User-needs assessment of the research cyberinfrastructure for the 21st century

TitleUser-needs assessment of the research cyberinfrastructure for the 21st century
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsJohnston, L.
Date Published2010/06//

In support of the University of Minnesota’s goal to become one of the top three public researchuniversities, the Research Cyberinfrastructure Alliance (RCA) was developed with the vision of facilitating
access to state-of-the-art research computing systems and services, enhancing interdisciplinary research,
and allowing researchers to explore radically new concepts, approaches, and tools. Founding members
of the University’s RCA included individuals from college-level research computing units, the Minnesota
Supercomputing Institute, and key leaders from the University’s Office of Information Technology (OIT),
the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), and the University Libraries.
A key step for the RCA was to understand campus e-science needs and identify the challenges of
engaging with relevant research computing resources and support. As a project of the 2009 President’s
Emerging Leaders (PEL) program, our five member team of interdepartmental university staff was
commissioned by the RCA to help lead this effort and recommend ways that the RCA university partners
might respond.
In 2009 our team conducted an extensive user-needs assessment of 780 university faculty, research
staff, and graduate students. The PEL survey assessed the current and future cyberinfrastructure needs
in the following areas: data storage, data management, and networking infrastructure; collaboration with
other researchers; tools and applications; high performance computing; and learning and workforce
The results of our PEL survey reflect a general need for e-science support and training that may affirm
and further explain what other science and technology libraries are observing. Our formal
recommendations and the resulting strategies toward implementing cyberinfrastructure for 21st century
research will be described with emphasis on the opportunities and future roles that university libraries
have in this campus-wide partnership.