Research IT Portal

The mission of the Research IT Portal is to be a one-stop solution for researchers and those who support research to efficiently and effectively find, access, and utilize technology resources, services, training, and support. The portal has been developed in response to the need identified across campus to connect researchers to resources.

Research IT as a group aims to bridge any gaps that may exist between researchers and the technology that enables research. Research IT partners with units, researchers, and IT Professionals to provide the best possible collaborations to assist research. We can consult to learn about your research, discover your technology needs, and put you in contact with the appropriate services, resources, and professionals.

The Research IT Portal is a partnership between Technology Services, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the School of Information Sciences (iSchool), the University Library, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR).

Research IT Leadership

John Towns

PI and Project Director, XSEDE
Executive Director, Science & Technology, NCSA
Deputy CIO, Research IT, Technology Services

University of Illinois

John Towns is Deputy CIO for Research IT for Technology Services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also the Principal Investigator and Project Director for the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) project and the Executive Director of Science and Technology at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Towns plays significant roles in the deployment and operation of high-end resources and services, and distributed computing projects providing leadership and direction in the development and provisioning of advanced computing resources and services. His background is in computational astrophysics utilizing a variety of computational architectures with a focus on application performance analysis. 


Tracy Smith

Director for Research IT

Tracy Smith is the deputy to the DCIO for Research and is responsible for the Research IT team.  She is involved in various governance activities, including the IT Council, where she partners with stakeholders to draft forward-looking IT strategies that support faculty, students and staff.  Her technical focus is currently on smart cities and IoT.  Tracy’s background is in networking with an emphasis on wide area networking.  She was involved in the community broadband project, UC2B, and is passionate about finding ways to leverage the resource for civic-tech collaborations.


Tim Boerner

Assistant Director, NCSA

Tim Boerner is the lead for Research Computing Services for Research IT, and is responsible for daily operations and strategic planning for the Illinois Campus Cluster Program, the Active Data Storage service, and the High-Throughput Computing pilot. He is also the manager of the XSEDE Data Transfer Services team, which provides efficient and reliable networking and data services to the XSEDE community. Tim likes to solve problems and make the world a better place, but sometimes settles for just traveling to better places in the world.


Tony Rimovsky

IT Architect

Tony Rimovsky is the campus IT Architect under the Office of the CIO and reporting through Research IT. He is responsible for casting future technology directions broadly and describing interconnections and interrelationships among campus IT services in support of research, instruction and the overall student experience. He is also driving public cloud visibility and perspectives forward on campus as one of many tools that can be applied to help facilitate the needs of the students, the faculty and the staff at Illinois. Rimovsky’s background includes research networking, operations and infrastructure leadership and IT support at department, college, university and national/international collaboration scales.


Joe Yun 

Leader, Social Media Analytics

Joseph Yun led the charge to build the Social Media Lab from the ground up, and also utilizes social media data in his own research. He is also a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) in Informatics at the Illinois Informatics Institute at the University of Illinois, and conducts research in the realm of computational advertising. Additionally, he is leading the creation of the Social Media Macroscope.


Laura Herriott

Project Manager, NCSA

Laura Herriott, PMP, is the Portfolio Manager for Research IT and Deputy Directory to the XSEDE Program Office at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Laura has a background in database administration, programming, and technical writing and is an aviation, skiing, and photography enthusiast. She is known for inspiring action toward getting things done by building successful teams.

How Research IT started


Illinois Strategic Plan

The Illinois Strategic Plan documents how the University plans to accomplish its mission: the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is charged by our state to enhance the lives of citizens in Illinois, across the nation and around the world through our leadership in learning, discovery, engagement and economic development.

Year of Cyber Infrastructure Final Report

The Year of Cyberinfrastructure Final Report documents the activities and findings of a year-long process summarized into a set of seven recommendations and two “meta-recommendations” to the university to address findings. This report was delivered to the Vice Chancellor for Research and the Chief Information Officer in October 2015 and was subsequently released publicly to the university community in December 2015. In January 2016, the Deputy CIO for Research IT put out a broad call across the campus community to identify volunteers to help in developing a proposal to the campus to address the Year of Cyberinfrastructure recommendations.

Research IT Proposal

The Research IT Proposal is in direct response to the findings from the Year of Cyberinfrastructure Final Report and outlines a plan for campus to respond to identified needs. Submitted to campus February of 2016 and reviewed by the IT Faculty Advisory Committee, the Academic Senate IT Subcommittee, and the Engineering IT Research Working Group, the outcome was an endorsement of the vision articulated and a request for more information regarding implementation with prioritization and options at different budget levels.

Research IT Prioritization Proposal

The Research IT Prioritization Proposal provides supplemental information to the proposal “A Bold Investment in Research for the University of Illinois” (v2.0). Submitted to campus Spring of 2016 to consider prioritization of efforts and options for scoping efforts at different budget levels as well as to provide context and history of campus involvement in the proposal development process for Research IT initiatives.