Advanced Support for Researchers

Don’t let specialized technology and support prevent you from designing the research study you envisioned. IST offers a range of advanced IT services to help support ongoing research at the university.

In collaboration with the researcher, respective faculty associate dean (research), faculty general manager, and/or college general manager, the IST Research Computing team helps troubleshoot or problem solve to determine the best solution for the research study.

Types of Support and Services

In addition to core support services, view the list of advanced or custom support or development assistant IST offers to support your research study.

Submit a request

To request advanced IT support for a research project, please [action].

Desktop Support

IST will troubleshoot and support computers used for teaching, learning, research and administrative purposes that have a common and current configuration; for example, when the Operating System (OS) is up-to-date and supported by the vendor, developer or hardware manufacturer.

Workstation eligibility

IST will provide support whether or not the computer is on the university’s current Standards Workstation Offerings list.

If researchers require a uniquely configured computer and/or operating system that IST is not able to support, we will provide advice and guidance regarding purchasing or upgrading to a computer and/or operating system that can be supported.

Users of some operating systems (for example variations of Linux) may be able to find support through a U of A research community of interest. In such cases, the IST Research Computing team can be contacted for details by submitting a general inquiry.

Installing specialized software

IST will assist with the installation of software that is not included in the university's default computer image. After installation, the researcher will be responsible for engaging the software vendor for support with configuration use, and troubleshooting of the software and/or peripherals as needed.

If researchers use specialized software, they are responsible for following up with the software vendor to determine if a more current version is compatible with the latest OS that is available. Researchers will also need to arrange for support for specialized hardware installed in the computer or for laboratory or experimental equipment attached to the computer.

Specialized Research Software

Where specialized research software is required to support specific research, custom programming may be required. Development or adaptation of existing technology may also be required due to the lack of commercial or open-source software applicable to the research question or data analysis being performed. Development and support for specialized software is to be funded and resourced by the researcher, faculty and/or college.

Network Services

All research equipment will leverage the U of A’s standard network services for connectivity. Where a computational cluster has been provisioned (facilitated through IST’s Research Computing team), IST will provide network services up to the point of connection to the cluster. Any network services within a computational cluster are considered part of the cluster itself.

Advanced Research Computing

Advanced Research Computing includes national computing platforms and storage, computational clusters, cloud computing, visualization, data storage, research database hosting, etc. Research computing needs will, in large part, be met through these services. There may be some instances where IST’s standard services for server provision and hosting would meet a researcher’s computing needs. IST’s Research Computing team is available to work with the researcher to determine the resources that will best meet their needs.

Research Data Storage

This includes data in active research projects and that in completed research projects, located in repositories. Data may have different needs for security, due to legislative or regulatory requirements (biomedical research, defence research, sociological research), intellectual property concerns or due to contractual demands for contracted research. IST will work with researchers to identify research data storage strategies.

Research Data Security


How support requests are managed

The IST Service Desk will assess and triage support requests based on the categories noted above and refer the request accordingly. As part of its service, IST will provide advice and guidance regarding computers, operating systems and software that can be better supported.

If IST is not able to provide support, the request may be referred to the faculty general manager and faculty associate dean (Research) to facilitate the required support.



Technology Support
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