Development Services

IT Services provides consulting, development, and deployment support to members of the University community interested in developing or procuring apps for mobile devices and handheld computers.

If you have questions, suggestions, or feedback, write us at


Even if you develop an app yourself, or rely on an outside vendor to customize a commercial app for you, the University needs to be informed as soon as possible so you don’t paint yourself into a corner.

  • Intellectual property issues vary by
    • Your relationship to the University
    • How much you rely on University assets to produce the app
    • Your use of third-party media or software components.
  • The University wants to be sure apps that may be associated with it
    • Comply with applicable policies and law
    • Have been vetted through its procurement process
    • Make proper use of the University’s branding and identity
    • Are distributed so the public can be confident that the University stands behind them as official publications of The University of Chicago.

It is our job to make the process as smooth as possible for you.

At a glance

Here are summaries of potential issues and how we can help. Click the titles for full information.


ITS Develops

IT Services offers end-to-end design and development services for the University community. We are uniquely qualified to identify the University processes and resources your project will need. Our rates are highly competitive, and in some cases may be waived.

We help with grant proposals free of charge.

If you qualify in the University App Challenge, the University will provide up to 100 hours service in building a prototype app you can circulate for expert advice and further funding.

You Develop

Members of the University community are free to develop applications on their own, or with the help of consultants. Even if you are positive your app wouldn’t need the University’s full support, it will still be subject to the same distribution and review requirements as for apps created by central IT.

Ideally, an cursory review would show that no further action is required, but leaving these concerns to the last minute risks substantial delays or even a recall.

A Vendor Develops

A number of vendors customize their generic applications (such as calendar-and-contact apps) for sale to higher-education clients. This can be an attractive choice because customization is relatively inexpensive if the finished product is a good fit for quality, policy, and purpose.

Vendor apps must still meet the University’s requirements for applications that represent it to the public, as well as passing the required notice and review for procurement. IT Services will do what it can to smooth these out for you.

Let us Know

If you are affiliated with The University of Chicago and thinking about creating an app on your own, or working with a vendor to create one, the issues we list above may not be immediately clear to you. We can help:

  • If your app doesn’t raise these concerns we will let you know you won’t have to worry.
  • If it does, we can guide you through the process with the least possible distraction. It is not our job to hold up your plans.

ITS Development Services

IT Services offers start-to-finish service in designing, creating, and publishing apps for

  • gathering data in lab-, field- and clinical-studies;
  • clinical support and personal health;
  • scholarly publication;
  • teaching;
  • University relations and administration; and
  • proofs of concept for entrepreneurs among faculty, students, staff, and alumni.

Apps you Create

If you’ve developed an app in the course of your work, or you simply have an idea, IT Services can advise you on design, help you avoid red tape, and offer professional support such as code reviews.

Third-Party Apps

If you engage an outside vendor to create an app for you, it is subject to the University’s procurement process, and may require review for quality, content, and identity.

Completing this form — if possible before you accept bids — will help you avoid potential issues before they affect your schedule and deliverables.

Who owns the rights to your app — even if it isn’t developed by the University or published through the University’s App Store or Google Play accounts — is a matter of University policy.

Faculty and Staff

  • If your app is “text-like”, akin to a book or article, you retain all rights in your work.
  • If it is “device-like” — an invention of some kind — it is the property of the University. We will guide you to the Polsky Center to work out revenue-sharing.


If University resources, such as facilities, services, or funding, contributed substantially to the creation of the app, it belongs to the University.

Third-Party Vendors

If you procure an app from an outside vendor, your work order will control intellectual property issues. Let IT Services review the vendor’s terms before you accept a bid, to make sure the vendor’s terms do not conflict with the University’s rights.

Applications should be designed and built to a certain standard of quality. IT Services reviews official apps for how they meet that standard. For any app they are simply good practice.  


Mobile devices typically handle sensitive business, personal, and health information, making them exceptionally valuable targets for breaches in privacy and security. This page summarizes the industry OWASP standards for mobile security.


Human Interface Standards

Apple and Google specify the behavior and function of apps for their operating systems. These are

Consider carefully whether surprising novelty or single-platform behavior add value to your users’ investment in their devices; or give them a reason to delete your app.  


Apps representing The University of Chicago must conform to standards that assure quality, comply with applicable law and policy, and affirm they are official publications. These include

  • Proper use of the University’s name and trade dress
  • Assertion of copyright
  • Acknowledgement of rights and license requirements for third party software and media
  • Privacy policies (in full or via link)
  • Other language required by law or policy

Unofficial apps should avoid claiming, or appearing, to be sponsored by The University of Chicago. Let us know about your project as early as possible. Early advice can eliminate the risk of having to hold publication or even recall the app.

For Faculty and Staff (Official)

IT Services must review and publish all mobile apps that are either owned by The University of Chicago, or to provide access to official University information or services.

If you simply want to publish apps under the University’s name, without the bother of developer-program accounts and paperwork for the iOS App Store and Google Play, we can review and publish them for you.

Either way, please contact IT Services to start the process. 

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