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Questions and Answers regarding the Proposed NAVSEA UARC

Process | Financial Costs/Benefits | Management | Philosophy and Mission

Regarding the Process
Question: From testimony by Vasilis Syrmos and Peter Englert before the joint Senate Committee hearings before the Committee on Science, Art, and Technology and the Committee on Economic Development, in February 2003, the Hawaii Engineering Design Center is said to complement the UARC. What is the relationship between the proposed UARC and the already-established Engineering Design Center and High Technology Development Venture? [posted 7/20/05]

Answer from Vassilis Syrmos and VC Gary Ostrander:The Hawaii Engineering Design Center is an Office of Naval Research grant/cooperative agreement with the College of Engineering at UH Manoa The award amount is $452K and the period of performance is 03/05-02/06. The principal investigator is Vassilis Syrmos the Associate Dean of Engineering. The program activities are:

1. Establish collaborative relationships between industry, university and government (state and federal) partners to leverage and enhance individual research and development capabilities;
2. Establish a vehicle through technical experts at participating institutions can collaborate and leverage resources to effectively compete for DoD contracts that meet national, regional and local needs.
3. Develop an operational infrastructure to support the objectives of this activity; which include:
a. Establishing collaborative resource for engineering research and development;
b. Creating an engineering environment unique to all current DoD programs
c. Providing and identifying facilities to house operate and maintain joint development projects.
4. Develop a five year operations/funding plan for sustainability.

The common thread between this project and the UARC is the technical area of expertise. The College of Engineering has developed over the years a strong expertise in sensors, networks, communications and information technology. The College still to this date is known for the first implementation of a wireless computer network system also known as the Aloha-network. The Aloha protocol, later evolved to Ethernet, refers to a simple communications scheme in which each source (transmitter) in a network sends data whenever there is a frame to send. If the frame successfully reaches the destination (receiver), the next frame is sent. If the frame fails to be received at the destination, it is sent again. This protocol was originally developed at the University of Hawaii, College of Engineering for use with satellite communication systems in the Pacific.

The High Technology Development Venture (HTDV) is not a University of Hawaii program. Information about this program may be found at the following website (www.hitdv.com). There is no relationship between HTDV and the UARC. [received 7/22/05]

Question: Have we made any commitments as part of the establishment of the Engineering Design Center which bear on the UARC? [posted 7/20/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: No. [received 7/22/05]

Question: If the Faculty requires more time to deliberate, can the Board of Regents reschedule its decisionmaking on the proposed UARC? What is the timeline for the BOR to decide whether the UARC will be hosted here? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: In theory they could. However, there will be an upper limit to how long the Navy will wait on this award. At present, we do not know what that limit is or will be. Likewise, if we continue to delay it weakens our position in terms of negotiations. To this end we will continue to provide any and all relevant information as quickly as possible.

Presently, the plan is to bring this to the October Meeting for a decision. The BOR could decide to support or reject the UARC at the October meeting or they could table the issue if they felt they needed additional information.[posted 7/20/05]

Answer: According to Kathy Cutshaw, Vice-Chancellor for Administration, Finance, and Operations, (personal communication June 23, 2005) the timeline is flexible, though the administration is moving forward on contract negotiations with a tentative start date of October 2005. [posted 7/5/05]

Question: Can UHM negotiate a deal that will not involve UHM in weapons research? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: No, we cannot. However, it is important to remember that UH as well as individual faculty will have the final say on what Task Orders the institution accepts or the faculty member chooses to participate. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: What was the process that brought the UARC proposal to UHM? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: The answer to this question and various related questions have been previously posted on our website. Please visit the FAQ section at: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/mco/initiatives_issues/uarc/faq.htm .[posted 7/20/05]

Question: Are other UARCs being established in the country by the Navy other than the four long established UARCs? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: No, we are not aware of any others being established at this time. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: The Navy has noted the university's long history of providing research and development to the Department of Defense. Please provide a summary of that history. [posted 6/24/05]

Answer: A list of DoD funding from 7/1/2004 to 4/13/2005 to UH Manoa is available at UARC_DoD_research_contracts.pdf, which shows over $23 million in grants over, approximately, a 9 month period. [posted 7/20/05]

Regarding Financial Costs & Benefits
Question Why does the UARC have a $10 million/year ceiling on the money it can bring in?

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: The UH contract being negotiated is an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract that is being negotiated/awarded without full and open competition and is not subject to the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA). UHM like the rest of United States UARCs receives a CICA exempt contract due to a special exemption for educational institutions. The IDIQ contract is a contract with a minimum and a ceiling and these special contracts are exempt from competition. As such, the Government has long established a contract ceiling (even a generous one) so that the Government/U.S. Navy will not be accused of awarding an infinitely lucrative contract through which the Government could order whatever it requires without competing the work. If it were otherwise, the private companies could argue that the Universities really had a huge advantage in gaining Government R&D business.

The $10M a year UH contract ceiling (up to $50M over 5 years) was determined was via conversations between the UH Chancellor's Office and the Deputy UARC Director at NAVSEA. Since UH was just starting as a UARC there was a desire on NAVSEA's part to have a "starter contract" with a much lower ceiling. Our consultant suggested that a higher ceiling was required so that UH didn't have to renegotiate the IDIQ contract if UH hit its contract ceiling. A higher ceiling also added some PR value to UHM's new endeavor. What resulted was a compromise amount that was reviewed and approved by then UARC Director at NAVSEA.

Question: If the UARC is successful are there plans to grow it so that it can evolve into a bigger center?

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: Yes

Question: During the three fiscal years when start-up funds estimated between $1.5 - $2 million/year will be provided by the University, approximately what percentage of the RTRF will be used? What projects and activities currently being funded will likely be cut to provide UARC start-up monies? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: First, the actual cost is not expected to be on the order of $1.5-$2 million/year in start-up. The exact amount depends on the staffing plan, facilities requirements, and upgrades to University laboratories to perform the necessary research. The office of the Vice President of Research has committed $500,000 and the Office of the Chancellor has authorized up to $1 million per year for three years toward these costs. This initial investment is in line with similar investments that the campus has made in the past towards the financing and establishment of research initiatives, programs and centers that benefit the research productivity and infrastructure at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. The proposed UARC is expected to be financially self-supported by conducting research in the four core areas within 3 to 5 years. Significantly, all of the other four Navy UARCs are self-supported research units within their campuses and we would follow the same approach to develop a self-sustaining unit.

Second, there are no plans to cut any current activities or project. Each year RTRF funds are returned to UH-Manoa based on the indirect costs returned to the state from funded research projects. Presently, this amount is about $30 million dollars. Half of this amount is returned to the units generating the indirect cost and the remainder is divided between the system (Vice President for Research) and Manoa (Vice Chancellor for Research). Given that the amount of RTRF returned to UH can vary based on grant funding, it is not prudent to tie up significant funds in reoccurring costs. Instead, funds are typically used to seed new programs (e.g. Liberal Arts Initiative), start-up for new faculty, matching funds for equipment, travel funds in the humanities, etc.

At this time we project the actual start up costs to be much lower than the 1.5 million/year that is budgeted. The exact amount expended will be a function of how quickly we can obtain, accept and initiate task orders. If this goes quickly it is expected that the total cost of the establishment of the UARC can be less than 1 million with the major costs covering the salary of the director and administrative staff. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: The estimate of $1.5 - $2 million appears to based on similar investments that the campus has already made. What "similar investments" are being referred to? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: Again, the number set-aside is up to 1.5 million over three years and that could in fact best spent over the next 3-5 years if necessary. The actual cost is expected to be much lower. Examples of similar investments would include:

The Center for Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics was initiated in 2003 with a 3 million dollar commitment from the Office of the Manoa Chancellor. To date the center has generated approximately 4 million dollars in additional support.

The Ion Microprobe Laboratory was initiated with a 1 million dollar commitment from the Office of the Manoa Chancellor in FY-2006. This funding was used to leverage an additional 1.35 million from NASA and 1.5 million from the W.M. Keck Foundation in order to secure the instrumentation and establish the laboratory.

The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is currently in its third year of a 3-year award to the University of Hawai‘i. The award amount was 9 million dollars to which the Univeristy of Hawai‘i (System, Manoa and Hilo) provided matching funds or other in-kind contributions (e.g. new faculty positions) totaling 3 million dollars.

The Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education is pending funding at the National Science Foundation. This award will be for 20 million dollars over 5 years. A commitment of 1.2 million in matching funds for each year of the award was made by the Manoa Chancellor’s Office to help secure this Center. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: The administration projects the ARL-UHM to earn about $10 million and may be more in its first year of operation. This projection is based upon consultation with potential customers. Who are some of these "potential customers?" [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: There has never been a projection that we would earn more than $10 million. In fact, there is a ceiling of $10 million. Likewise there has not been consultation with "potential customers". Though, potential customers could include any federal agency that wishes to use the UARC contract vehicle to support their work. Other UARC's have received funding from other DOD departments and agencies outside the DOD to include the NSF. We would invite you to visit the UARC FAQ website at http://manoa.hawaii.edu/mco/initiatives_issues/uarc/faq.htm for clarification as a number of related questions and answers are posted. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: How much did the Navy UARCS at Johns Hopkins, UT-Austin, Penn State and U. Washington net in earnings during the past five fiscal years? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: We do not have access to that information. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: Will RTRF generated by the UARC return to UHM to help support all departments on campus or will they stay with the UARC? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander:The RTRF will be treated like all other RTRF generated at UHM and will be accordingly distributed (25% System, 50% units generating the funds, 25% Chancellor's Office). [posted 7/20/05]

Question: Will RTRF funds used as seed money for the UARC return to the UHM RTRF pool when UARC becomes self supporting? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: We are not sure what question is being asked. If the question is: Are we expecting repayment of RTRF? the answer is no. We do not do require a payback for any program requiring start-up funds. The intent of the RTRF funds is to supplement and stimulate research activities at Manoa. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: Is there a business plan? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: There is a preliminary plan and a more developed plan will be completed by the end of the summer. We will post this on the UARC website as well once it is complete. We are waiting until we get to a point in the contract negotiations that we can feel confident about fees, indirect cost rates, RTRF returns, etc. [posted 7/20/05]

Business/Management Plan from the Office of the VCRGE. [posted 9/12/05]

Regarding the Management and Governance of the UARC
Question: [sent October 19th, answered October 20th] there has been some concern expressed by some senators about fiscal oversight of the proposed UARC. In the past, because of a lack of accountability, university resources have been used in what has been seen as inappropriate, for personal gain rather than for the institution or program (I gather, by people no longer with UH). There is concern that the current management/business plan does not describe how similar abuse will not occur in the UH/ARL. Other senators are simply encouraged by your RTRF report and posted RTRF analysis, and are seeking assurance that as large a fraction of the prorated direct costs are actually spent in the units as that analysis indicates.

(1) Who will take full formal responsibility for oversight of the expenditures of the administration of the UARC? Assuming that this is the office of the VCRGE, are you willing (and able) to enforce policies such as the following, if the Senate makes them a condition of its not opposing a UARC:


(a) All travel expenses (including per diem and entertainment expenses) of administrators of the UARC should be justifiable in terms of bringing task orders to the UARC;


(b) All such expenses shall be open to full scrutiny by the Faculty Senate;


(c) All such expenses shall be subject to the same conditions as normally apply to travel by faculty on University business; in particular, flights shall be economy class, and per diem expenses paid at the normal faculty rate.

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: I WILL SUPPORT THIS AS WELL

Note from VC Kathy Cutshaw: Just thought you all should know that all appropriated funds (G, Tuition & RTRF) are governed by UH procurement rules. These regulations require economy class travel.

(2) Is it expected that the UARC will maintain either an office or a residence for any of its administrative staff in Washington D.C.? If not, are you willing and able to make not maintaining such an office or residence a policy item in the UARC management plan?


Question: How do the UARC restrictions, as a "trusted agent" of the government, affect a PI's non-UARC-supported? [posted 7/20/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: There are no UARC restrictions of the nature implied in this question. There will be no impact on non-UARC supported research. The terminology "trusted agent" comes from other UARC's that were established in a different manner than the proposed UH effort and should not be applied to the proposed UARC at UH. [received 7/22/05]

Question: If such a PI engages in synergistic research not funded by the UARC, either in parallel with the UARC research or afterwards, are there any restrictions on that research? [posted 7/20/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: No. There will be no impact on non-UARC supported research engaged in by any PI. Again, the question implies that the proposed UH-UARC will be established along the line of prior UARC's. That is not the case. This will become evident when we complete and release the proposed contract. [received 7/22/05]

Question: Will the non-competition clauses of the UARC impose any restrictions on other faculty who do research related to the UARC's listed core areas but choose not to be part of the UARC? [posted 7/20/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: No. There will be no impact on non-UARC supported research engaged in by any PI, both those who do not engage in UARC funded research and those that choose to. Again, the terminology used in the question implies that the proposed UH-UARC will be established along the line of prior UARC's. That is not the case. This will become evident when we complete and release the contract. [received 7/22/05]

Question: Can equipment or facilities financed with UARC money be later used for activities not subject to UARC restrictions? [posted 7/20/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander:Yes. The proposed UARC is an alternative contract vehicle and as such the standard federal regulation on equipment use (Circular A-21) will apply. [received 7/22/05]

Question: Can support staff with partial funding from the UARC also be used for research activities not subject to UARC restrictions? [posted 7/20/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: Yes. [received 7/22/05]

Question: If the UHM anticipates hiring its own staff and presumably research personnel for the ARL-UHM, what mechanisms will be created to integrate UHM faculty and students into the research activities of the ARL-UHM? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: The UARC will not have it's own staff accept for those individuals involved in administration. Participants in the ARL-UHM will primarily come from existing faculty, staff and students at UH Manoa. Again, the UARC is a different contract vehicle for bringing funds to UH to support the work of our faculty. Should faculty determine they need additional support for a particular task order they will hire additional research staff or students in the same way that they would if they needed additional support for a NSF, NIH, or other federal grant (i.e. into their own unit).

Question: What are examples of Department of Defense "sponsors" that would provide task orders to the ARL-UHM? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: Any federal agency can use the UARC to contract to UH (e.g. NSF has used this at a contract vehicle at UT-Austin). The expectation is that various DOD agencies would primarily utilize this contract. For example, the Office of Naval Research, Army Research Office, Air Force office of Scientific Research, Navy Research Laboratory, Army Research Laboratories, Air Force Research Laboratory and other. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: Who is developing UARC-related policies regarding matters like the protection of a student's work, the right of faculty researchers to publish, and governance of the type of research university faculty should engage? Will this be completed before a final agreement is reached? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: Existing polices will cover some of what is mentioned. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration, Finance, and Operations, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the UH General Counsel are also involved in policy development and negotiations with the Navy on these issues.

Finally, the issue of the "type of research university faculty should engage" is problematic as faculty are, by nature, given academic freedom to engage in research as they individually see appropriate. We currently do not have mechanisms in place to evaluate or direct the type of research faculty should engage with other DOD monies, bio-prospecting, stem cells, or genetically modified organisms. Notwithstanding, we have said that some types of research (e.g. development of weapons of mass destruction) will not be a part of the UARC.

The real question then become how does one determine the boundaries of the research we will engage (i.e. Task Orders we will accept). A model for making this determination is currently being discussed. Briefly, we propose a committee of 7 individuals. Three members would be from research administration (e.g. office of Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Office of Research Services). The majority of the committee members (e.g. 4) would be determined by the M_noa Faculty Senate. It would at the discretion of the Faculty Senate to determine how representatives of the greater campus community will be selected. This committee would have the responsibility of determining what task orders would be accepted. Since this approach is still being discussed it is impossible to determine when all aspects of governance will be resolved. However, it is expected that it will take place before BOR action on the proposed UARC. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: What mechanism will exist to enforce UARC-related policies? If a review committee will be assembled, what would be the process for selecting members of this committee? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: UARC-related policies will fall under the broad umbrella of compliance polices (e.g. human subject, animals, academic dishonesty, hazardous materials etc.) and the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education have responsibility for their enforcement.

It is not clear what committee is envisioned in the question or what they would review. As a matter of practice it is our intent to work with the Manoa Faculty Senate to determine committee membership for any additional committees that we might need to form. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: What mechanisms are being considered for the hiring of the ARL-UHM leadership group, its Executive Director in particular? Who will be involved in the hiring? Will faculty have input? What kind of input? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: The search for the Executive Director will be run in a manner similar to search for Deans and Directors. It will be essential that faculty have input in the process and they will comprise the majority of the committee. The exact mechanism for faculty input will be determined in consultation with the Faculty Senate, UHARI, and other appropriate groups. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: In the FAQ provided on the Chancellor's website, it states that some laboratories will need to be upgraded--have those been identified? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: The laboratories to be upgraded have not been identified. Which laboratories will be selected will depend on which faculty members participate in the UARC and the nature of the Task Orders. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: Who will be the head of the UARC--can UH stipulate that the director must be a civilian? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: No decision has been made in terms of who will be the Executive Director of the UARC or what the minimum and desirable qualifications should be. We are planning for a national search similar to what we would do when recruiting a Dean or Director. The selected individual will be a civilian. That is, they will not be active military. It is entirely possible if not probable that some of the applicants may have prior experience with military programs (e.g. former Program Officer for DOD grant programs). [posted 7/20/05]

Question: Has a mission statement been proposed for the ARL-UHM? If so, what does it say? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: No mission statement has been developed to date. Since this is primarily an alternative contract vehicle it is not clear that a mission statement is appropriate. [posted 7/20/05]

Regarding Philosophy and Mission of the University
A Hawaiian Place of Learning

Question: What mechanisms would be created to ensure sensitivity and responsiveness to Native Hawaiian and environmental concerns? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: The recent history of UH Manoa is one of increased sensitivity to both Native Hawaiian issues and environmental concerns. This would not change. Moreover, it is expected that the committee charged with evaluation of Task Orders as well as anyone involved in the UARC will be cognizant and responsive to these sensitivities. It is important to remember that while this represents a different contract vehicle, those participating (faculty, staff and students) are still members of the UH community and as such are obligated in engage in responsible conduct of research and are governed by the same policies and regulations as all other researchers. [posted 7/20/05]

Scholarly Communication and Publication

Question: Many UHM faculty are concerned that the UARC will facilitate an increase in classified research by UHM faculty and students; what does the administration know about the UHM proposed UARC and other UARCs that will dispel those concerns? [posted 7/1/05]

Question: It has been stated that no classified research task orders are being foreseen for the near future. What is the basis of this statement? When would the "near future" end? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander: As would be expected, in the course of negotiations there has been speculation from both the NAVY and UH as to what the initial Task Orders might entail. While it would be inappropriate to discuss specifics, conversations/speculation to date have focused on systems engineering for airplanes and environmental assessment. It is not clear when the Ònear futureÓ would end nor is it clear the details of what future Task Orders might entail. [posted 7/20/05]

Question: Will there be a cap on the amount classified research the ARL-UHM would do? Is this being negotiated? [posted 6/24/05]

Answer from VC Gary Ostrander:The concept of a cap on the amount of classified research has not been discussed. It would be difficult to arrive at a cap given that often times research in NOT classified until the research is in progress and it becomes clear that it is necessary for national security etc. For example, all current classified involving faculty at UH M_noa was classified after funding was awarded and not at the time the proposal was submitted. [posted 7/20/05]

Land Grant University Mission

Question: Does hosting a UARC fit into the mission of a land-grant university? [posted 7/1/05]

Because of the inclusion of military tactics in the Morrill Act, military training, now part of the Reserve Officers' Training Corp (ROTC), is performed at all land-grant universities.The Morrill Act of 1862, which established the Land-grant system states that each state benefiting from the act will appropriate money "to the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life." Thus, the presence of ROTC at UHM does comply with the land-grant mission of UHM. It can be argued from both pro and con points of view, whether the presence of a Department of Defense research facility, or UARC, at UHM is included in the function of teaching military tactics. [posted 7/12/05]

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Last modified October 21, 2005