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The University of Texas System of academic and health institutions is one of the premier open science research organizations in the world. Its nine academic institutions include the flagship UT Austin campus and a number of growing, and potentially R1-class, universities. Its six health institutions possess national reputations earned for leadership in areas of biomedical research ranging from cancer to infectious diseases. The collective research expenditures of the UT System institutions exceed two billion dollars per year, with significant funding from every major federal funding agency including NIH and NSF.

UT System is committed to the preservation and growth of research leadership at universities and its labs depend on having better access to powerful, comprehensive IT resources. The advancement of scientific research is increasingly enabled through the use of computing technologies, ranging in type and scale from laptops and desktops to supercomputers and clouds, and also including storage, visualization, networks, and scientific software. In the past decade, the explosion of digital data produced by more powerful computers and by increasingly powerful scientific instruments such as high-speed video microscopes, sensor networks, DNA sequencers, and MRI systems, has driven a corresponding explosion in informatics and analytics-based computational research. Biological and biomedical research in particular has benefited from this proliferation of data, more powerful computing and larger storage systems, and the development of new techniques and software for data-driven computational research.

UT System institutions have significant advantages in this highly competitive research environment:  UT System's support for infrastructure presents a huge advantage to the fifteen System institutions; the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at UT Austin is an international advanced computing center which provides a competitive advantage for all UT System institutions; and a desire to collaborate among these 15 institutions to leverage their research, financial, and technical resources to maximize available funding and continue to develop a scientifically powerful research IT infrastructure that benefits all UT institutions.

The University of Texas Research Cyberinfrastructure (UTRC) project originated as a strategic investment on the part of the UT System Board of Regents to support high performance computing (HPC), to enhance network throughput, and to provide data storage that will advance biomedical research across the institutions of the System.  In November 2010, the Board of Regents approved $23 million for the UTRC.  Specifically, monies were invested to: increase the speed of inter-campus networking to 10gbps, provide additional high performance computing capacity and staffing support, and create shared research data storage for UT System Principle Investigators.