About: RCUH (Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii)

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Its creation…

RCUH is a State agency, established by the Legislature in 1965, and is attached to the University of Hawaii for administrative purposes. Its enabling legislation is codified as Chapter 304A – 3001 to 3011 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Its mission…

The fundamental mission of RCUH is to support the research and training programs of the University of Hawaii and to enhance research, development, and training generally in Hawaii.

Its need…

“…the rapid and extensive entry of the University of Hawaii into basic and applied research programs sponsored by the federal government, and into applied research programs which couple University capability with that of private industry, requires a much more flexible and streamlined method of operation than is permitted the usual operations of state agencies. In short, the University must be able to function in research activities more like a business…”

–Standing Committee Report 809, House Committee on Higher Education, 1965

“…Increasingly, research contracts accepted by the University require rapidity of action and flexibility in operational and financial activities more characteristic of business firms than of governmental agencies. State regulations of many types which control the University’s normal functioning do not provide the expeditious managerial environment needed to function in the highly competitive area of science-related activities now involving universities, federal government and private industry.”

–Standing Committee Report 836, Senate Committee on Ways & Means, 1965

Although penned more than thirty years ago, these words still hold true today. In fact, these words are even more profound today. The University has made tremendous strides in the highly competitive world of externally-funded research, and today, it stands alongside the great research universities. We believe RCUH’s role in facilitating research activities has contributed to this achievement.

Its function…

RCUH is akin to a service bureau.  It hires personnel and procures goods and services on behalf of its clients, which include the University of Hawaii as its major client, other state agencies, and private research and training organizations.  Because of its exemption from state statutes such as those relating to procurement and personnel, RCUH has the flexibility to function more like a business.  Accordingly, RCUH has its own personnel, payroll, accounting, and disbursing systems, independent of the state and University systems.  This makes it possible for RCUH to process transactions expeditiously, which in turn makes it possible for the researchers to focus more of their efforts on research rather than administrative activities.  While most of the projects handled by RCUH are in the State of Hawaii, many transcend the boundaries of the state into different parts of the world.  Because of the unique nature of research activities, RCUH must remain flexible to meet the needs of projects, while at the same time adhering to the rules and regulations attached to projects by sponsoring agencies.

Its relationship with the UH…

RCUH is attached to the UH for administrative purposes. The Internal Agreement between the UH and RCUH defines the basic responsibilities of each party and the financial arrangement to pay for the cost of services rendered by each party.

Internal Agmt 7-1-1996
Internal Agmt Addendum 5-12-2000
Internal Agmt Amendment 8-1-2000
Internal Agmt Addendum 3-16-2001
Internal Agmt Amendment 4-30-2003
Internal Agmt Amendment 7-27-2007

Its funding…

Like a business, RCUH must be self-supporting. It receives no state funds and operates entirely on fees charged for its services.

The University pays an administrative fee based on the volume of services provided by RCUH. For UH sponsored agreements with external sponsoring agencies, the current rate is based on a negotiated formula (MTDC and RCUH operating expenses).

In addition, for University-related “revolving fund” projects (University projects that are funded through earnings, e.g., Mauna Kea Support Services, in which users pay for the services such as housing, communications, etc., they receive), the administrative cost rate is negotiated on an annual basis with the federal government.

For non-University projects (referred to as ‘direct’ projects; i.e., agreements with other state departments and private organizations), RCUH charges indirect costs based on a negotiated rate.

State of Hawaii Master Agreement State of Hawaii Master Agreement Amendment

Current indirect cost rates are listed in Section 4.610 of the Policies and Procedures.

Its governance…

The affairs of the Corporation are under the general management and control of a Board of Directors. The Board consists of ten members–5 appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate and 5 members of the UH Board of Regents selected by the Board of Regents.

The President of the UH also serves as President of RCUH…

The day-to-day affairs of the Corporation are managed by an Executive Director, who has the delegated authority to enforce and execute all policies, rules, regulations, etc., necessary to conduct the business of the Corporation.

Its employees…

The “core” staff of RCUH consists of approximately 35 employees, spread across the departments of Accounting, Disbursing/Purchasing, Human Resources, Project Management, and the Executive Director’s Office.  The core staff is housed at Sakamaki Hall on the UH campus as well as the Manoa Innovation Center on Woodlawn Drive in Manoa.

The RCUH Hilo Office has a staff of 5, and they are located in the Institute of Astronomy building in the UH Hilo Research Park.

At any given time, there are on average 2,500 project personnel on RCUH’s payroll.

Its services…

RCUH services include: advance funding, equipment loans, tax reporting, liability/specialty insurance coverage, accounts payable/receivable, equipment accountability, final fiscal reporting, training, employee hiring/compensation/health benefits/insurance/etc., payroll, leases/rentals, and other business transactions.

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