ORCA (Open Research Community Accelerator)

The Open Research Community Accelerator is an initiative that grows the impact of academic research by making research products accessible to other academics, local businesses, and community members through open source projects. ORCA creates these products through student project teams called Pods – groups of dynamic and passionate students who learn industry open source practices by working on real products destined for public use. This program is run and funded by the University of Vermont Open Source Program Office (VERSO).

ORCA’s goals are to produce impactful, accessible, open source research tools by training tomorrow’s workforce in marketable open source skills. This Repository contains all the supporting documentation and policies for the ORCA program. These documents are meant to help new ORCA members learns the program, show project sponsors how we work, and provide a template that can be “forked” to other academic institutions.

Best experience is through Github Pages here: https://verso-uvm.github.io/ORCA/

The Handbook and How We Work

The best place to start is the ORCA Handbook! This contains an ORCA overview, Employment Policies, UVM Policies, Communication and Marketing, Health and Safety Policies and Resources. How ORCA Works describes how we have approached the ORCA program’s educational importance and impact.

Recruiting and Onboarding

We have tried to lay out some of the materials for hiring students including the job descriptions in Recruiting] and we hope to expand this with much more information about how we find and bring new students into ORCA. We also have built onboarding processes but these are still evolving:


Project selection, onboading and other resources for those interested in running a project are in the Projects document.

Policies and Plans

There are several stand alone policies that are uniquely applicable to the ORCA Program. These include:

These policies apply to anyone working on an ORCA project, be it paid, for class credit or as a student club volunteer.


This is meant to be a living document, students are encourage to create pull requests to fix errors or suggest changes (subject to final approval by the VERSO Director). Contributing Guidelines are here


This project is licensed under the MIT License - see the LICENSE file for details.


VERSO and ORCA are support by multiple source, our thanks goes to: