review processes to assure quality and productivity; and leadership in the integration of research and service, including community outreach or partnerships. Centers receiving designation as a UWIRC are funded at varying levels, with approximately 70% coming from a central UWIRC pool of funds and about 30% from the sponsoring schools.
Typically, a newly selected UWIRC is designated as a Pilot Developmental Center, receiving a total budget of $55,000/year. These developing research centers are expected to expand their focus and scope sufficiently to eventually qualify as a full UWIRC. Applicant centers are evaluated on their potential to meet many of the same criteria as the full UWIRCs.
As the head of a UWIRC, each Director reports to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and is a member of the Council of Center Directors (requires BlazerID/password login), which is advisory to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.